Next Wednesday, November 9, is the University of Oregon’s annual Fall Career Fair. With this date creeping closer, and with my graduation date looming (December 8—eek!), I’ve been joining my fellow super seniors in the act of revamping my resume.
Never a particularly exciting task, it is important to keep several versions of your resume on hand and to constantly update them. The best way to do this, of course, is to pass your resume on to a knowledgeable pair of eyes in your particular field. As students, professors are a wonderful and easily accessible resource for this—as are recently graduated peers. (Shout out to those of you who have colored my resume with colorful corrections—you know who you are!)
I digress…anyway, the rapidly approaching career fair sparked the idea for me to post about some of the basic ins and outs of resume perfecting. So, here are a few tidbits that I have learned from anonymous editors:
- White space is important. When a recruiter receives a resume, he or she does not want to see an array of word vomit crammed into one page—space it out, play with the margins and spaces between headers and descriptions so that even if the resume is a full page in length, it does not feel like a chore to read.
- Use color only if it is relevant to the job description. I once had a fellow student show me her color-coordinated resume, stating that it set hers apart from others. Looking at my black-and-white resume, I asked a PR professor (who also runs her own agency) about adding some color, and she responded with this question: Are you applying for a creative position? Well, no, I am not applying for any particularly creative positions, so she suggested that I keep my resume clean and show creativity with color in other things—my portfolio, for example.
- Use descriptive verbs! The first word of each line of descriptions for a position should communicate action. For example, some words that were axed for me were: worked, drafted, learned, help—none of these were descriptive enough to captivate the skimming eye.
- Be personable. In the PR industry, professionals are not uptight (generally). Show some personality and transparency in your descriptions and layout.
- Keep a consistent font across the cover letter and the resume, and any reference contact information.
- That being said, the font does not have to be Times New Roman—play around with it; find a font that helps eliminate dangling words (one word that flows onto the next line—you need that extra space!). However, remember that Comic Sans MS is ALWAYS a no-no. Try Garamond, it is similar to Times but crunches the letters a bit and really helps with spacing.
With this long list of “Do’s”, here are a couple examples of what not to do with a resume:
Even though her resume stands out, Elle’s scent may not be pleasing to everyone. And the pink paper? For a legal position? Not extremely relevant. Entertaining and true to her character, though.
Lying is bad, especially on a resume. At least he can chug a gallon of milk in ten seconds!
I hope that these tips are as helpful to my small pool of readers as they were to me! Happy editing—and remember, if you’re a student at the University of Oregon don’t forget to attend the career fair next week!