Résumé Finishing Touches
FOCUS: Your résumé should be focused on a specific career industry. Having a focused résumé allows your skills, which would be most beneficial in the position, to be highlighted.
CONTROL: Use a word-processing program rather than a template to maintain creative control over your résumé.
ORDER: If you choose to use an objective, profile, or summary of qualifications, they should be at the top. Following these, as a recent graduate, should be your education. The next sections should be those that are the strongest or most important.
MARGINS: Ensure that your résumé will print from a standard printer. Therefore, your margins should not be smaller than .5 on each side. The standard settings for a Word document are completely acceptable. Only change your margins to attempt to fit your résumé on fewer pages.
FONT: The size of font should stay between 10 and 12. Again, decrease to be able to fit your résumé in less space. Your name can be size 12-14 fonts with a different typeface so that it stands out on your résumé. You may choose the typeface for the rest of the document; just ensure that it is easy to read.
LENGTH: For most college students, a one page résumé is expected. However, if you have lots of related experience, you may spill into two pages. If you exceed one page, make sure you are including only relevant information on your résumé and the final page of your résumé should be at least half full. Make sure your subsequent pages have your name on them to make sure the employer keeps it all together.
OBJECTIVE: Including an objective is optional. However, it can identify the specific position in which you are interested to the employer. Objectives should always be stated in terms of how you will benefit the organization rather than what you hope to obtain from the experience. Objectives can serve useful at career fairs where internships and full-time employment are both offered so as to avoid confusion for the employer.
PROFILE/SUMMARY of QUALIFICATIONS: Used to capture an employer’s interest near the top of your résumé. Use this category to advertise your greatest strengths and promote the themes of each category [e.g. dedicated, quick learner, etc.]
GPA: If your overall/cumulative GPA is 3.0 or higher, you should include it on your résumé. If it is lower than 3.0 include your major GPA if it is higher than a 3.0.
SKILLS CATEGORIES: Highlight skills that are relevant to the position you are seeking. You can include computer proficiencies, fluency in languages, laboratory skills, coordinating, writing, marketing, communications, organizational, office, etc.
PHRASING: When describing work experiences, awards, or anytime you need a description, use short phrases that begin with action words. Your verb tense should stay consistent and avoid using the first person in describing experiences and accomplishments.
BASICS: When listing employer information, include name of the organization, position(s) held, city, state, and dates of employment.
DETAILS: A résumé is a quick overview of your accomplishments. You do not need to include detailed information about previous employers or yourself. Avoid possible discrimination by not providing personal details (marital status, ethnicity, height, weight, age, etc.).
DATES: When listing dates, general time frames are acceptable such as Fall 2004 - Fall 2007, or 8/06 - 5/08.
RELATED EXPERIENCE: If you are applying for positions within a specific field and you have experience in that area, you can separate that from your other more general experiences, for example, “Marketing Experience” or “Lab Experience.” When describing your accomplishments or duties, be sure to use the correct jargon from the field to describe your skills and knowledge.
OTHER EXPERIENCE: This category can be employment that may not directly relate to your career goal. Include it if you have the space to demonstrate some of your transferrable skills.
LEADERSHIP and CAMPUS ACTIVITIES: Many employers enjoy hiring well-rounded employees. Therefore, include the activities in which you have participated on campus as well as leadership roles you have held on and around campus. Skills you can include could be coordinating events, planning and running business meetings, budgeting, and functioning as a team member. Remember, if you include it, employers may ask you about it so be sure you are confident to speak about anything you include.
REFERENCES: It is expected that when an employer asks, you should be able to provide at least three professional references. However, these references are not to be included on your résumé. You can place the phrase “References Available Upon Request” at the bottom of your résumé if you need to fill the space.
QUALITY: Résumés should be printed from a quality printer. You can obtain professional looking photocopies but printing them each individually generally lends to better quality. Your résumé should be printed on résumé or thicker paper. Standard résumé colors are white or off-white/ivory but other light colors are acceptable too. If there is a watermark seal, be sure you print your résumé so that the seal is not backward.
APPEARANCE: Lines, bullets, arrows, and small decorative graphics are acceptable forms of symbols and graphics used to enhance a résumé. The key is to not overuse graphics but to utilize them to display creativity, computer skills, and any other skills that are relevant to the job you are seeking.
READABILITY: Using white space between paragraphs, bold print, capital letters, italicizing, and bullets help clarify the information on your résumé and improve the readability. Ideally, only 10% of your résumé should be white space and do not overuse bolding, italicizing, or underlining as it may then emphasize nothing.
- PROOFREAD YOUR RÉSUMÉ!!
- Have someone else read your résumé: professors, roommates, and parents.
- Spell check does not catch every error so look for grammatical and typographical errors.
- Once you have done this, BRING YOUR RÉSUMÉ TO THE CCO TO HAVE A STAFF MEMBER LOOK IT OVER AS WELL for a professional point-of-view.