The Graduate Series: Résumé tips & tricks
Hannah Hendrix, Contributing Writer
February 20, 2013
Filed under News
A résumé can make or break a job opportunity. First impressions are everything and since the résumé is one of the first ways an employer gets to know job candidates, it is important to make sure your résumé is the best it can be.
Check for typos. According to Careerbuilder.com, 87% of employers polled in one survey said if they find two or more grammatical errors in a résumé, they throw it out. Almost 50% said even one error could hurt your chances. Spell-check doesn’t always catch everything: read and re-read your résumé, and have someone else read it for you too.
Incomplete sentences. Employers prefer to read brief, bulleted points rather than carefully constructed paragraphs.
A moving target. Be wary of sending out a one-size-fits-all résumé. Employers are generally less interested in your career goals than why you want to work for them and the ways you can assist or improve their specific organization.
Include all your work experience. Don’t think you should include your stint in a local fast-food joint? Think again. Most employers recognize and appreciate the “soft skills” learned in these kinds of positions, such as time management and work ethic.
Be specific. An employer wants to know exactly how you can help them. “Worked with
employees in a school setting” is nonspecific and not particularly helpful. “Helped to design district curriculum maps for students with independent education plans” tells a prospective employer what you did for what project, and on what scale.
Use active verbs. Phrases like “was responsible for” are passive, and employers want proactive workers—use verbs with descriptive and active meanings when possible. Words like “organize”, “resolve”, “design”, and “teach” have a sense of action.
Short and sweet. Ideally, a lot of people are going to be reading your résumé, and each of those people will have different preferences about résumé length. Your résumé should never be longer than two pages, but don’t try to squeeze it onto one if it won’t fit; it will only make
the presentation—and you—look disorganized.
Easy on the eyes. Your résumé should be easy to look at, easy to follow, and easy to read. Make sure the font is big enough, and do not fill up whole pages with text: white space matters, too. Sticking to a single font will make your résumé look cohesive and organized. Another tip: serif fonts like Times New Roman have small horizontal “tags” on each letter that lead the reader’s eye to the next. In print, serif can make things easier to read, but if you plan to distribute your résumé electronically, fonts labeled “sans serif” keep the letters more distinct.
Contact information. Include ALL of your contact information: make it easy for a potential employer to be able to contact you. Also, carefully check that all your contact information is up-to-date before sending in a résumé—it’s always possible you’ve forgotten to change an old phone number or update your address.
Take advantage of your resources. Wright State’s Career Resource Center (334 Student Union) offers help with the creation of a résumé as well as other career documents.