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Your resume is your unique way to influence a first impression, your way to “make it or break it” and your ticket to the elite opportunities in the future.
Think of it this way: your resume is your way to resonate. Your resume will reflect people’s immediate impressions of you.
However, it can sometimes be intimidating attempting to create a resume when you know that your future may depend on it. Additionally, it is very easy to make common mistakes while building your resume that could have been prevented with the knowledge of a few simple tips. With these tips, the daunting task of creating something that employers and other professionals will remember may not seem too impossible after all
Quantify, Quantify, Quantify
Your resume is your opportunity to show off and demonstrate mot just what you did, but how you made an impact. Include the accomplishments that clearly reveal that wherever you’ve been placed you’ve made a positive difference. Find a way to make them measurable by quantifying them. Employers won’t know the backstory and circumstances of your past experiences, quantifying them puts them in a context where they can more clearly measure your impact.
Start at the Top and to the Left
This is simple. People read a book starting from the top left and then read to the right and down. Employers and admissions officers are people too! They will start by reading your resume as they do anything, starting at the top left. Place your most important information and crucial experience there so that it gets recognized first.
White Space is your Friend
Don’t overdo it. Make sure there is a decent amount of white space on the page to not distract from the most important things. A resume with too much “stuff” on the page can distract reviewers from paying attention and noticing the most significant selling points. Give them space to breathe to easily navigate through your resume with sufficient white space!
Use Color and Creativity
Make yourself stand out! This is the field of communications and public relations. Design, creativity and presentation are important. To really impress, use Adobe InDesign, Illustrator or Canva to make your resume, do more than just a simple word document. Have fun with your resume while also keeping it organized. Be careful not to use more than 2-3 colors, as this also may distract from your valuable information. Make it you.
Organize your resume into sections to facilitate the reading of your resume. A section for “Relevant Experience” should always be placed first to show that valuable information to employers. Other sections can include volunteer and school experience, skills, and notable achievements.
NO Headshots (or any personal information, for that matter)
Let the employer or admissions officer judge who you are by the great qualities, skills and experience you have. After all, they’re looking for a person with substance. Unfortunately, placing your picture or too much personal information can cause the employer to make judgments regarding your age, race or gender.
Don’t List Off Responsibilities
This can be redundant. Employers are looking for people that can fix things. Show what you did to improve an organization!
Lying is obviously unethical and although it may make your resume look good at first glance, it always come back to bite you in the end. If you don’t have a lot of experience yet, that’s ok! Put what experience you do have and demonstrate your willingness to go out there and get more. It is always better to be honest.
Don’t Go Over a Page
Be concise. Employers will probably spend 30 seconds with your resume, if even that much. There is not time for more than one page of information. Plus, most of the information that you’d put on the second page isn’t nearly as valuable anyways. They’ll already be shifting through tons of resumes, don’t make them roll their eyes when they see an additional page that they’ll need to go through.
Don’t Have Typos or Grammatical Errors
Employers love individuals that are detail oriented and nothing proves that you are not like having typos and grammatical error in your resume. They make you seem negligent and lazy. The beauty is that it can be easily avoided. Simply proofread it yourself, run spell check and have several people proofread your resume. If you’re working in an Adobe product, use a word processor to type up your information and copy and paste it from there. This will save you from a lot of small errors.
These simple “do’s and don’t’s can truly make all the difference in your success.
Let your resume resonate!
Alisa Pierce grew up in Huntington Beach, California. She is currently a sophomore at BYU studying communications. She loves writing mostly because she loves expressing her emotions through words.