In my last post, I shared several tips and tricks to help you with the formatting of your resume. Today, I’ll be sharing tips and tricks related to the content of your resume.
Section Titles & Objective In my other blog post, FAQ’s: Resumes, I briefly mentioned how you can separate experiences. Experience doesn’t just have to be from work or volunteer, it can be anything such as student organizations, leadership positions, and more. If your activity experiences are more relevant than work and volunteer experiences, put more emphasis on those instead! Section titles can be anything from: related, sales, leadership, writing, general, additional, and more! Your resume is yours, so customize it to work in your favor.
Related Verbiage Go read my previous blog post where I went in depth with this tip to help you all understand and see how this is done!
Academics If you went through and added all relevant experiences but still don’t have enough to showcase your interest and skills in that objective/field, think about the work you have done for school. This can be upper division courses, projects, and research papers. Remember, resumes aren’t just about work (although it is important), it’s about you! Don’t leave things out because you weren’t paid for them.
Hopefully through all these tips and tricks you were able to learn more on how to refine and customize your resume to your liking as well as the employers. Feel free to stop in (SCC 22) to chat with the peer educators or pro staff about any of this or other related questions. Good luck!
As a Peer Educator, I see many different types of resume styles written by all kinds of students with various majors. In my short time in the office so far, I’ve learned some tips and tricks while training and also working with others that apply to many students. Today, I’m starting with a few simple formatting changes that will help give your resume a clean and professional look!
COMBINE DESCRIPTIONS There are many job description lines I’ve seen that could be combined. Here is an example:
Original Example: Sales Associate, Walgreens, Duluth, MN October 2018 – January 2019 • Picked up phone calls • Helped ring up customers • Walked on the floor to answer questions if asked
Updated Example: Sales Associate, Walgreens, Duluth, MN October 2018 – January 2019 • Assisted many customers through phone calls, checkout, and on floor assistance
As you can see, you saved up 2 lines already without having to delete anything! If you went through and combined more descriptions, you could have more space for other information that you feel is more relevant to the positions you’re applying to.
CONSISTENT AND SMALLER SPACING For this section, there are three things that should be at the top of your list to consider tweaking in order to save space: margins/bullet points, font size, and unrelated information. There isn’t much to explain for this besides actually showing you all how it’s done.
Margins/Bullet Points The top and bottom margins can be between 0.5” to 1.0” while the left and right should remain at 1.0” due to printing reasonings. That can be done through using the margins on Microsoft Word or the page setup on Google Doc.
Another thing related to the margins is the spacing between paragraphs. When using the spacing settings, always make sure to “Remove Spacing After Paragraphs.” If you don’t see that option, make sure the “Spacing After & Before Paragraphs” is set to “ZERO (0).”
Similar to the margins, the bullet point spacing allows you to save a bit of space without removing information. After you create your whole resume, you can use the “Ruler” to move it around. If you don’t have a ruler, here is how you could find it in Word:
In the above images, the little arrow marks can be moved around to what you want and change how the bullets will look. The top arrow moves just the bullet point, the bottom arrow moves just the text, and the rectangle under the bottom arrow moves the text and bullet point together. You won’t see a dramatic change but it could help you save a few lines if a word rolls over and takes up its own line.
Font Size This is something very simple! Your name can be from 12-14 pt font and you can have the rest of your resume be anywhere from 10-12 pt font so always double check it!
Unrelated Information Unrelated information can be anywhere from old high school information to skills. You might think, “Aren’t those all relevant?” In a sense, yes, but only to a certain extent.
If you are a junior or higher, remove high school information and add in more recent and relevant activities.
Soft skills (ex: Positivity, leadership, adaptability, etc) could be shown through your job description lines and doesn’t need its own section.
Using the Whole Page “Using the whole page” is another way of balancing your content throughout the whole space: top to bottom, left to the center to the right. It’s not necessarily a bad way of formatting, but if you want to save space, example two would be your go-to. Here are examples of the same content that uses the space differently:
These two examples have the same content, nothing is changed at all besides the way it is formatted. Look at how much space you could save!
Stay tuned for more resume tips and tricks related to content!
As a peer educator, we ask many questions to help students brainstorm ideas and descriptions to add onto their resumes but we also get a lot of questions asked too. Here are a few of the most common questions along with some tips & tricks:
What’s an objective statement? An objective statement helps the employer quickly understand what the resume is for. It’s a short statement that can be very simple. Here’s an example: “An internship in the Chemical Engineering field.” It gets to the point and clearly explains what you are looking for from them. The content on your resume should relate back to your objective.
