How to Give Your Resume a Makeover to Score a Summer Job

As you near the end of your time in college, you’ll likely become more interested in spending your summers gaining experience for your future career and less interested in returning to smocks, name tags, and uniforms. But you probably haven’t touched your resume since you applied to this college. Let’s be honest, it might even still be on the family computer you’re not even sure still exists.

If you want to score an awesome summer job in your field, you’re going to need to jazz up your resume with the latest and greatest information about all you’ve done in the past few years. Here’s a list of ideas on how you can turn your high school list of clubs into a professional and career-worthy document.

Eliminate Fluff: When you were applying to college or to your first part-time job, the fact that you were on the soccer team and held the treasurer position for your 8th grade class was all really cool; however, now that you’re a college student, these facts aren’t as relevant. Clear away your middle school and high school activities to make way for your college accomplishments.

Get Classy: You may be concerned that without having yet completed college,  you’ll be limited to mentioning the degree you’ll be obtaining and when, without being able to give more information on your current academics. The way around this is to discuss the classes you’ve taken. Pick a few courses relevant to the job you’re applying for, provide a brief description, and mention papers you’ve written or research you’ve done on given topics. Your ability to narrow in and discuss your relevant interests will be far more attractive than listing your graduation date.

Update Your References: You don’t want to apply for a summer job in your field with a resume that continues to list your soccer coach and your 10th grade math teacher (who now goes by her married name), as your references. Pick people who can speak about your academic accomplishments.

Work on Aesthetics: A three page resume in Comic Sans font looked pretty nifty in 11th grade, but when you’re trying to get a job in your field, you’ll need something more professional. Keep it tight by only including the most relevant information, with the most important and powerful words. Keep the font simple and readable. Print it out on nice paper, but nothing too ridiculous.

Provide Proof: For every piece of experience on your resume, provide the “so what?” or evidence of your accomplishments. For example, if you write that you were president of the jazz band, the reader of your resume might say “Ok, so what?” In a concise matter, tell them the “so what?”! Something like, “President of College Jazz Band: Organized rehearsals of 115 musicians, developed successful solution to keep track of uniforms that future presidents will utilize, etc.”

Be Relevant: You don’t have to rewrite a resume for each different job you apply to, but you can tweak it to include or highlight the essential skills each job is looking for. Make a list of the skills or qualifications the job position requires, and make sure your resume covers those points.

Include a Portfolio: While portfolios have stereotypically been used for those in art fields, they are being used more and more with many other majors as well. Teachers use them to show lesson plans, public relations reps use them to show press releases, and writers use them to show clippings. They can hold copies of certifications, news paper articles, photographs, drawings, essays, and more. Having something visual to show an employer not only looks good, but it also gives you a limitless amount of room to expand on what’s already in your resume.

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