Whether you’re a senior searching for a job after graduation or just a freshman starting her college career, a resume is a valuable tool for showing off all of your hard-earned accomplishments!
While simply having a resume is a great start, having a properly formatted resume is extremely important in letting future employers know that you’re a serious candidate for the job! I know creating a resume seems daunting, but keep reading for my do’s & don’ts of crafting a killer, super-professional resume in no time at all.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Crafting a Resume
DO Pick a Good Format
There are countless templates available online, but that doesn’t mean you should just pick one and roll with it. Choose one that’s easy-to-read, clean, and organizes your accomplishments in the most efficient way.
Choose a resume format that’s clean, easy-to-read, and well-organized to highlight your skills.
For example, if you’re an engineer like myself, you might want to include a section titled “Engineering Projects.” However, engineering projects might not be super relevant if you’re an English or finance major. I recommend finding a couple of different templates that you like and then mashing them together to create your own unique resume!
The Career Center at your school can also be a valuable resource for creating the ideal resume!
DON’T Go Crazy With the Colors and Fonts
Unless you’re an art or design major (where you’d want to show off your design skills), keep your resume in black-and-white! I know it’s super boring. BUT, it looks way more professional that way.
Also, choose a font that won’t distract from your content – Times New Roman or Garamond are my go-to’s. No script-y fonts or all-caps fonts!
DO List Your Contact Information at the Top
Make it easy for employers to find you by listing your contact information at the top. Your contact information should include –
– Your Full Name (Middle or Middle Initial if you want!)
– Your Permanent Address
– Your School Address
– Your school OR personal email
– Your phone number
DON’T Feel Like You Need to Highlight Everything
When you’re just starting out in college, you might only have a few activities to put on your resume. And that’s okay! In this situation, it’s OK to include all of your past and current activities.
However, as you progress in your college career, you might want to start eliminating items that aren’t as important to you – clubs that you only attended once, projects that you didn’t really like, etc. It’s better to have a few really quality activities than a bunch of little things that don’t mean much to you!
DO Keep Everything in the Same Tense
All of your bullet points should be in a consistent tense! Use verbs ending in “ed” for activities that you’ve completed, and present-tense verbs for activities that you’re currently working on.
Changing tenses between bullet points makes it distracting for the reader. Keep everything nice and parallel!
DON’T Make Your Resume Greater Than One Page
Unless you’re writing a CV (generally two pages, mostly used in Europe), your resume should be one page and one page only.
Adjust the font, the font size, and the margins until you get there! However, don’t go smaller than a 10 point font (we don’t want the reader squinting at your resume) and don’t make the margins less than 0.5 (makes it hard to print).
If you simply cannot get everything on one page by adjusting these parameters, try consolidating bullet points or taking out less-relevant activities! Fewer activities on one page look way better than all of your activities on one page + a couple of random lines on a second page.
DO Be Very Specific
I strongly recommend quantifying anything you can in your resume! This means numbers, numbers, numbers.
If you were the officer of a club, how many new members did you bring in? By what percent did fundraising increase?
Tangible numbers like these are easy to read for employers and can positively impact your resume.
Writing a resume can be daunting, but just a few minor tweaks can make it stand out in a crowd! Are you job-searching, internship-searching, or simply writing a resume for the first time? Let me know down below in the comments! Coming up next: how to rock a career fair or networking event!