Resume Guide: Part 1

This time of the year always seems to be “job searching” season. With the school year coming to an end, to-be and recent college grads blast their resumes and cover letters to HR departments nationwide. Likewise, spring instills an allure of and desire for a new beginning with a new job or new employee, while both companies and professionals begin searching for their perfect match.

By no means am I a Career Services counselor nor do I pretend to be one. But through my experiences of applying and landing internships and jobs that I have wanted, of both being the interviewer and interviewee and of interning and managing interns, I want to share my thoughts and advice for job searching, interning, interviewing, resume writing and anything in-between to college students, grads and young professionals with these blog posts.

Interested? Let’s get started. For this blog, let’s talk resumes.

Layout

Keep it to one page. You are in college, have just graduated or have only been in the workplace for a couple of years; you do not have enough experience for more than one page. I’m sure your part-time job three years ago and your high-school extracurricular activities were superb, but they do not belong here. Also, avoid using six words when two will do (I’ll come back to this again when talking about interviewing.)

If a couple lines sneak to page two, play around with margins.

Example (Your job title would go here)

  • (Your skills would go here)
  • There is no reason to have an inch and a half of empty space bordering your text that you’ll have to make size eight font and you’ll need a magnifying glass to read
  • ←See this empty space?→
  • Maximize your space 

Many people get tied up when they hear that their resume “should stand out.” There is a difference between standing out and standing out. If you get too fancy with your fonts, boxes, graphics or colors, you may draw more (read: bad) attention to those parts of your resume and not to the content. This may be a good moment for me to let you know that if you were hoping this blog would give you a blank resume template for you to use, then I apologize; make your resume your own.

If you are still in school and you are applying for internships, arranging your resume chronologically may make the most sense. Once you have graduated, you should move your school information from the top of the page to the bottom. When you include information about your education, it is unnecessary to incorporate “Relevant Coursework” on your resume. Why? If I see that you majored in Economics, I am going to assume you took Economics related coursework while at school and I don’t need to see those specific classes you took. Containing your coursework is redundant and, let’s be honest, how much studying did you really do? The question of the GPA: do you include it? Sure, why not… if it’s decent. I doubt your hiring manager will ask you what your GPA is/was during an interview if it is not there and I doubt they will talk about it if it is.

Above all else, you want your resume to be easy to read. I’ll say it again: Easy. To. Read. When hiring managers look at a resume, they want to know exactly where you worked and what you did. Bullets and bolding, in moderation, make this easier.