Resume Advice: My 5 Tips!

resume advice
If you're anything like me, you've looked at your resume and thought, 'should I mention that one time I babysat for a week when I was 16?'

When it comes to filling out your resume, especially if it's before you've had any major work experience, there comes the daunting task of creating something out of what you think is nothing.

But, I have some good news for you! Even some of the most seemingly "meaningless" tasks or experiences that you've had may actually benefit you while creating your resume.

Keep reading for my advice on how to create a resume, whether you're brand new and applying for your first job, or if you're a seasoned pro just looking to brush up.

Five Tips for Your Resume

1. Keep it simple!

This covers everything from the layout and font to the content itself. You might be tempted to use fun fonts and colors in order to stand out, but this really depends on what industry you're in. For positions like graphic designer or photographer, let your creativity shine! But, for the rest of us, it's best to use a common font, usually Times New Roman or Arial, at a standard 9-12pt font.

As for the content, do your best to summarize your work or education experiences so that the recipient of your resume will see the most important (and relevant) points. Make sure that everything is short and to the point.

If you can, try to keep your resume between 1-2 pages, based on how much relevant information you have to share.

2. Don't use the same resume for all of your applications.

If you're applying for the same position with the same requirements for different companies, this won't necessarily apply to you. For everyone else, it's important to note that not every open position will have the same requirements, meaning that your resume should be customized accordingly.

For example, are you applying for one position as a Financial Assistant and another as a Project Manager? For the first, you'll want to mention any classes you took in finance, or that one time you ran a bake sale to raise money for new soccer uniforms at your school. Whereas, if you're applying for the second job, maybe you would include that one time you were a stage manager for your college's musical in junior year or how you know how to create pivot tables in Excel.

The whole idea behind this point is that you want your resume to be relevant to the position that you are applying for.

3. Use facts to back up your accomplishments.

What sounds more impressive to you: "Organized project that raised revenue for company," OR "Organized project that increased monthly revenue by 35%."

The difference between those two statements? Quantifiable data (ie. numbers)! When possible, include numbers or data that back up the claims that you are making as part of your accomplishments.

For anyone who's new to the workplace, you can reach out to professors or student advisors for any information that you don't know off the top of your head. Did you help run student government meetings? Find out how many students were involved, what was the percentage of successful measures passed, or how much money was raised during the car wash fundraiser.

4. Use Action Words.

Make your accomplishments stand out! Instead of "was responsible for fixing computer problems," you can instead write "resolved computer problems." This statement is shorter, more concise but still conveys the same meaning.

Try to vary the verbs that you use to properly describe your tasks either in your work or school experiences. My best resource for writing accomplishment statements is an online thesaurus! Instead of "organized," use "coordinated," or instead of "created," use "initiated."

Note: when referring to your current job, using Action Words in the present tense and when describing past accomplishments, stick to the past tense. Make sure to keep this in mind when revising your resume if you haven't done so in a while.

5. Include personal information, without being too intimate.

On one hand, you don't want to seem like a robot, but on the other, you don't want your resume to feel like your Facebook profile.

Information like how many kids you have or your favorite kind of music is not necessarily important when writing your resume. Actually, most people advise entirely against including information about your family in order to prevent any issues with discrimination (even though it is illegal to discriminate in this way).

However, here are some things you want to include:
  • Travels - don't specifically mention how you and your friends drank across Europe, but stating your interest in travel and your past adventures is a great conversation starter in interviews.
  • Hobbies - in my experience, interviewers and potential employers love to see what you're involved with when you're not working. This section is also sometimes relevant to your application. Applying for a position in Journalism? Indicating a hobby in writing in your journal or blogging is great!
  • Skills - in this section, you can list all of your skills. I'm not talking "Microsoft Office" or "works well with others," but instead skills that may set you apart from others. I tend to focus on my language skills or my experience with industry-specific software since those are both relevant to my job.

Final Notes

If you take away anything from this post, I hope that it's this: a resume is a document that should be a concise summary of your relevant life experience to the position that you want. When writing your resume, don't be afraid to brag - you're trying to sell yourself to a possible employer!

More than anything, don't lie or exaggerate. Be yourself and remember that, if you're a right fit for a company, they will recognize it. Your resume helps you get your foot in the door, but it's your personality and passion that help get you the job.

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions in the comments below or on the Twitter account!


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