One of the most necessary parts of obtaining a professional job is often a mystery to many college students. A well-polished resume is essentially your foot in the door to the job you want.
So what is a resume?
A resume is a highlight of your professional skills, experience, and achievements. This is a quick introduction of yourself to employers. Most hiring managers have seen their fair share of resumes and you want yours to stand out! Of course, there is a caveat to creativity: every hiring manager likes different things. There are a few universal red flags like lying, using inappropriate language, and using a format impossible to follow. It’s tricky to decide how much personality to show.
How do you format?
Can you use color? Do you add an objective? How many pages? Do you include volunteer experience even if it’s not relevant to the job? All of these are great questions and it can be extremely stressful when deciding what to put on a piece of paper to show you are the best candidate for the job.
The best advice is to do your research. Understanding the culture and mission of your company will help you determine how to design your resume. A trendy marketing agency will likely be more open to creative risks than a top tier law firm. With a powerful tool like LinkedIn, you can possibly find the hiring manager who will look at your application and make educated decisions from there. If you are still in doubt, you can always go for a more traditional template.
When color is used tastefully, it can really help accentuate certain parts of your resume and make it stand out among hundreds of other applications. Objectives are largely considered to be no longer mandatory, but there is still some value to them. Your cover letter gives more of a personalized glimpse into you as an employee, but an objective can get this across faster. A highlights section can give a quick answer to whether you are qualified for the job or not. By strategically placing this near the top, you can save yourself from getting thrown out of the pile.
There is a great debate on whether or not you should stick to one page. One thing for sure is that all of your experience most relevant to the position at hand should come on page number one. Some recruiters may only look at the first page, others may want to see all the experience you listed. The important thing to pay attention to is relevance. If you’re applying for a director position with 10 years’ experience, it is usually safe to say the hiring manager is not interested in your first gig ever flipping burgers.
This post has hopefully answered some of your questions. Now that you have the knowledge, it is time to build one! Creating a custom one with Word ensures you look original, but if you aren’t up for that check out these sites that help you build a resume!
Still looking for inspiration? Check out these resume template examples from Canva.com