Your resume is the key to making a great first impression and ultimately landing your dream job. As Campus Philly’s Jobfest approaches, now is the perfect time to polish up your resume so you can show recruiters why you’re the best candidate for an open role.
These are the tips and tricks for building a great resume.
The start to a perfect resume is a good header. A header consists of your full name in big, bold letters. It’s recommended that you include the city you live in, along with an email address and phone number where a potential employer can contact you. Use a professional email address—not a personal one with an embarrassing name (looking at you, [email protected]!). If the application asks for a cover letter, make sure the information matches both on the resume and cover letter.
The next section of your resume should include all of your education. If you are a freshman or sophomore, you can include your high school education (only if you have enough space). If you are a junior or senior, don’t include your high school education. List the college or university you attend, the expected graduation year, what type of degree you are earning, your GPA (only if it is 3.0 or higher), and any educational honors or awards.
Experience is the most essential part of a resume that recruiters read, so formatting it is crucial to a good first impression. Include the most relevant information to the job or internship you are applying for. Examples of relevant information are jobs either part-time or full-time, internships, leadership positions, or research/projects you’ve participated in. This section must be in reverse chronological order starting with the most recent experience and will be formatted in bullet points.
The purpose of the bullet points is to highlight transferable skills related to your experience. Each role should consist of three to five bullet points starting with a context bullet. Your context bullet is the first bullet of your role and it consists of three different parts: Action Word (What action did you take?), Core Function (What was your overall role?), and a Descriptor (Description of the company/organization).
An example of a context bullet for a marketing intern is “Manage social media content to promote brand awareness for a start-up custom t-shirt company.” A context bullet should answer the question “What did you spend most of your time doing in this role?”
The rest of your bullets are your supporting bullets that incorporate keywords from the job description and show the results of your work and/or the purpose of your actions. Supporting bullets follow the format of leading with an Action Word (What action did you take?), then with Details (Who, what, when, where, how?), and finally with Result/Purpose (Describe impact and outcome).
An example of a supporting bullet for a marketing intern is “Maintain organized merchandise displays, designing strategic product layouts to maximize sales.”
Bullet points should be concise statements and easily understood, no more than two lines total. It is highly encouraged that your resume be no more than ONE page, so keep it short and succinct.
Try to incorporate quantitative data wherever you can so employers can see measurable results from your previous experience. If you are including your current work experience in your resume, you should start with action words in the present tense. All past work experiences start with actions words in the past tense. It’s not recommended to list multiple action verbs in one bullet point or to have the action verbs ending in “ing” or an “s.”
Activities and volunteering can be included in your resume if it is relevant to what you are applying for or if you don’t have enough work experience to fill out the entire page. You can include any volunteer experience you have done either recently or in high school. If you have been a part of clubs or any extracurricular activities in high school or currently, include those in your resume—especially if you have a leadership position in the organization; that shows employers you have transferable skills for the position you are applying for.
Skills is an easy section for employers to look at, particularly when it comes to highlighting skills you are proficient in that are relevant to the position. You must be able to provide examples during the interview that you are proficient in these skills. Pro tip: Employers appreciate if you have any certifications that you’ve earned through LinkedIn, Google, or from previous work experience. So list certifications that relate to the job or were listed in the job description.
That being said: There is a difference between listing hard versus soft skills. Hard skills are the technical skills you need to complete specific tasks. Soft skills are character traits and interpersonal skills that characterize a person’s relationships with other people.
Hard skills are typically specific, tangible, and qualifiable, while soft skills are subjective and associated with behavior. Think of “soft skills” as ones that show up IN your interview, while “hard skills” are showcased on your resume.
Final Tips and Tricks
Final thoughts to keep in mind when writing your resume is
- Maintain consistent spacing, alignment, font
- Capitalize employer names
- Stick to one page
- Submit your resume as a PDF document
- Don’t include hobbies or photos
- Don’t use personal pronouns (ie. “I, we, my, our”)
- Don’t lie or stretch the truth
- Have a friend, professor, or career center proofread your resume before you send it out! They can offer feedback or catch errors you may have missed.