Tips to write a stand out resume
Published: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 22:01
At Wednesday evening’s “Writing an Irresistible Resume” presenter Larry Druckenbrod broke down the resume writing process for students searching for jobs and internships.
“If your resume looks good, it means someone is going to look at it,” Druckenbrod said. Naturally the No. 1 step for students to consider when creating their resumes is formatting and design. A laundry list of skills and experiences just won’t impress anyone, and neither will computer paper, according to Druckenbrod.
“You need to print your resume on resume paper. You can buy it at the Co-op and it’s made to make your resume look irresistible,” Druckenbrod said.
Druckenbrod recommended printing resumes on the thicker, more professional looking paper, to help the resumes you pass out at the upcoming career, internship and co-op fairs to stand out.
While the paper is a hidden, but important consideration to make, the formatting of the resume is by far the most important part of the process.
Druckenbrod suggested that while consistency is key in resume building, bolding or enlarging your name on the top of your resume is a good idea.
“Bold your name, aesthetically it will look good,” Druckenbrod said.
Aside from making certain items pop on the page, Druckenbrod said that personalizing the formatting of the resume to tailor your qualifications is a must. Druckenbrod suggested adding headings such as volunteer work, leadership skills and interests if you feel that you have enough relevant experience in such categories.
When writing a resume, it is invaluable to think about why you are applying to a certain job or internship and why you are qualified for such work. By doing so you can create an objective to put at the top of your resume that will act as the thesis statement for your resume. For example, if you are applying for a marketing job at The New York Times your objective could read:
“Applying for a marketing position at The New York Times where I can bring my knowledge of media industries, online and print marketing, and creativity.”
In the objective you list your relevant qualifications in broad terms and connect them back to the opportunity you are applying for. Don’t add personal attributes such as interpersonal or communicative skills to the resume or the objective because you want to focus the attention of the hiring manager to your skills.
“On a resume you are really looking at skills and usually they appear in the objective at the top of your resume,” Druckenbrod said.
Additionally, communicating your skills on paper can be a challenge for most people. Druckenbrod’s advice was to use action verbs to describe what tasks you performed at previous experiences. Saying “Worked forty hours a week at the Associated Press” doesn’t tell your audience very much. However, writing “Worked forty hours a week editing and revising articles for the Associated Press on a strict deadline” gives specific details about your skills. For a list of action verbs that are great to use on resumes, pick up the Center of Career Development’s “Resume and Cover Letter Guide.”
Pick and choose what skills you want to showcase. The fact that you answered phones for a summer at the UConn Foundation might be a good skill if you’re applying for a management job, but won’t be so relevant if you’re applying to an engineering job. Similarly don’t over emphasize every detail of every job you’ve worked. Your resume is a window into your abilities, not a manifesto.
“You have to think about leading the horse to water…I want to create a series of positive impressions of the reader,” Druckenbrod said. “Provide enough information so that they get a sense of what you did and know that the interview is where you are going to elaborate on this…You need to know how to be clear and concise.”
Druckenbrod also answered some frequently asked questions about resumes including whether or not to include a GPA. Druckenbrod advised that if students have a 2.5 or higher to always include it on a resume or else employers will assume the worst.
“Everyone understands the GPA if they don’t understand anything else, they understand GPA,” Druckenbrod said.
Another frequent insecurity for students about resume writing is how much personal interest they should include in the resume. Often times “activities or interests” sections are included in resumes, but students are wary about what information to include. To this end, Druckenbrod said that it is a must in order to connect with employers.
“If you put reading into your interests you might get a question during an interview about what book you read last…next thing you know you’re talking about Steinbeck and the interviewer is really liking you,” Druckenbroad said. “This is the third dimensions of your candidacy. You have the student dimension, the work dimension and this is what you are involved in.”
For more help creating a resume, the Center for Career Development offers walk in resume critiques from 10:00am. to 4:00pm. daily.