Whether you’re still in college and applying for a part-time job on campus, or you’re a college graduate stepping into your career, it’s important to consider how others will view your resume, and what it might look like compared to countless of other resumes. Between the standard rules for resume writing and the need to stand out amongst dozens, or even hundreds of other applicants, designing a job-winning resume can be a difficult task.
An article entitled “Why I Tossed Your Resume,” by Brent Miller published in The Chronicle of Higher Education on April 17, 2012, discusses the reasons an Academic Program Specialist at Florida State University is able to narrow down nearly one-hundred applications to five in a matter of a few hours. He doesn’t read through the entire stack of applications cover-to-cover, and most of the people who read your application won’t either. Instead, he glances through in search for the top mistakes he says most resumes have. Amongst not being qualified for the position and using poor grammar, he mentions a lack of tailoring your application to the job you’re applying for to be one of the reasons he is likely to toss your resume. Instead of handing our copies of your resume like flyers, you need to take the time to cater each resume to the job you’re applying for. Simply substituting the company name in the cover letter is not going to cut it.
Brent Miller also recommends that you should never lie or exaggerate on your resume. Besides insisting that the truth will eventually come out, he mentions that your employer is going to be well-versed in their field–more well-versed than you. The likelihood that your employer knows the people, the companies, and the programs you’ve mentioned in your resume is pretty high. Lying about your achievements and experience is usually obvious to the employer.
The article also suggests that you take notice of the language utilized in the job posting, and that you use that same language in your application. If there are two words that describe what you know how to do, use whatever word they’ve used. By using the same language as what’s in the posting, you’re doing a better job at aligning yourself with that position. Don’t risk an employer skipping over your application because you were trying to fancy up your lingo. If they want a “Facebook Expert,” be the “Facebook Expert,” as opposed to a social media expert.
In addition to the suggestions supplied in the article, you may also want to consider your email address as well as what you’re naming your attachments. Create a professional email account with your first and last name. Save your attachments with a professional name that indicates you’ve tailored it for the job you’re applying for. Lastly, guard your online presence. Your employer will look up your Facebook account, Twitter account, blogs, and anything else you may have posted online. Keep your online presence professional.
Use these tips when you’re applying for summer jobs and internships to better your chances of being hired!
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