Do I keep my high school information on there? What if it shows some of my involvement and skills? If you are a Junior or older, high school information should be removed (unless highly relevant to the position). Try to focus on what you have done while in college as it is more recent and more relevant. If you have space then feel free to add the information you want from high school, but if you’re going over one page, it’s okay to take it out.
What can I add onto my resume? Any type of experiences you would want to showcase: work, volunteer, travel, organizations, etc. Many believe your resume should only be work and volunteering but that is not the case at all. Yes, it is important to have those two experiences but to show what you do outside of ‘work’ allows employers to have a better understanding of you outside the workplace. If you’ve studied abroad it shows how you are willing to go and study another culture which portrays your communication skills with a different group of people in a new setting. You can add almost anything on your resume as long as you feel that it’s relevant and will help you stand out.
How do I fit everything on one page without deleting anything? First, check the formatting: Is it single spaced? Can you make the font size smaller? Have you changed the margin sizes?
Next, check the content: Can you merge descriptions together? Are there repeating descriptions for multiple experiences? Do you have something that isn’t too relevant and would not harm your resume if it was taken off?
One thing we recommend is to have a master resume where you keep EVERYTHING. Every experience, every line you would want to write about an experience, and so on. You can pull your content from your master resume onto a “polished” resume that is actually used for a job fair or applying for positions.
How will I get a job in the ________ field if I haven’t had any experience related to it yet? My #1 tip for this is to use the verbiage the field would use. What does that mean exactly? Well, here’s an example for someone looking for a full-time position in the medical field to help you better visualize it:
Original Version: Kitchen Staff, Olive Garden, Duluth, MN March 2018 – Present • Cleaned floors and tables • Trained to be safe and help others • Prepped ingredients for chef
Updated Version: Kitchen Staff, Olive Garden, Duluth, MN March 2018 – Present • Provided a clean, safe environment to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers by sanitizing equipment and checking food temperatures • Practiced first-aid and emergency skills in case of an accident • Learned food safety regulations in order to safely prepare ingredients
As you can see, the descriptions are the same but in the updated version it includes words that could be applied to the medical field even if the position does not relate as well.
Why can’t we have line breaks going across the page? Many, not all, employers are using scanners to help sort and organize resumes electronically. If there is a line break it could be read as a page break, causing your resume to be separated. To be safe, we recommend not to have lines even if they may look nice. White space also acts as a “line” separating sections.
How do I separate my experiences and know what and what not to keep? This is ultimately up to you! By having an objective section, you are able to have a “Related Experience” section as well as an “Additional Experience” section in case it may not relate but would show your skills. I’d recommend adding as much as you can and if you run out of space, slowly start removing the less relevant information.
There are still many questions that can’t be answered all in one blog post so if you still have remaining questions, stop by our office (SCC 22) anytime from 8 – 4:30PM, Mondays – Fridays. Our Career Handbook also has helpful directions, examples, and advice on how to write a resume. Stay tuned for my next blog post where I go more in-depth with the tips & tricks I mentioned here!
Now what? I’ve lived independently abroad, taken a deep-dive into an ocean of unfamiliar culture, and gone through a few challenges that have shaped my world-view. So, now what? What can I do to highlight this experience? HOW do I highlight this experience?
It may seem like an impossible feat to narrow your study abroad experience down into a tangible, easy to comprehend package, but it actually isn’t that hard!
The first step is the hardest – and takes the most time, but is necessary in order to process your thoughts, feelings, etc.
You need to REFLECT on your experience.
Some questions that may be useful to help you reflect are:
What are the top three lessons you learned while abroad?
What surprised you most while abroad?
What was your favorite memory?
What was something that was hard, different, or challenging?
Once you have reflected on your overall experience, consider how study abroad grew your skills, leadership, and career-related attributes.
Consider specific examples from your time abroad in which you expanded upon these skills:
Assertiveness, adaptability, critical thinking skills, flexibility, independence or self-reliance, patience, open-mindedness, problem-solving, self-confidence, initiative, perseverance, and time management
Once you’ve done this, it’s easy to narrow down your experience by putting it on your resume. This is a great way to highlight your abroad experience in a quick, accessible way. For example, you can list the institution where you studied and a few courses or projects you worked on underneath your education section:
The final step is to connect the dots by directly applying your study abroad experience to your potential career opportunities during an interview.
Q: What experience do you have working with people from backgrounds different than your own, and how do you think those experiences relate to the workplace?
Q: Can you tell me about a time you took a risk and it paid off?
