Eyes on Your Resume: 4 Quick Tips for Refining Your Resume

“Traditional”, “Creative”, “Unique” Only one page, too much text, not enough detail, and on and on…

I’m going to take a wild guess and say that you’re probably not giving your resume enough credit. Don’t get me wrong, if it’s been a while since you’ve updated it, there’s work to be done, but going into revision will make the process far more painless if you look review your attributes, talents and experiences first. Helping you get it polished and ready for an employer? That’s where we come in.

Throughout the course of your career you’re going to get plenty of feedback on your resume. Some folks will share similar points of view while others will have totally conflicting advice.  While opinions are going to be all over the map, there are some rules to hold fast to as you prepare your resume for internship and job applications.

Know Your Options

For some of you, you may have experience in film, writing, research, analytics, but you may also be interested in higher education and want to teach. For others, you have lots of experience from your past life, i.e., last career track, but now have more experience, a lot of which overlaps with previous jobs. Remember that not all of your experiences have to go on one resume. Plenty of people have more than one version of their resume, both in style and content. It’s all about tailoring it to the position. You can have one resume where you use color or symbols, perhaps a design you created. You can also have a version that is more on the, as we say “old school” traditional black and white.  In both cases remember that the resume that gets more attention is focused and succinct. This also frees you up from having to market everything all at once.

Know The Employer

When looking over internship and job descriptions, now is the time to consider your audience. Like you would for any paper, project or presentation: do as much research as possible. How do they describe themselves? Did you get to go on a site visit with career services? If so, what was the environment and culture like? The language that you choose for your resume is important in that it reflects your knowledge about the work you want. No one is expecting you to have ten relevant internships, but they do want to see that you’ve prioritized work that speaks to what they’re looking for in a candidate.

Know When to Stop

Spellcheck is done, grammar is done, reformatting is one, additions are…done! Like any project, you have to know when it’s time to say “Ok, this is complete, it’s ready to go.” The process of resume revising can be stressful but don’t agonize so much that you miss a deadline! Besides, once you’re ready to apply for your next gig it’ll be there, ready for it’s next reboot.

Know Your Value

Let’s not forget your presence off paper. By the time you’ve entered your graduate program, it’s expected that your LinkedIn profile, sites, blogs, and any social media pages have started to reflect your brand. We’re still a work in progress, but do spend some time visiting and revisiting what you’ve written about yourself. Are you sending a consistent message? Is it polished? Has anyone else (peers, faculty, career services) weighed in on how you present yourself? Remember that as you work on on your professional identity there are plenty of folks that can offer an objective lens. The resume is the beginning, but there’s more to the story.

Speaking of which…

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By Jessica Chance
Jessica Chance Assistant Director, Liaison to Alumni and Graduate Students Jessica Chance