Students are often worried about writing a resume, and it’s not uncommon to struggle with the task. But it doesn’t have to be intimidating if you understand the goal of your resume to generate interest and interviews…..
It doesn’t have to get you a job and it doesn’t need to cover your life history. It simply has to interest the interest of the reader and answer the only question he cares about: will this candidate add value to my company?
If you focus your resume on answering this question effectively, employers will be interested to meet with you. It really is that simple.
Of course, in order to demonstrate your value, you need to know what potential employers are looking for. Start by researching job postings that interest you. Look for frequently-mentioned requirements. Ask experienced professionals what they consider important when they make hiring decisions. Read professional publications and websites related to your target industry. Once you know what is important to employers you can create target your resume to address those issues.
Many students and recent graduates worry that they don’t have enough experience to create a compelling resume. Don’t be concerned. Once you start to really think about your background, you’ll be surprised at what you can talk about. The content of your resume will be determined by your own unique experiences, skills and background but—as a general guideline—you should include:
Positive personal characteristics
Technical and computer skills
Coursework relevant to your desired profession
Educational accomplishments (include your GPA if it’s over 3.0)
Skills and experience gained during internships or summer jobs
Other related accomplishments (design awards, recognition, winning competitions etc.)
Work History (include unpaid work if it relates to your target positions).
The key is to emphasize those things that demonstrate how you will add value and to leave out those things that don’t.
Many people are surprised to learn that resume design is just as important as content, but it’s absolutely true. Research suggests that your resume has less than 20 seconds to make the right impression, so it must be eye-catching and easy to read. To get ideas for layout and structure, go to the library and study the resume books specifically written for students. All contain examples of professionally-written resumes and will help you decide on the best approach. Don’t use one of the pre-loaded MS Word templates. There is no better way to make sure you look like everyone else!
As you work on your resume, bear in mind your reader’s basic concern: will this candidate add value? If you answer effectively by highlighting relevant skills, personal characteristics and accomplishments, your resume will open the right doors and generate interviews.