Many of us think about résumé’s when it’s time to apply for a job or a scholarship. There is so much information that goes into résumés and there is also a great deal of information that shouldn’t be in a résumé. Keep reading to see my personal tips about résumés.
What is a résumé?
Great question! A résumé is a brief account of a person’s education, qualifications, and previous experience. So on this 1-2 page document you want to make sure you market yourself well. Many people only put the basics here, but, this is your time to shine! Note your experiences and what skills you’ve learned. What were your responsibilities and what skills did you learn? Granted, these should be short sentences but put your strengths forward! You want to show the people reading your application that you deserve the position or the scholarship! This is your ticket to earning an interview. Ask someone to review it for you before you submit it. Another great service we can provide, by the way (shameless plug).
It is my opinion that having someone look over your résumé is always helpful. Make sure these are trusted adults, that will give helpful advice. Many times when we describe our experiences it sounds pretty basic, but word choice is everything! Choosing the right action words for your résumé can completely change the tone of your description. I’m sure we’ve all sent a text where we meant one thing and it was understood a different way. An easy way to find new vocabulary for your résumé is to find synonyms for certain words. For instance a word often used is “helped”, try using assisted or aided. Sometimes you realize that you didn’t help you collaborated with others on a project. Also if you are currently working, look up your job description online. See how your position is explained and use that to inspire your words.
Before I graduated college I made an appointment with at the student resources office to create my résumé. When we started talking about my experience my only jobs were being student researcher, a sales associate at Kohl’s, and a deli clerk at Harris Teeter. He asked me about my responsibilities. Imagine seeing my résumé and under deli clerk you see – slices meat and cheese for customers. Is that what I did? Yes, but see how this sounds: “Prepare, process, package, and stock products according to health and safety standards.” Sounds much better, right? It’s also a more accurate description of what I did.
So what don’t I need?
Remember a résumé is a summary, so we do not want to be heavy handed with our words. We are not telling a story, but we do want our summary to make the interviewer(s) curious about our experience(s). Under each experience I would note 2-3 responsibilities.
Also there are many résumé templates online and on Word, be careful. You definitely want to be basic here, in my opinion. I’ve always been told not to go for the colorful ones or the ones with funky layouts. Some people put pictures on their résumé and that could be a bit much. Every employer is different, but I would stick to a plain layout.
Above all else DO NOT lie or exaggerate. Always be honest and upfront. That’s a sure way to get denied for what you’ve applied for and also things you may apply for in the future. The interviewer may also tell others about your lie, so don’t risk it!
I hope this helps and know that we are here to help! Good luck with your résumés!