College Life

How to (Productively) Kill Time Over Winter Break Part 1: The Resume Revamp

With the holidays behind us, the celebratory insanity will slowly fade into a lull of daytime Law and Order reruns and homecooked meals (thanks, Mom and Dad!). But instead of wasting away on your parents’ couch, why not use these next couple weeks off to get ahead on the summer job search?

Over the course of this week, we’ll be pulling together a “How to (Productively) Kill Time Over Winter Break” series that will inspire you to take on some worthwhile activities in your downtime. You’re welcome.

Today’s edition will focus on the cornerstone of the job application process: The RESUME. Whether you’re just developing your resume or you already have one handy, there are a few key things that everyone should keep in mind when it comes to your one-page (see #5) professional overview:

  1. Use action verbs: make your experience come alive on paper. Employers read a bagillion resumes per job opening, so it is imperative that you clearly and succinctly delineate each task that you performed that is relevant to the position you’re applying for. Clear, concise descriptions also showcase your awesome writing skills, which all employers love.
  2. Keep it relevant: You may have done many great things in your working years, but cramming every last detail into your resume isn’t going to get you anywhere. Employers want to know the key things that make you the most qualified for a position at their company. Your ability to correctly identify and describe these experiences shows that you understand the requirements of the position. It also underscores that you really want to be there: a big deal for employers.
  3. Keep in mind that “relevant experience” doesn’t have to mean work experience: Leadership positions in clubs or sports teams, event organization or volunteer work all bring valuable skill sets that are applicable in a company setting. Be sure to highlight these experiences in your resume—they also emphasize how fabulously well-rounded you are.
  4. Format matters: put your neurotic pants on, kids, your resume has to look as perfect as it is compelling. First impressions are key, so any typos or inconsistencies that might suggest sloppiness or carelessness are sure to discredit your application. With that in mind, take extra care to make sure that your resume LOOKS beautiful by SPELL CHECKING, standardizing margins and maintaining a clear, consistent format throughout. I like the following format for entries:
  6. Summer Company Job, Marketing Intern
  7. June 2011-August 2011
  8. Activity description
  9. Activity Description
  10. 1 Page #FTW: The workplace is about efficiency, so short and sweet wins you major hireability points. College students have only had a few years of potential work experience, so if your resume extends beyond a single page, hiring managers will likely think you’re stretching the truth and probably won’t bother reading it.

Your resume is your chance to showcase how awesome you are, so it is imperative that you give it the love it deserves. Some other great resources for resume advice include The College Board, your college career center, this Her Campus article, and this Uloop blog post. Read up!

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