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Tips on How To Build Your Resume During and After College

Career News September 3, 2015

A polished resume can make or break your job-hunting experience. Whether you are finished with college or looking for a job during your studies, it is important to have your resume up to date and ready to wow anyone who sees it.

Provide Valuable and Honest Content

Many people are under the impression that a resume should be pages long and that it has to show every single job you have ever worked and every experience you have been a part of. While in reality, employers mainly want to see that you have relevant experience. They don’t want to sift through a ton of random and unrelated lists. Use your experiences to show them what you can do, not just to fill the space.

Also, do not pad your resume with things that you did not really do or half-truths because it will usually get found out eventually, and it is not worth it. Only put down experiences and jobs that are completely truthful and accurate and that you really feel were important.

Resume Format Recommendations

First, you will want to begin with a clear heading that displays your contact information, so it is easy for them to look you up and contact you. Things that should be included in the heading are your name, phone number, email address and mailing address.

The next section should display your education information including all degrees, honors, certifications and any big project like a thesis that you worked on. If you haven’t finished your degree yet, put down your major/minor, anticipated graduation date and even your GPA (as long as it is above 3.0).

Listing your high school experience is good too especially if you had a good GPA or held any leadership roles or completed any interesting projects.

You will also need either a cover letter or a career objective included in your resume. Some jobs will specify pay attention to which one they prefer. These aspects are important because it is your opportunity to show what your goals for the future are and any specific aspirations with the potential position you are applying for.

Next, when you list your jobs and work experience, we recommend that you call it “Selected Experience” because it implies that you have more experience than listed, but you specifically put down the experience that is relevant to the job you are applying for. This is good both in cases where you do not have a lot of work experience and also in cases where you want to leave out certain experiences that you believe aren’t important for an employer to see.

Another good reason to call it “Selected Experience” is so that you can list all kinds of experiences in that section! Including, but not limited to, volunteer experiences or positions, leadership roles you take on, important and related hobbies and jobs. Make the descriptions of all of these as short as possible, but also make sure to make it clear what you did so they are not confused by a title.

Another section can be dedicated to your skills such as language, web design, Photoshop, etc. Make sure to not put too many and do not just copy the list of skills from the company’s employment ad. Make it intriguing and personal, but also short and sweet.

You may or may not want a separate section for any awards or special honors you have received. If not, they can be lumped in with your education experiences.

Most employers will require references at some point, but usually not at the resume stage. If you choose to include references with your resume, it will definitely give a good impression, so why not?

Tips for Perfecting Your Resume

It is important to pay attention to the style of your resume and how it looks amongst a bunch of other similar papers. You want yours to stand out in the stack and make them want to grab it and read it first. The content is the most important of course, but getting the content read is arguably just as important.

Try to keep your resume to one page so that it is easy to look at and see everything. Your font should be relatively simple to make reading easier and to look mature. If you are sending in a hard copy, print your resume on a thicker and more expensive paper.

Proofread everything! Make sure your style is the same throughout the entire resume and not changing here and there. Check the grammar, spelling, and punctuation and then give it to other people to proofread as well. Mistakes in a resume do not go over well because they look sloppy or make you seem unintelligent. This is their first vision of you, so make it good.

Be sure to keep your resume up to date and try to customize it and edit it again every time you send it out. Make sure the employers can see that you paid attention to what they want, and you are sure to impress them.

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