Saturday, March 6, 2010
Your Job Search: Your Resume...Your Life
Resumes are a very personal thing, and everyone has an opinion on how they should look, read, sound, feel...take your pick.
My take on this is that your resume should reflect your life and times. It's about you.
What have you accomplished? Notice I didn't ask what you've done. To me, those are two very different concepts.
I've done a ton of stuff in my lifetime, most of which was irrelevant when it came to my job search. Fortunately, I've accomplished a boatload of stuff as well, things that made a difference for my employer...and things that a future employer can look at and say, "Hmm, I wonder if he can do that for me as well?"
I counsel my Communication students at Curry College as they prepare for "life after Curry" to put serious thought into their resumes...what they've accomplished during their time in college, what they've done that is relevant to the job that they are applying for, what skills they've picked up along the way.
Notice I haven't said anything about "format," though. Formatting, in my opinion, is a highly personal choice. There are a bazillion formats, and I firmly believe you should examine as many as possible and select one that you like...not just the first one that a well-meaning advisor shoves at you.
One thing that I am firm about, though, is that you need to state your objective at the top of your resume...underneath your name and contact information...why have you sent your resume to me? What are you looking for?
You may counter with "Well, I'm a communication major. Isn't it obvious what I'm looking for?" Do no assuming.
Next, unless you haven't done one blasted thing in the course of your college education... work/internships, volunteer activities, club or organization memberships...the next thing that should appear is your relevant work/internship/volunteer experience...the stuff that speaks to the job that you are applying for.
After this, "other experience." Summer jobs? Part-time non-communication related job(s) while in college? Put 'em here so that I can see the whole you.
Follow this up with your education information. A list of all the communication courses that you've taken is not necessary...these are things you've done. The fact that you made Dean's List or the Honors Society is...this is something you've accomplished.
Finally, close out with specific and relevant skills including specialized software that you're familiar with. I don't need to know that you can use Outlook or Microsoft Word. But I do want to know if you're familiar with Quark, InDesign, or some other graphic arts or desktop publishing software. Most likely I use the same software in my place of business, and the fact that you know how to use it is a plus.
One final thought. Whatever format (look) that you select for your resume should be mirrored in your cover letter, especially the way you place your name and contact info. The two pieces should be a matched set.
And now for the final final thought...proofread and/or have someone else proofread your resume for you. I can guarantee there's a typo hanging out in there somewhere. Find it!
If you've more-or-less followed the sequence of steps outlined above, your resume should be all set for its maiden voyage. And you are prepared to set out on the next stage of your life as a communication professional.