These are two common questions individuals are asked during an interview that can relate to your study abroad experience. Make sure you find a way to talk about your study abroad and highlight it for others to see. Not only does this help you stand out as an applicant but it also helps others understand people and places who are different.
You’ve found an internship to apply to, now you need to polish up your resume and most likely, a cover letter. Writing resumes for internships are hard because you probably do not have a lot of experience, otherwise, you would not be applying for an internship position. But you still have to find a way to make yourself stand out from the other applicants who also do not have a lot of experience. Hopefully, these tips will help you land that internship you’re hoping for!
Make your academics section a focus.
This is not saying experience is not important, but since you do not have as much experience make your academics section stick out. Include courses you’ve taken or big projects you’ve worked on. Only put coursework you think the employer will find relevant, though.
Experience included can be paid or unpaid.
Think about the significance and relevance of each opportunity you have partaken in. If you put your part-time job working in the food industry on your resume because that is the work experience you have, go for it, but really think about the skills you gained from the job. Use action verbs to describe your experience. For example, you could say: Maintained and balanced friendly customer service in a fast pace environment. This shows that you have the ability to work in a time efficient manner while preserving good service. Jobs, where you were paid, are important experiences to include, but so are unpaid experiences like volunteering and/or leadership positions. Do not forget to include those too, they will help you stand out! Highlighting your on-campus student organization involvement and leadership can also add to your internship resume.
Read the internship description first. Read what the employers would expect from an intern and first of all, make sure you have the ability or willingness to learn what they would expect from you. The other reason you should read this before writing your resume is because it can give you an idea of the skill set they are looking for and then you can try to tie in those skills to your resume if you have them. This is another good tip for standing out because you will already have what they are looking for and then they might not have to spend as much time training you in.
Good luck on your internship search and hopefully these tips on how to write an internship resume will help you land the one you want! Remember, Career and Internship Services is more than happy to help look it over and give you further tips! Come to our resume drop-ins on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 2-4pm in SCC 22.
Looking for internships can be very stressful, especially if you are required to have one to graduate. There are many resources to help you find an internship at the Career & Internship Services office. If you have found a company or an organization that you are interested in and would like to work with, but you see that they do not have opportunities or postings for an internship, then it never hurts to send them a letter of inquiry. The worse thing they can say is no!
A letter of inquiry is a way for you to address a company that might not be advertising their job postings, but to possibly get your resume in front of a hiring manager for them to consider you. It could also lead to other doors opening, such as if that particular company is not hiring, but they might know and refer you to another one that is. It could also help you to just to get your name out there and network. Either way, here are some important tips to consider when writing your letter:
Say hello and address a specific person. If you cannot, use gender neutral name like Dear Human Resources Manager or Dear Hiring Manager.
If sending this letter in an email, choose your subject line wisely. This can catch their attention, but keep it professional.
Write your message like it will be read by the CEO of the company. You never know who will read your letter, so keep it classy.
Please proofread before sending it off! No one wants to read or even hire a person who does not know simple spelling or grammar.
Along with these guidelines that you ought to follow, you should also include these documents with your letter:
Cover Letter, most of the time the cover letter is combined with the actual letter of inquiry.
Within the Cover Letter include:
Why you are interested in this company
Why you would like to work for them
What your qualifications are
Express your appreciation to them for taking the time to consider you
And your contact information so they can get back in touch with you!
Hopefully with these helpful tips you can find an internship that will help you develop your professional career and open doors to new opportunities. You can also visit one of our career counselors in our office or GoldPASS for help. Good luck in your internship search!
After becoming knowledgeable with using the usajobs.gov website as a search engine and finding an appealing position in the first post of this series, it is time to create a strong resume with the Resume Builder. The resume you submit using USAJobs is your sales pitch to sell why you are the most qualified candidate for the position. Every job post will list the max number of characters you can use to communicate your worthiness. Some job applications allow up to 35,000 characters which equates to 250 Tweets! I will talk about ways to highlight your skills in each section of the resume.
Build a Resume
To create a resume on USAJobs sign into your account. On you “My Account” page click on the “Resumes” button on the left hand side. On the “Resumes” page click the “Build New Resume” and name it.
After naming your resume you will see that there are four sections in the resume; Experience, Education, References, and Other.
