Interview with a Career Counselor – Top 10 Resume Tips

Veronica_RahimRecruitment season is in full swing. Many of us are spending hours tweaking and un-tweaking our resumes in hopes of making them more attractive to potential employers. I interviewed one of the talented Career Services Consultants at the Center for Career Opportunities, Veronica Rahim, to find out some of the things students should be on the lookout for when updating their resumes.

Here are some things she says to watch out for when working on your resume.

1. Use Appropriate Margins
It’s important that students use margins 1.0″-0.8″ for the top, and 1.0″-0.5″ for the sides and bottom. It is important to keep the margins within a specific range just in case resume content is scanned into an employer’s database for future reference.

2. List Dates Aligned to the Right
Dates are not as important as as the company or position description. Dates should be aligned to the right of the page. See example.

3. Don’t Include “References Available Upon Request”
If an employer wants to see references they will ask. It is implied when you apply for a position that you will have a references available for request.

4. List Most Relevant Information Towards the Top
It’s important to think about the relevance of information on your resume. Right after the education section, there should be the section that is the most relevant to the employer and the position.

5. Use Action Verbs on Bulleted Statements
Students should be using action verbs that convey their skills and accomplishments. On pages 14 and 15 in the CCO handbook, action verbs are listed and broken down into categories so that students to maximize the action verbs on their resumes.

6. Highlight Skills and Accomplishments
An employer is not interested in your daily work routines. They want to know what skills you applied that might be transferable to their company, what you contributed, and the results of your efforts. Highlighting accomplishments prove that you went above and beyond the requirements.

7. Visual Format of the Resume
If a resume is not visually appealing, it definitely makes an employer not want to read further. Resume format often defines whether an employer wants to take that 17 seconds to take a glance at your resume. Things to watch are 1) too much white space, 2) too little white space (crowded).

8. Use Correct Spelling and Grammar
Typos and grammatical errors can create the wrong impression with employers. A resume with typos and grammatical errors can reflect negatively on a candidate’s credibility, professionalism, and ability to represent the company. Come to the CCO during our drop-in hours to have an ambassador or counselor look through your resume, just in case you need a second eye.

9. Build a Layout from Scratch
Many employers feel that if a student uses a resume template, they lack creativity and originality. Employers like to see a candidate’s ability to build an appropriate layout from scratch. A candidate’s resume should have a structure and column headings that match their particular bundle of unique experiences.

10. Use Bullets, Not Paragraphs
Employers need to be able to read your resume. Paragraphs to not lend to that ability. Bullets allow employers to skim through your resume quickly and pick up key pieces of information easily.

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