How to create a winning resume.
You want your resume to stand out from the pile that an employer receives every day. Many students are using color paper, but using white paper can get just as much attention. Make sure your font is very clear so that the person who reviews your resume is not confused. Give the employer several ways to contact you at the very top. Include your expected graduation date and major. Next, include all of your employment and internship experience. You can highlight your leadership training experience and awards in your extracurricular section. If a company only wants a one-page resume, feel free to eliminate the extracurricular activities.
You will write a better resume if you are focused on your goals. Each of your job descriptions will have more details because you are giving them more thought. Your career goals will include several elements of your life experiences. This is important because you will select a career that gives you a higher level of job satisfaction. When you are excited about your career choice, you increase the likelihood of future promotions.
Most college students use the traditional resume to highlight their work and internship experiences. The traditional resume chronicles all of your work-related experience in paragraph form. This is your opportunity to shine in the eyes of the person reviewing the resume. It's important to include key words. Some companies run the resumes through a scanner that picks up words in the job description. If you don't meet the criteria of the computer your resume is not considered for the position. Companies are also asking students to submit resumes through corporate web sites. A follow-up letter is a good way to tell an employer your resume was submitted electronically.
It is very important during college to consider the type of employment experiences you want. Talk with employers about the types of summer jobs and co-op assignments they offer. All of these experiences, including on-campus work, will be a valuable part of your resume.
To find the best on-campus experience, get started early. Talk to professors and administrators who work on campus. Your university may also have a list of work-study locations. Consider working in a research laboratory, which may inspire you in defining your career and academic goals. You may also get to know some of the important professors who can provide recommendations or serve as resume references.
Putting together a resume can help you to convey a message that gets the attention of human resources staff. Most companies have an internal human resource staff that receives new hire requests from managers who work throughout the company. They want to identify the person that truly fits the job description they are submitting to the Human Resource department. Once the potential candidates are identified the department has an opportunity to review several resumes. There are 10 things you should do to create a resume that gets the attention of human resources staff:
1. If you are a graduating senior, complete your resume right away. During the senior year, you want to be prepared to submit it to company representatives that visit your campus.
2. Pay attention to details such as grammar and spelling. The person who receives your resume wants to know that you pay attention to detail.
3. Ask at least three or four people to review your resume. Consider the feedback that they send to you as a way to make your resume better. Make changes right away.
4. Create multiple resumes to focus on jobs that interest you. Make sure your key words match the job description that you've reviewed.
5. Use qualitative data to demonstrate your ability to manage people and money. The managers who review your resume want to be able to justify hiring the person they select.
6. Show your most recent place of employment or internship experience first on your list of employers. Indicate how your responsibilities have increased with each employment experience.
7. Include information about ways you helped improve a job function or customer satisfaction. Your company will be interested in knowing that you can be an important part of a team.
8. Highlight your internships, especially those including volunteerism. Some students volunteer in other countries and learn about different cultures and business operations. The global economy is making these types of experiences valuable to international companies.
9. If you have been involved in undergraduate research in a university laboratory, describe your experience. Research experience can demonstrate that you have more knowledge in your field than other undergraduate students.
10. Keep copies of the job descriptions so you can use them to create the language you will use on your resume.
Students who create a resume early in their college lives have a tremendous advantage because they are more likely to capture relevant experiences. Visit your campus career center to talk with a counselor who can give you some suggestions about things you can do to attract employers' interest. Counselors generally will have seen enough resumes to identify what's good and what can be improved. A counselor might also be able to provide the names of alumni who can give you feedback. In addition, connections with alumni might lead to job offers.
Let your resume work for you by expanding your network of contacts. Every time you meet a professional, write down where you met them on the back of their business card. It's important to write down their information so you can follow up with any additional information that they have requested. Any time that you have an opportunity to arrange a meeting with a professional is a good opportunity to share your resume. You should discuss your career plans and goals for the future. Remember to research the company by reviewing their corporate web site. You will have an advantage if you understand a company's mission and goals.
Now might be a good time to talk to a professional about creating a list of other skills that fit alternative jobs. Students often do not know all of the career opportunities that are available in a particular industry. For example, when students think about the type of professionals who are hired by hospitals, they point out nurses and medical doctors. Actually there are many jobs in hospitals for business, finance and computer technology majors. It's good to explore all of your career options.
Also don't forget to ask every professional you meet for three additional contacts. Let the person you are meeting with know that you were referred by a colleague. Share a copy of your resume with each professional you meet. If they don't have a job for you, they might know someone who does. Always dress professionally and be ready to respond to interview-type questions. Follow up with a thank-you letter. Continue to build your network throughout your years as a college student and a professional. You never know when you might need assistance.
Consider attending a corporate seminar given by your college department. These can provide a good opportunity to interact with professionals and get good resume feedback. It's important to ask for business cards so that you can contact people you meet after the on-campus event is over. Send an e-mail to thank those who agree to review your resume. Remind them where you met them and explain how you benefited from their insights.
Your resume must indicate that you have skills in areas where the company has needs. Remember that a company's Human Resource department may receive hundreds of resumes for one position. You must limit the knock out factors of the person who is reviewing your resume. Some of the knock out factors include the following: (1) work experiences that are not related to the job advertised; (2) a resume that has poor grammar and spelling; (3) missing dates of employment and (4) an objective that is not related to the position advertised. Use clear language and put important aspects of your job description in the beginning sentences of each job description. This valuable information will catch the eye of an employer right away. The human resource staff has learned to skim a resume for important information. Once they have identified the key words they create a pile of resumes that they want to review again.
Once you've completed your resume, you will realize that your work is just beginning. Set aside time each week to send your resume to employers and to follow up with thank-you letters. If you are diligent, your efforts will be rewarded with a job that is a springboard to your future.
Dr. Stephen Jones is Associate Dean of Students and Strategic Planning at Villanova University. He is also author of the "Seven Secrets of How to Study."
By Dr. Stephen Jones
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|Publication:||The Black Collegian|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2007|
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