In the first section “Experience” you click the “Add Work Experience” button to describe previous jobs you have had or applicable positions you have held in the US Armed Forces. The best place to communicate your role during an experience is in the “Duties, Accomplishments, and Related Skills” section. You have 5000 characters (about 35 tweets) which you can use to tell a story about how you contributed to a project, demonstrated leadership in the workplace, or solved a challenging problem. I suggest first writing four sentences summarizing your work so a hiring manager can understand your duties in a quick glance. Below those four sentences I suggest diving into a narrative illustrating your work that a hiring manager may read if they want to see more detail in your position. Paint a picture so the reader can imagine things like- “What your work environment was like?”, “What sort of team of people were you collaborating with?”, “How did you go about problem solving?”, “How is your work significant and who was effected?” Don’t worry about using all 5000 characters, just know that you have plenty of space to strut your stuff.
In the “Education”section you click the “Add Education” button to add where you attended High School and share accredited Post Secondary Education. To check if your education is accredited click here. The “Relevant Coursework, Licensures, and Certifications” section is a great place to expand on what courses you have taken for your major, projects you have worked on in class you feel is relevant to your prospective job, or a senior design project. Share why your education is unique and why it makes you such a good candidate.
When you list a reference be sure that you are on good terms and have permission from the individual you list as a reference. This is a good opportunity to reconnect with folks from your previous experience and catch up. It would be kinda scary to get a call out of the blue from the government and be asked about a past co-worker. Click the “Add Reference” button to enter information about a reference.
The other section is the most powerful section where you can talk about any missing details from the previous sections. The “Additional Information” section is especially important because you can answer questions like, “I want to work for ____ agency because….”, “I am the most qualified candidate because…” or share a personal story that reflects your qualifications but didn’t fit in previous sections.
Throughout the resume you should include the desired qualifications listed in the posted position if they pertain to you. Some agencies use keyword search to select the first batch of candidates.
You may notice that instead of using the resume builder that on the Resume page you have an option of attaching a resume you made. Some agencies let you do that while others want you to use the Resume Builder so read through the position posting carefully.
When using the Resume Builder highlight your qualifications in the Experience, Education, and Other sections. Be sure to take advantage of the ample word count the Resume Builder and the positions allow. In the next post I will share what government opportunities are available to college students.
The experience section of a resume is typically the main attraction in a resume due to the experiences and skill sets that it showcases for an individual. Too many times do I see students fall prey to the belief that the “experience” section only involves work related positions or experiences and employment history. Well, I am here today to tell you that YOU CAN include non-work related experiences in your experience section. There are numerous possibilities to this, but I will only highlight a few today.
The first example of non-work related experience would be unpaid positions. This might sound a bit obvious as unpaid positions usually extend to unpaid internships. Internships can occur with many opportunistic companies, non-profit organizations, and governmental branches. Despite the position, the unpaid internship instills a sense of real work experience and gives the intern a chance to modify and polish skills that are necessary in the workforce for the future. Besides internships, there are not many unpaid positions out there available for students, but this brings up the flipside of the coin which will be covered in the next section.
Aside from unpaid internships, there are various opportunities for other positions where students can volunteer. Depending on the field one may choose to enter, volunteering experiences that can be enlisted as EXPERIENCE can range from a lab assistant, classroom aide or teacher’s assistant, or even graphic designer for a startup company. The point is, there are no strict rules indicating that the experience portion of the resume should only consist of paid work history. Depending on the field you are choosing to enter, these volunteering positions may bolster your resume as it showcases that you have dipped your feet into the water and have some experience in the intended career field. But in some instances, some students (like myself) may not have a clear idea of what career fields to choose yet and would not want to waste their time jumping from position to position. In the next section, I’ll cover one essential experience that would look fabulous on any type of resume.
Last but not least, leadership experience is one great concept to include under the “Experience” portion as it demonstrates various skills and qualities. From organization to teamwork or even just basic leadership, by showcasing the skill of leadership is very strong overall. For many students, leadership opportunities are typically unpaid positions for a club or student organization. By getting involved on campus and seizing these experiences, it can definitely bolster one’s resume and character. On a side note from all this, leadership experience in general is very effective and useful. Many times in interviews, employers will ask you a question pertaining to a specific scenario and how you dealt with it. A lot of these scenarios generally can come from experiences in leadership positions.
To finalize this post, I would like to leave off by saying that your experiences from anywhere and anytime all matter despite it actually being employment or not. Whether it be a summer internship, an ongoing volunteering position, or dedicated leadership position, it can all be applied and expressed within the resume. To fully showcase your set of skills and qualities is important in resumes and depending on how you sell yourself with your experiences you will be sure to land a job. As you begin to craft or polish your resume, don’t forget to include all the experiences throughout your life that helped propel you to where you are now.
