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 freshman in college, building a resume that would be acceptable in the professional world can be a daunting task. Knowing what to include, what not to include, and even where to begin can be a struggle. You never know when you will have a job opportunity come up or when you might need a resume for a class assignment, so having one available is always a good option. Here are three tips for starting your resume as a freshman:
Start a document. This might sound obvious, but it truly is the first step in building a resume. We recommend just started with a blank document in Word or Google Docs. Creating a document and putting your personal information at the top is a great start. Information that is important to include is your name, email, and phone number. The rest of the sections of your resume, which typically include an objective, education, experience, and activities, can be difficult to navigate at first. To begin, it might be helpful to brainstorm. Think of all of the activities you are currently involved in, whether it be school, clubs, sports teams, jobs, etc. Make a list of all of these things and then when you feel your list is complete, separate them into the sections of your resume. Information on how to format these sections as well as what other information to include can be found in our Career Handbook.
Don’t Forget About High School A common misconception is that once you get to college, all of your high school achievements are irrelevant. When you begin your college career at UMD, you will not have had many opportunities to join clubs or get work experience to put on your resume. This is why including activities you were involved in previously is acceptable. Achievements like being salutatorian, valedictorian, student body president, or involved in clubs and organizations should especially be included. Some even list their high school in the Education section, which is a great idea when you have just started college and don’t yet have a GPA from UMD. Courses you have taken in high school can be included as well, especially College in the Schools (CIS), Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO), and Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Jobs you had while you were in high school can be included as well, especially if they are relevant to your objective.
Build and Update Once you have a resume created, you are not done. As you continue your years here at UMD, you will likely gain experiences that can be added to your resume. Updating your education after you have a GPA from UMD, for example, is one way to update your resume. Getting involved in organizations, clubs, sports, and jobs are other great ways to build your resume. Even courses you take can be included. Once you begin to explore more of these areas, add them to your resume. Remember, though, to remove information from your high school years as it becomes irrelevant (usually during sophomore year of college). If you are unsure how to get involved or need some guidance in building your resume, stop by Career & Internship Services (SCC 22) and a Peer Educator or Career Counselor can help you.
Resumes can be intimidating at first, but once you start working, it’s not so bad. If you need any help at all, check out our website, our Career Handbook, or stop by Solon Campus Center 22. We have students who will review your resume anytime and can also have professional staff review it. You do not need to have a resume completed to come in, either. At any point in the resume process, feel free to come in if you are seeking assistance.
Marketing is for everyone. Yes, you read that right. It does not matter whether you are a civil engineering student, or in the early childhood education program, it is important to recognize what you bring to the table when applying for jobs and internships. So often the idea of “selling/marketing yourself” comes with a negative, inauthentic connotation. I’m here today to bust that myth.
WHAT DOES MARKETING YOURSELF MEAN? Marketing yourself is the idea of identifying your niche. As a college student, it is vital to identify why employers should want you over another applicant. Marketing yourself means identifying your interests. For example, if you are interested in the outdoors, perhaps this could lead to sustainability. It also means looking at what skills you have and which you can improve upon. You might consider making a list of skills and how you can apply them to the workplace. Some example skills would include: public speaking, time management, organization, or teamwork.
CREATING A PERSONAL BRAND Creating a personal brand means understanding your strengths, values and most importantly, what you uniquely bring to the table that other candidates may not have. For example, if you are a political science major with interests in sustainability and values of inclusiveness and empathy, you can find ways to build these into your brand. The Career and Internship Services Office offers three different assessments that can help in finding your strengths and personality, as well as interests. Once you have the content for your personal brand, put it to life in your LinkedIn profile, Resume, Cover Letter, social media platforms and your life as a whole. If you live out your values and what makes you unique, it will shine through in your job search process.
MARKETING YOURSELF ON YOUR RESUME When crafting a resume it is important to realize your paid work experience is not the only relevant experience to highlight. Club positions and volunteer work can show ample amounts about who you are as a person. Consider putting your most relevant information, regardless of if it is paid work experience, at the top of your resume. Here is an example of a volunteer position resume section:
Tour Guide, Office of Admissions, UMD, Duluth, MN, Aug 2018 – Jan 2019
Promoted the benefits of campus to parents and students
Attended diversity training and display awareness during interactions with prospective students
Developed public speaking skills by speaking in front of groups ranging from 6 to 20 guests
This resume section, although unpaid, shows a passion for public speaking and an interest in promoting diversity.
MARKETING YOURSELF ON A COVER LETTER Crafting a cover letter is also a prime opportunity to market yourself. Take this opportunity to go above and beyond and showcase your personality. Try to find out the name of the person at the company that the letter should be addressed to. Describe your potential value to the employer. Do this in such a way that focuses on what sets you apart from other applicants. Maybe you were President of a college club that relates directly to the type of work you would be doing, or maybe growing up you always had a passion for the company you are applying at. These seemingly small concepts can help you go from an average job candidate to securing an interview.
MARKETING YOURSELF ON LINKEDIN The first step to marketing yourself on LinkedIn is to make sure that your profile is fully completed. That means the summary, education, experience, profile photo, and all other areas are polished. After this is complete, go on to engage. Share and like posts that are a good representation of yourself. Always post online like the CEO of your company is going to see the post.
