5 things to think about when starting out with your resume

Hello everyone out there in blog-land. It is my great honor to speak with you today about an incredibly important topic. This is not the most glamorous topic, but we are going to talk about resumes. This topic is so important that I am personally going to give you back-to-back posts about it. There will be one blog today and one on Monday next week. You are going to get my personal top ten tips for crafting a great resume, with 5 tips to get you started in your resume this week and 5 advanced tips designed to take your resume to the next level next week. Let’s get started!!!

1) Give yourself a great heading

Your name and contact information are the most important pieces of the entire resume. If you have the greatest resume in the entire world and no one knows who you are or how to contact you, then it will be for nothing. Your name should stand out in your heading. Also, keep your contact information streamlined and use only one or two lines instead of stacking your address, phone, e-mail, and LinkedIn URL onto multiple lines. Finally, use a professional sounding e-mail address and not your honeybooboofan55@hotmail.com e-mail. Oh, and DOUBLE-CHECK your phone number and e-mail to make sure they are correct.

2) Page length is important

The typical undergraduate student is going to have a resume that is one page in length. However, there are situations where it is okay to have a two page resume, especially if going into certain fields like education or social work. The real key here is not to spread your resume too thin. It might be tempting to go for two pages, but often a really strong one-page resume can be more helpful than an empty looking two page resume. Oh, and please, make sure that you use FULL pages. It is not in your best interests to have one page and two lines on 2nd page. It might be hard to make cuts about your own work history, so look to others around you to get ideas on how you can trim that resume down and make it look STRONG!

3) Work on your bullets and think of your skills

Bullet points are often the hardest part of the resume to craft. It can be time consuming and frustrating. Most students will answer the basic question of what they did in a bullet. For example, “Communicated with customers.” Yet they can easily expand that bullet by also asking why and how? For instance, effectively communicated with customers to ensure their needs were met. If you need help crafting some bullets, you can read through some other resumes to get an idea. The Job Search Handbook is a great resource for this! Pg. 8 is especially helpful and contains a list of action verbs to begin your bullets, along with skill areas that you might have.

4) Double-check for errors in format, spelling, and grammar.

Re-read your resume several times to make sure that spelling is correct, and that your dates, bullets, and headings are all lined up. Microsoft Word will not catch everything, because a word that is spelled right, but doesn’t make sense in the sentence will not raise red flags in Word. So, let me repeat. Microsoft Word will not catch everything. I will repeat once more. Microsoft Word wills not ketch everything.

5) Stay away from templates

Sometimes, the fear of creating your first resume can be taken away by using a template or even going through a web-based resume service. Templates and web-based services can make it hard to edit or update your resume and don’t give you real flexibility. Plus, employers notice repeat versions of a resume and you will feel very accomplished when you finally put together your own resume from scratch!

Well, there is the first half of the top ten tips for resumes. I hope that you enjoyed your time reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. You should get started on your resume right away so that you can come back on Monday and take it to the next step. You’ve got the entire weekend to get it done and if you don’t have enough time, just tell your friends, “I am too busy to have fun with you, because I’m crafting a resume this weekend!”

 

– Josh Foss, Graduate Assistant, Career Development Center

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