Top Ten Résumé Musts
- Must Be Scannable: Since a hiring manager is going to spend only a few seconds reviewing your résumé, before they decide whether to look closer, it’s important for you to make your résumé scannable. That means using bullets and sentences effectively. Don’t write huge paragraphs and bullet the important facts. Format your résumé to use bold titles and divide important categories for easy scanning.
- Make Your Name Noticeable: You want to have your name in a larger type than the rest of the document and you want it to be on the very top of the page. Think about the job search as a marketing job and your name is your brand. You want your name to be associated with the good things on your résumé.
- Make It Readable: If you’re going to submit your résumé online, make sure it’s readable. What looks nicely formatted in Word can come out looking horrific when you paste it into a text box. Make sure that what you submit is readable by a human being. It would be awful if a computer made sense of it and selected you only to be discarded because your résumé came out as gibberish.
- Use an Objective Statement: Use a short, simple objective sentence that states what kind of work (internship, full-time, etc.) and in what field, industry or company you are seeking work. After your reader knows your purpose, then they will move on to look at your skills. Use your cover letter to express more about your objective.
- Use Reverse Chronological Order: Start all sections with the most recent position or degree and work backwards in time.
- List Your GPA: Only list your GPA if it is 3.0 or higher. It’s possible that if you don’t list it, your potential employer will assume it was less than a 3.0, but it also gives them a chance to ask you about it. This way when they ask, you can make a case about why you are a good candidate nevertheless. Confidence and good communication skills while talking to an employer will often trump a lacking GPA.
- Highlight Your Computer Skills: Most employers look to see if you know the basic software like Microsoft Office software and then look to see if you have any field specific computer experience. List the programs that you are comfortable using.
- Always List Awards and Activities: Employers like to see students who have been active on campus. When you have held a leadership position in an activity, make sure to highlight it.
- Use bullets: Use bullets effectively alongside sentences. You don’t want everything to be bulleted directly under your job title. You want a short paragraph of your job description and then 3-5 bulleted points highlighting any accomplishments and/or results you have had during that position. Bullets should begin with an action verb. Example: “Audited accounting statements and ledgers revealing $5,000 in unpaid bills”.
- Use School as Experience: If you have very little professional experience, highlight your education. List related course work completed and then mention a few challenging projects that you completed. It’s better to list coursework and projects that demonstrate your field knowledge rather than having a blank résumé.
This page was last updated on: November 19, 2013