Resumés serve as our first impression when applying to jobs. In the era of COVID-19, they may also serve as the initial handshake when an in-person meeting is off the table.
Looking for a job can already feel overwhelming. Hiring professionals advise tailoring each resumé and cover letter to every role, which translates to a lot of revising if you’re applying for multiple job openings.
Making sure your resume is updated, compelling and easy to digest is critical. Now’s the time to get yours in order.
If you don’t yet have a resumé, there are thousands of free templates online to choose from. All it takes to get started is finding a template, plugging in your information and really getting down to telling your story in bullet-point form.
Standard format for a resumé includes a professional summary, information about your education and a description of your work history. Some job seekers also choose to include a short list of relevant skills or citations for any published work.
Ready to update your resumé? Here are a few tips.
- Check your information. The first step to updating your resume is to make sure all your personal information is correct. It seems like an obvious place to start but sometimes, it’s overlooked. Recent grads, be sure to include your degree information on your resumé. For those who are nearing graduation yet, it is a good idea to include your degree information with a note that you are currently working toward its completion. That lets the hiring manager know to which area of specialty you would be best suited.
- Be thorough AND concise. Next, it’s important to be thorough and to paint a complete, thoughtful picture of your work and volunteer experience, but overwhelming the reader with multiple pages of job responsibilities and every volunteer opportunity you ever took part in is unnecessary. The hiring manager also probably doesn’t care to know about the art award you won in the sixth grade. Stick to recent experience and accomplishments, and edit your resume so that it can be navigated easily and quickly. Most hiring managers are not going to spend very long reading it—just over seven seconds, according to research!
- Ask for a second opinion. Think about how you can tighten your descriptions at the same time that you enhance the language used to describe your work experience and professional summary. If you feel like you’re getting stuck at any point, consider hiring a resumé writer or reach out to a professor or friend to have them look over yours. A second opinion can be invaluable! It can also be helpful to have a second set of eyes to catch any typos. For some hiring managers, a single typo is cause for a disqualification, so ensuring that you are presenting a clean copy of your work is crucial in making a good first impression.
- Do your research. Lastly, if you haven’t done so yet, put some thought into the type of work you hope to one day go into. What organizations do you admire? Are there any specific missions that resonate with you? Do you know any people who do the work you hope to do? If so, reach out to them and ask why they entered their field, what they enjoy about it, what they wish they’d known before starting their job and so forth. Putting thought into both the “what” and the “why” is important.
The best part? You’re not alone in any of this! Putting together a resumé and starting the job search is overwhelming, but where we hope to go, someone has already been—and more often than not, returned with a list of things they wish they had known or done differently. Fortunately, those individuals are generally happy to pass a bit of advice along to those of us who are still learning.
Trevecca’s Career Services team is always happy to help. For some helpful tips and tricks, visit https://www.trevecca.edu/offices-services/career-services.