Job Search Expert’s Tip of the Month – November

Have You Updated Your Resume Lately? 5 Simple Ways to Start

Your resume can be one of the most important tools in your job search toolkit. It needs to convey your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, and concisely show the employer why they should hire you.

Is your resume in need of an update? Here’s how you can start:

Overhaul your professional summary. Still using an objective statement at the beginning of your resume? Do away with it and replace it with a professional summary instead. This statement should be no longer than one to two sentences and succinctly sum up your qualifications, skills, and fit with the position you’re applying for. Not sure where to start? Look at the keywords for the position and align what the company wants with what you can offer. You want to make your reader interested enough to read the rest of your resume.

Evaluate use of keywords. Many employers and human resource departments utilize electronic scanning screening software to whittle down the amount of candidates for an open position. If your resume does not contain the proper keywords, it could be overlooked during this process. Take a look at your professional summary, areas of expertise, experience and skills sections. Where appropriate, include keywords. Don’t forget transferable skills!

Include accomplishments, not responsibilities. You don’t want your experience section to sound like a job description. An employer wants to know what you accomplished at the position, not just what you did. Make each bullet point convey how you benefited the company by working there. Use words like “develop”, implement”, and “monitor” when writing accomplishments. Use data to back up your bullet points whenever applicable.

Make your education shine. It’s important for recent graduates to put their education front and center. If you’ve received a good grade point average (3.0 or above) – either cumulative or in your major – include it. Additional training or technical skills are important to include, too.

Format to stand out from the crowd. In order to attract a hiring manager’s interest, your resume needs to be organized and formatted correctly. It also should be clear and simple to read. Often, poor formatting is a result of not spending enough time on creating a resume. Utilize free tools to help create a document that best represents you, such as templates and tables. Get other’s opinions and suggestions by stopping by your campus career center or seeking out free resume critiques online.

~ Heather Huhman, Job Search Expert, Campus Calm™

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