Pulling together an effective resume is a laborious and on-going process. However, it is certainly a situation where the more effort that you put in, the more you will get out of it.
I have students coming in to my office daily asking for help with their resumes. Over and over again I hear “I have sent this out to hundreds of employers and haven’t heard anything.” My number one response to this is that you need to combine sending out your resume with networking. It will help to draw attention to your document if you have met the employer, even briefly, or if you have met an employee who has at least mentioned your name to the person doing the hiring.
Secondly, you need to tailor your resume. You are more likely to get a job if you have sent out 6 targeted and tailored resumes than a hundred generic and identical resumes.
Your resume is a big part of your professional brand so make sure that it represents you accurately. You could go and see 5 different career counselors and each one will have a different opinion and different tips to offer. Take all of the suggestions into consideration, but ultimately do what feels right for you.
So here are some of my tips. I have lots so I will spread them out over the course of the next couple posts.
- Common sense tip: A font size of 10-12 point is recommended. And there should be no typos, no misspelled words, and no grammatical errors.
- Learn the language of the industry that you are hoping to enter and use it in your resume and cover letter. If there are key words that are mentioned in the job posting or on the company’s web site incorporate them. This will make it easy for the employer to make the connection between your skills and their needs. Further, many employers are now using resume scanning software that scans your document for the key words that they are looking for. So although we have told you all through your degree not to plagiarize, this is the one time that using the exact language is not only appropriate, but necessary.
- Don’t include an “Objectives” section. Your resume is prime real-estate, so don’t waste space stating the obvious – of course you are seeking a job as a…… or at …….. that is why you gave them your resume!
- Don’t include “references available upon request” again you are wasting space on the obvious – if you don’t give them references when they request them you won’t get the job.