The job hunt begins with just about 80 days until graduation. Seniors, in addition to your thesis or capstone project, it’s time to work on your resume. In the words of Professor Joseph Catrino, “Your resume is never done.”
Research shows employers spend about six seconds looking at your resume. That means your resume needs to look the most attractive to catch their eye. Some people like to add graphic design or color to their resume. Whatever you do, you need to remain professional.
The Chronicle met with Catrino for a resume workshop before the spring semester began, and most of us were freshmen and sophomores. That shows you it’s never too early to start your resume. It’s important to have a resume ready as a college student; you’ll never know who you’ll meet here with all the lectures and networking events the university hosts.
That’s why getting involved on campus is important, so you’ll have something on your resume. Employers want to see that you take on opportunities to become a leader or a team player. That way you can share examples to support your answers in job interviews.
Getting involved can also give you hands-on experience where you can learn more than in the classroom. Knowing and hearing about how to deal with conflict in a workplace is different than having actual experience. Having these experiences gives you the upper hand in problem solving.
Organizations are not the only thing you need to add to your resume. You can also add conferences you’ve attended, like the Leadership Conference that happened this past weekend, honor societies you’re a part of, awards you’ve received, relevant courses or volunteer experience.
You want your versatile experience to appear on your resume, but you should also have different versions of the document. Many jobs look for specific things that may differ from one another. With that, you must have a resume that’s right for that job. Maybe your volunteer experience only fits for a certain job application, then you’ll have to remove it from your resume for other job applications. That’s a good thing. You can then expand on your other qualifications.
Resumes need to tell employers what you’re capable of. Thus, you have to explain and support your experiences with description. For instance, instead of just listing different positions you had in an organization, bullet point what you did for each position using active verbs, but keeping it concise. Catrino recommends you use the description and wording on the job application and show how you embody them.
If you’re not sure where to start, Catrino recommends you start with a traditional layout for your first resume, keeping it to one page. Find the right format for you. You must master that first and build from there. However, he suggest you don’t use a Word template because it’s hard to edit and some may expire.
Finally, a way to stand out is by making your name known. Your name must stand out the most at around 16-point-font size, as the largest font size and on the top of your resume, according to Catrino.