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The Art of the Resume

So it’s finally time. You’ve turned in your last paper. You’ve taken your last test. You’ve thrown your cap in the air – and FINALLY graduated! Time to turn in your laminated nametag and pieces of “flair” at your part-time job, enter the “real world” – and find your first real job. But that diploma doesn’t do you any good unless your resume shows off some of those skills you learned the last four years. To get you started, here are a few helpful hints on writing a killer resume.

  1. Keep your resume to one page in length. Although you might think that 2nd place trophy for the spelling bee you won in 7th grade is important – an employer only wants the most important facts about your experience. And after they’ve looked through a pile of 100 resumes – it’s only the ones that are brief and to the point that will catch an employer’s attention.
  2. Be direct and do the work for them. Now is not the time for you to show off the elaborate vocabulary you’ve developed throughout college. Make the most relevant information (“relevant” meaning – applicable to the specific job you are applying for) easy to find (this isn’t a “Where’s Waldo” book) and write it in a clear, concise way.
  3. Write a cover letter. Your cover letter is the bread and butter of job hunting. When you’re on “the hunt,” write one solid cover letter – and customize it for each job you apply. Keep to about a half page in length and use it to explain why you think you’re the best candidate for the job. Writing skills are important for ANY job (even if you don’t aspire to be the next Dan Rather). Your cover letter is often the ONLY thing an employer reads (only glancing at the resume) – it’s a first impression that can be read over and over again. Make it good!
  4. Proof read, proof read, proof read! On both your cover letter AND resume. One misspelled word or grammatical error can make the difference between getting the job and continuing to flip burgers. Failure to perfect your resume and cover letter shows an employer you don’t value attention to detail (and who wants to hire someone like that).
  5. What to include. Here is a basic list of the things you need to be sure you cover in your resume:
  • Your full name (duh!)
  • Contact info (phone number and email address are usually enough if you don’t want to put your address – and be sure to put it at the TOP of the page – it’ll be easier for your new boss to find when they call you and make the offer).
  • Education background (List the name of the school(s) you’ve attended and the time period you were enrolled. Also include any awards or special clubs/activities you were involved in)
  • Your grade point average (if it’s over a 3.0 – if not, don’t emphasize it)
  • Job experience/Volunteer work/Internships (List the name of the employers you worked for or the organizations you volunteered with and the start and end dates also. Also list BRIEFLY your most relevant (there’s that word again!) responsibilities for each.
  • Be sure to include if you speak another language, or have any other “special skills” that would be important for an employer to know.

For more details on spicing up your resume and cover letter and landing your dream job here are some helpful websites:

  • National Credit Union Administration
  • Equal Housing Opportunity

Content of this site is provided as information only and is not intended to serve as advice or representation whatsoever. Investigate these topics further by contacting appropriate advisers.

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