You might have heard or considered copying and pasting your resume content directly to your LinkedIn profile account. Though this isn’t wrong to do, here are some reasons why you should avoid it. Today’s post derives from an interesting article I came across, 7 Ways Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile Should Differ by Arnie Fertig. Though there are seven specific points in the article that he makes, I want to summarize and highlight the main key ideas.
First off, a resume differs from a LinkedIn profile in the sense that it is a simplified document that highlights all of your key experiences. In addition to this, there are always limits as to how much one can include within a resume. A strong resume will be one or two full pages of content, excluding the references. Furthermore, the syntax and diction used in a resume are more formal and concise, and because of this the descriptions and details in a resume are more likely to be shorter.
A resume contrasts from a LinkedIn profile in many different ways in terms of style and etiquette. In resumes, the style of the document is very formal, objective, and let’s be honest, bland. On the other hand, a LinkedIn profile is more personable, free-flowing, and flexible. Arnie makes a great point by making the distinction of how resumes are submitted to recruiters and companies to be considered, whereas your LinkedIn account is searchable and can be looked by anyone at any given time.
As mentioned from the previous sections, the content between the two differ in various ways like style and limitations. The content of the resume is much more formal and thus is a bit more restricted in what can or cannot be said. In a resume, the objective is to describe the key tasks and points of your experiences in a concise manner. Whereas on LinkedIn, you can be more subjective and talk about your experiences from your own personal voice. The content information that you can include in a LinkedIn account is remarkable compared to a resume. Overall, you can do SO much more on LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows you to add media content such as presentations, web links, pictures, etc. to your list of experiences.
There aren’t any life lessons to be learned in today’s post, but if there’s one thing I would like to push for, it’s to explore LinkedIn! When time permits, venture and explore the wastelands of LinkedIn and see what’s out there. You never know, you might find gold sitting around just waiting to be discovered.
For those who aren’t familiar with GoldPASS, it is a career website owned by the University of Minnesota where employers can post job opportunities for U of M students and alumni. When you first use GoldPASS you are required to upload your resume before applying to positions. The University of Minnesota Duluth Career & Internship Services office will review the first resume you upload, if you are UMD student or alum. When your resume is being reviewed it has the potential of being Approved, Approved with Reservations, or Unapproved. The main reason for this approval process is not to dictate what resumes the office wants on the website. Our office cares deeply about providing students with the necessary tools to succeed. For this reason, the approval process is used to provide students with feedback and help increase their chances of being hired, as much as possible.
The following blog post will list the main reasons why a resume is either approved, approved with reservations, or unapproved on GoldPASS. If you are wondering why your resume received a certain rating or if you simply want to make your resume as professional as possible, then the following list will be extremely helpful.
*NOTE: Each resume is unique, and no one factor renders a resume “unapprovable,” but consider the guidelines below when submitting a resume.
Heading includes name, address, email, and phone
Education is in proper location for career stage
Proper length (generally 1 page, exceptions may be made for non-traditional students, teaching candidates, or graduate students)
Consistency in dates, dashes, spaces, alignment, bolding, etc.
Descriptive statements describing experiences; effective use of action verbs
Quality use of space; balance of text and white space
Proper formatting and order of information; easy to navigate and important information doesn’t seem hidden
Font is easy to read and consistent, not too small/large or decorative
Appropriate use of bolding and bullets
Format and content are appropriate for objective and/or major
APPROVED WITH RESERVATIONS
Resumes are typically given the rating of “Approved with Reservations” when there are 2-3 “red flags” from the list below, depending on the severity. The rating “Approved with Reservations” will still allow you to use your resume on GoldPASS, but it is highly recommended that some changes be made.
A resume will typically receive a rating of “Unapproved” if there are 3-4 “red flags” from the list below, depending on the severity.
Lack of clear format, nothing stands out, difficult to navigate
Font style or size makes it difficult to read
Difficult to find name or other contact information
Lines, colors, or other characters that get in the way of content
Paragraphs; essay format
Order of headings not appropriate for career stage
Order of other information incorrect (i.e. Position Title should be 1st)
Lots of high school (>2 yrs out), or other irrelevant information
Inconsistencies in dates, dashes, alignment, etc.
Lack of descriptive information, “key words”
Use of personal pronouns, “duties included” or “responsible for”
Use of incorrect wording, abbreviations, etc.
ANY misspelling, grammatical errors
Overall lack of professionalism
Hopefully this will give you some insight into the thought process that goes into each resume review. Keep working hard on that resume and good luck in the rest of your job search!