Before crafting your RESUME, you need to understand its core purpose: to land you the job interview. Not the job itself, just the interview. A resume gives prospective employers an overview of your education, prior work experience, leadership/service activities, and technical skill set, among other items. Graduate Career Services works across college disciplines to provide opportunities (workshops, small group discussions, 1:1 appointments) to help you craft an individualized resume that will best represent you as you begin the strategic job search process. Keeping the end goal (landing the job interview) in mind will help keep your writing in check, minimizing the need to over-explain or otherwise dilute your message. The resume is simply a fact-sheet that showcases your skills and expertise as related to a particular position or technical area.
Purpose: Employers seeking to hire for a variety of positions within most industries and career fields
- Resources with Templates: Microsoft Word, Canva , Academic iNDex
- Length: Typically one page but can be expanded to 2-3 pages depending on the position, your experiences, and employer requirements
- Document Margins and Font: Utilize .5 ("narrow") or 1 inch margins for the document layout and basic font such as Times, Calibri, etc. with a 10-12 pt. font size
- Easy to Scan: A hiring manager’s first look may last no longer than 30-60 seconds, so keep your document clean and consistent without leaving too much or too little white space. Use CAPITAL LETTERS, bold and italic font, and spacing to help the reader absorb essential information. However, try to avoid using too many variations in font. Test your ability to scan through the "6 Second Resume Challenge"
- Style: Adjust the look of the document based on the employer and position. A basic look is often used, but certain circumstances may merit utilizing text boxes, lines, color and/or design to create a more contemporary or artistic look
- Chronological vs. Functional vs. Cross-Functional Resume: "Chronological" format organizes information based on types of experiences (ex. "Teaching") and lists most recent experiences first. A "Functional" resume organizes information based on types of skills from multiple experiences (ex. "Data Analytics"). Lastly, a "Cross-Functional" resume combines both formats. a Chronological resume is used most commonly with the others being used to showcase transferrable skills and knowledge when going through career transitions.
- Tailored: Customized for each specific position and employer to showcase the MOST RELEVANT information
- Clear, Concise and Organized: Focus on the employer’s needs, emphasizing skills, experiences and technical expertise that demonstrate your ability to add immediate value
- Error-free: Proofread several times for spelling, grammar, and structure. Your advisor and a Graduate Career Consultant should review the document before you post it on Go IRISH or send it to prospective employers.
- Headings: Utilize headings targeted to the job and employer (ex. "Experience" becomes "Teaching Experience" ; "Professional Development" becomes "Campus Leadership"). Keep the most relevant sections near the top and supplemental sections further down on the resume. Consider developing a "Professional Summary" at the top to highlight your overall experiences and skills set
- Bullet-Points/Descriptors: Showcase experiences in more depth by describing relevant skills and responsibilities. Often the structure of Strong Action Verbs + Details (Who, How, What) + Results/Purpose is helpful to create short, yet effective and evidence-driven/quantifiable, sentences that leave a lasting impression
- Online Presence: Consider developing and including a profile link to LinkedIn, Academica.edu, and/or a professional website
- Look at LinkedIn profiles in your field; find skills that match your education and experience and retool for use in your documentation.
- Gain new experiences; participate in professional organizations and community activities. Update your resume to showcase service/leadership accordingly.
- Research applicant tracking software (ATS). Most organizations employ software to scan resumes for keywords and match to specific job posting; using websites such as JobScan and LifeHacker will allow you to see how your resume matches up.
- Dump your resume into a word cloud generator to see what skills and experiences are highlighted.
- Format matters! Word vs. PDF Resume: Which Is the Best Resume Format? is a great article from the blog uptowork outlining the pros and cons of each format.
- Remember, it’s easier to edit than create. Keep your resume dynamic and up-to-date; never stop revising and tweaking content.
- Avoid these common resume mistakes
- Resume Psychology Resume Hacks & Traps Revealed: Beat the Machine. Be Seen. Get Hired!, Dirk Spencer (Kindle Book)
- Give Your Resume A Facelift, LifeClever
- Verbal Oragami, Inside Higher Ed, Joseph Barber
- 185 Powerful Verbs That Will Make Your Resume Awesome, The Muse
- Graduate Career Services has a Pinterest Page where we have posted a wide variety of carefully selected online content that may be of interest to graduate students. Check out our Resume board for more tips and advice!