Basic Tips for an Impressive Resume
by Tara Smith
Preparing your resume to be sent to potential employers can be a daunting task. Often times as college students we haven’t had to update our resumes for several years, and as graduation draws closer this is a vital step in reaching our professional potential.
Graduating with a degree in Communications will imply one thing to recruiters and employers: You know how to communicate. It’s important that you convey your skills, abilities, accomplishments, and experience in the most effective way possible in order to grab their attention.
Knowing some basic do’s and don’ts can guide you on your way to an impressive resume.
- Find inspiration. It’s okay to look to others to get some ideas for how you’d like yours to look. Search online, work with friends, and do some research on the recent trends in PR resumes. It could be tempting to pay a professional graphic artist to create your resume for you. However, doing it yourself will ensure that you put your own personality and flair into your masterpiece.
- Use key words from the job description. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to forget this detail. If the job is asking for a specific skill that you have, make sure you state it very clearly. Many resumes might get quickly tossed if employers can’t easily find what they’re looking for. Think of it as if you were the one doing the hiring. List the things you would most want to see when looking for the perfect person for the job.
- Keep it short. One page is a good rule of thumb. Look for ways to relay the information precisely. Think of it as a consolidated list of what you can do. Most people who see your resume will not have the time or desire to read a book about you. Tell them the most important things and rely on the interview to go more in depth.
- Don’t leave holes. When listing your history and experience, include a complete list in reverse chronological order. A person reading your resume will notice if there are time gaps missing from your work experience, so make it clear for them to understand. You never know what they’ll assume you were doing during that time if it’s not clarified. If they’re left feeling confused about your work experience, they’re not likely to look into you as a candidate.
- Don’t give the document a misleading title. While it’s normal to save the document as “Resume” on your personal computer, if you are emailing the document you will want to change it. As a staple, always list your full name in the document so it is easy to locate among a long list of emailed resumes. “Jane Smith Resume” will be clear and easy to find.
- Don’t go overboard. While it is true that your resume is working as a marketing tool for you, using fluffy and vague verbiage can lead people astray. You don’t want to sound under or over-qualified, and using flowery language can do just that. A good list of skills and qualifications along with excellent grammar and punctuation will be enough to show your strengths.
Once your resume is completed, it is always a good idea to have multiple sets of eyes look it over. Receiving feedback, constructive criticism, and insight from others can make it even stronger than it is already. Having a resume you are proud of will help you feel confident as you begin your job search. Good luck!