The summer is prime-time to tick things off your to-do list. One that should be on yours is to create or update your resume.
A clean, well-written resume is one of the most powerful ways to demonstrate responsibility and competence to potential employers. During my first job interview, my boss said that just having a resume in my application distinguished me from most of his teenage applicants. In college, your resume becomes significantly more important, as it is necessary for internship and job applications.
So today we’re going to outline tips for preparing your resume. One thing to remember is resume creation is an art – knowing what templates to follow and what information to include comes with experience and is a matter of taste. That being said, here’s a few suggestions that have worked for me.
Find a good template. Unfortunately, this is harder than it looks. There are literally infinite ways to go about it, and none of them are necessarily wrong. My tip is to Google different templates and figure out what you like. I’ve found that templates that come from schools or universities are the best since they are designed especially for students.
List your education. Until your out of college, be sure to include the high school you attend or attended. If you’re in college be sure to put it down. Include your GPA, if you’d like*. Make sure you include your anticipated date of graduation of your current school, and if you’re in college, put down the year you graduated high school. List any awards, distinctions, or extra-curricular activities under the respective school, as they’ll help you stand out and give you some credentials if you haven’t had a job yet.
*If your GPA is not something that your particularly proud of, you aren’t required to include it. So if it doesn’t show the best side of you, just leave it out.
List your work experience. Depending on what you’ve done in the past, this really varies on the individual. If you’ve never had a job before, include any volunteer or work experience you’ve done previously. Things like babysitting or working with the elderly speaks to your character and competence, and definitely looks better than having nothing to show for yourself. If you’ve held leadership positions at school, you can list them as “jobs”, too. Eventually though, this are should just be filled by positions relevant to the area in which you’re applying. But as a teenager or college student, you’ll be given some slack.
Don’t forget to include summer activities. Employers like to see that you’ve done something other than stir up trouble all summer. So list the names of summer camps or programs that you’ve done.
Skills. Most resumes contain a smaller space to share abilities or skills that weren’t shared in the rest of the resume. It’s also a small way to personalize a resume. Be sure to include things like language and MS Office proficiency, and any other skills that are relevant to the job.
Generally, keep the content limited to the last 4 years. For example, a college sophomore’s resume would have info from his junior and senior years in high school and the past two years in college. This is to keep the content relevant to who you are.
A few things worth mentioning…
- If you run out of space, reduce the margins to .5″ on each side and the font to about size 10 or 11. Just make sure it’s still easy to read.
- Use your school’s career or guidance office for help. They will look over and edit your resume, and give you tips to make it better.
- Keep your resume in Dropbox or any other method online storage. You never know when you’re going to need it, and this way you will always have access to it.
- Be sure to follow the general resume guidelines, like cutting out fluff words and using action verbs. Triple-check for spelling and grammar mistakes!
There you have it! Get crackin’ on that resume!
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(photo from here)