10 Tips For Your First Resume
Career Development

10 Tips For Those Just Starting To Build A Resume

How to stand out and be professional at the same time.

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A resume is something every single job on the planet will request. You all have one, or you at least know how to outline one and what to put on it.

Your resume should tell your potential employer everything relevant about you in one page or less. If your anything like me, that can be hard. So, I've compiled some tips that maybe will help you out, especially if your just getting started in the workforce:

1. Match your resume to your cover letter

In one of my classes, I learned that sometimes people put all of their focus into making their resume look so bold and flashy, that they forget they should be putting the same amount of effort into their cover letters. This is a huge mistake. If you use Microsoft Word to outline your resume, they probably have the same template for a cover letter. Utilize that, because not everyone does and that could give you an edge in the hiring process. You should also be rewriting your cover letter each time and tailoring it to the specific company and position.

2. Make a list of *all* your skills

One great tip I learned is that different companies might expect different skills, even if you're applying for a similar position. By making a long list of all your personal traits and skills, you can highlight your best aspects for a tailor-made resume. Read their expectations and qualifications very carefully, because they usually hint what they are looking for. For example, if they say they want someone who is proficient in AP Style and Microsoft Excel, you should probably include in your skill portion that you know AP Style and how to use Microsoft Excel (only if you actually are, don't lie on your resume! That's unprofessional).

3. Your experience section should reflect your traits

I know this seems like common sense, but when you are describing your responsibilities this is your chance to showcase those traits. If you say you're fluent in AP Style, then obviously you should write your resume in AP Style and not a different format. If you say you have leadership skills, include a position where you were in charge of a project or in a managerial position.

4. Short skills section

Those generic descriptors (motivated, hard-working, self-sufficient) are unnecessary. Keep it short and sweet, only the most relevant information here. This is where that list comes in handy because you can cherry pick your skills that are the most beneficial. Plus, your work experience and your samples will display even more skills that you have. This is just supposed to be the part that can catch the hiring managers attention, it's the part that shows them almost immediately if you're worth even a second glance.

5. Don't just describe your job, identify your accomplishments

The hiring manager reading through your resume probably doesn't care that you wrote an article for Odyssey once a week. However, they probably do care that you racked up 500,000 views on one article or that you have an average of 3,000 views per article.

Give them the numbers and the physical proof, that's what they want. Anyone can say that they worked a Twitter page and have experience running an account for someone, but only you can say that you increased the follower count by 30 percent in the three months that you were there.

6. Update your resume as you go

If you're applying for an entry-level, try to clean out anything older than five years, within reason. You don't need to include your high school volunteer job that you did to get your National Honor Society hours. However, if you've been working at the same grocery store throughout both high school and college, that's a good inclusion because it shows commitment.

When you get older and join the workforce, 10 to 15 years of experience should be fine. This is because higher level positions clearly expect you to have more than a few years of experience. Plus, when you get older, the length of time that you were at a position shows expertise in the field.

7. Proofread

This should be clear enough. Read through your resume and then read through it again. Let multiple pairs of eyes check it, too. When you're 100 percent sure that it's free of mistakes, read through it again.

8. Margins and white space

Use standard one-inch margins, but remember that you shouldn't be cramming all of your text into single space to the point where it looks like a block of text in jibberish. White space is important, it makes it neat and readable. Include it and if it means your resume ends up going a little bit over one page, that's OK. Once your resume gets to two pages, that's when you need to start chopping.

9. Name your file accordingly

If you name your file "resume.docx," guess what... it's gonna get lost. If you name your file "firstname_lastname_resume.docx" then when it comes time to pull resumes for interviews, people are gonna be able to find it easier.

10. Save it in every format imaginable

There's nothing more terrifying than the thought of having to completely redo your resume. All that hard work you put into it and the perfectly crafted descriptions disappearing is my personal worst nightmare.

Save it as a .PDF, copy it onto a flash drive and email it to yourself.

Note: Take my tips with a grain of salt. I'm not a hiring manager. I don't know everything that goes on behind the scenes. This is what I have been told, and what I've researched. Remember that every position and field will expect different things. When you're more experienced and an expert in your field, it will be different.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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