Friday, October 10, 2014

Good Student Resumes

How to write a resume that WILL NOT get you an interview:
  1. Write a lengthy, detailed, generic objective statement.
  2. Put your GPA on the resume if it's anything below a 3.9.
  3. List skills "strong attention to detail" or other generic platitudes.
  4. Write your past experience section so it looks like the "minimum requirements" section of a job posting.
  5. Create a long resume that's excessively detailed and takes 20 minutes of concentrated effort to read.

How to do it better:
  1. Don't put an objective on your resume.  If you're applying for a job, your objective is to get a job.  
  2. If your GPA is less than a 3.9, it's either going to be a non-factor, or it's going to hurt you.  Don't put it on your resume.
  3. List skills and how you've applied them; talk about the projects you've done or the things you've built.
  4. Talk about accomplishments instead of duties.  Anybody reading your resume can discern what your duties were; what makes your resume stand out is identifying the things that you did that nobody else did.
  5. Keep your resume succinct and to-the-point.

At the end of the day, you have to think: 
  • "What sets my resume apart from the other candidates that are applying?"  
  • "What makes *me* more interesting than the next person?" 
  • "How can I make my abilities and skills stand out?"

If your resume doesn't identify that, it's going to be hard to get an interview.

Also, it's good to keep the following points in mind:
  1. Opportunity Cost - everything you put on your resume is a chance that the reader will miss something else.  Think about this when you list tiny details or extended descriptions of low impact items.
  2. Marketing - your resume is a marketing pamphlet for *you* - what makes you stand out?  Why should somebody want to talk to you further?
  3. Proofread - typos on your resume won't cost you every opportunity, but they might cost you some of them.
  4. Fonts - use a normal one that's easy to read.
  5. Material - activities, projects, clubs, interesting class projects, internships, volunteer work, examples of leadership - you can build all of these up while in school.

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