What is a Resume?
A resume serves as a brief summary of your qualifications and experiences as they relate to the type of job you are seeking—it is used when you apply for jobs, internships, or graduate and professional schools. The primary purpose of a resume is to secure an interview, giving you the opportunity to sell your strengths and abilities to prospective employers in person.
Your resume provides prospective employers with their first impression of you—it is an advertisement about you. Your resume is your chief marketing tool in the job search process. Therefore, your resume should be well-organized and highlight your background by emphasizing your skills and qualifications. If you have several career interests and you are applying for several positions that are unrelated, you may want to develop multiple resumes with different objectives.
The resume is an opportunity to market yourself to a prospective employer. It should be succinct, target an employer’s needs, and distinguish you from your competitors.
You may find the information listed below helpful as you continually develop your resume.
Conduct a Self-Assessment
Review your education, career history, and accomplishments. What are your strengths, weaknesses, personal preferences, and motivations? Think about who you are and what you want for the next phase of your career.
Think like the Reader
Employers want to know how you can be an asset to their organizations. Consider the company’s needs and the way your skills meet those demands.
Highlight Accomplishments and Results
Avoid the common trap of listing a job description with your resume. Focus on what you have been able to achieve rather than a laundry list of duties and responsibilities. The best way to convince employers that you will add value is to show them that you have done it before.
Consider the Playing Field
Identify your competition. Who is it? What skills and experience are qualified candidates likely to bring? In what ways are you unique? Think about your work and life experience in ways that make you stand out from other applicants.
Create Visual Impact
A concise, visually appealing resume will make a stronger impression that a dense, text-laden document. Respect page margins and properly space the text. Limit the amount of type you use and learn to appreciate the value of “white space.”
Use Parallel Construction
Select a consistent order of information, format, and spacing. If one experience starts with a brief overview followed by bullet points, subsequent experiences should follow a similar form. Parallel construction – including the use of action verbs to start all phrases – greatly enhances a resume’s readability.
Pay close attention to margin alignment, spelling, punctuation, and dates. Read your resume backward to check for typographical errors. (This helps you focus on individual words, rather than the meaning of the text.) Also, you will want to have a friend, colleague, or family member review it.