When I came to campus in the fall of 2017, I knew I wanted to join Greek life. The benefits of joining are endless: service and philanthropic events, social events with other organizations, a sisterhood that lasts a lifetime and a home away from home. Although I gained all of these through joining Phi Sigma Sigma, I found that the professional development opportunities nearly outweigh the social ones.
It is believed that there are currently over 9 million Greek members across the nation (source). On top of this, the first female senator and first female astronaut were Greek. And additionally, 85% of Fortune 500 executives belonged to Greek life. It goes without saying that Greek members are making an impact well past their collegiate years. When considering this impact, there are three main hidden benefits of Greek life: professional network development, resume crafting, and a job interview.
Networking naturally occurs through Greek life in college, as all Greek organizations often have social events. Furthermore, individual chapters typically hold alumni events multiple times each year where active members are able to meet with previous ones. Although these are all great starting points, it is important to go beyond this. Consider checking out the LinkedIn profiles of alumni from your org. This is an incredible asset to find alumni who are working in your industry all over the world. A personalized LinkedIn invitation to connect can go a long way and show a lot about your character. One might consider conducting an informational interview with an alum. Oftentimes, Greek members from the same organization share similar values and traditions. This can be something to go off of when sparking up conversation. A few informational interview questions tailored to Greek life include:
How did your collegiate Greek life years help you get to where you are today?
What would you recommend I do in my time before graduation to expand my network and prepare my resume?
Are there any alumni or any other Greek members who you recommend I reach out to?
Resume building is the next advantage of Greek life. Think about starting an ongoing list of accomplishments you have had through your organization, both individually and as a group. Whether it be philanthropy, volunteer work, leadership, teamwork, or event planning, there are skills being developed every day that go unrecognized. An example for a leadership position on your resume could be as follows:
Public Relations Chair, Phi Sigma Sigma, Duluth, MN, Jan 2018 – Jan 2019
Wrote blog posts regarding informational and promotional events
Take photographs and post on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
Managed chapter website on the platform, Weebly, and ensured content was up to date
Designed graphics to be posted on social media and in print for events and fundraisers
The final way Greek life can aid in professional expansion is through a job interview. Answers to questions can often be pulled from leadership and learning experiences in Greek life. Here are a few examples of questions that could be applied to Greek experiences:
Tell me about a time that you had to work on a team
Tell me about a time you have had to use your time management skills
Tell me about the type of leader you are
Clearly, the benefits of being a Greek life member, go far beyond service and socials. Professional development can be found in all aspects of Greek life and it is time to start taking advantage of it today!
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 is the time of year when we all start quietly (or not so quietly) start panicking. Projects and papers are becoming due, final exams are on the horizon, and all the stress is starting to pile on. You know there’s something else you’re forgetting, but you’re not exactly sure what it is… Oh yeah, you still need to get a job/internship lined up! Just what you need, even more stress! Hopefully, these tips on improving your resume will make the job hunting process to a little more smoothly.
What is a resume? A resume is a document stating your qualifications for a certain position. If your application is a request for employment, then your resume is a crucial part of your support for why you should be employed. You want the resume to be comprehensive, but concise.
Each iteration of your resume should reflect the exact purpose that it is for, whether it be for a job fair or an application. It can be a quick statement of the purpose of the resume (ex. A full-time position at [Organization] as a(n) [position title]).
Name of school, where is it, degree name, year of graduation, major, minor, and GPA if greater than 3.0/4.0.
Once you have entered your junior year of undergrad, you will want to remove your high school information from your resume.
Education-related sections you can also include: Relevant Coursework, Honors, Research.
Like the education section, everything should be listed in reverse chronological order.
Include experiences that are relevant to the purpose.
The less applicable they are to the purpose, the more likely they should be removed or only take a minimal amount of space on the resume.
Volunteering experience is just as valuable as paid and academic experience. It matters what you did, not if you got paid for it or not.
Categorize your experience based on the purpose (Computer Science Experience, Engineering Experience, Healthcare Experience, etc.).
Each position should include 3-5 bullet points detailing what you did in that position.
Each bullet point should talk about a single aspect of your position.
Each bullet point should demonstrate how you already have the skills and qualities necessary for what you are seeking.
Each bullet point should start with an active verb.
You do not need to include a statement saying that you have references available upon request.
Clubs and activities are nice if they are relevant or you need to fill the page.
1” margins on the side; 0.5-1” margins on the top and bottom
10-12 point font; name should be about 2 points larger than the rest of the text.
Section headings can be bold and all-caps.
No lines. They can be confused as page breaks by some scanners and tracking systems. Use lines of white space instead to separate sections.
Stay away from templates. Adjusting the formatting can be troublesome in the long run. Plus, if we can spot a template from a mile away, imagine how easy it is for an employer.
Sections should flow from most important to least important.
The objective is always first, and education almost always follows.
Schools should be listed in reverse chronological order, with the school you currently attend or have most recently graduated from being first.
Name of degree, major, minor, and GPA all in bold.
Like the education section, everything should be listed in reverse chronological order.
Name of position, organization/company, location, timespan you were there.
Still need help? If you still need clarification on anything related to your resume, please do not hesitate to reach out for help. Career & Internship Services is located in the Wedge (SCC 22) and is open 8:00-4:30 Monday through Friday. During those hours, there is always at least one Peer Educator, such as myself, who would be more than happy to answer your questions.