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For many students entering into the wide world of job finding, it can be hard to know what to do and what not to do when it comes to resumes, and to landing that dream job. There are tons of resources out there for those starting on this path, or even for those who want to perfect their methods. Whether you’re just now starting to get into job-finding, or you just want to improve your resume, here are some good Do’s and Don’ts for making sure that you will impress anyone who sees your application.
Make a personalized resume. Templates are not your friend. HR people and recruiters have seen all of the same templates a million times already. The goal when submitting your resume is to wow the person looking at your resume—and they won’t be wowed if they see the same empty, black and white document. Make a creative and colorful resume (that’s not too ostentatious), and make sure to send it in PDF format, so that no matter what programs your hiring manager uses, they can see your resume clearly without any issues.
Personalize your resume and cover letter for every job. You shouldn’t be sending out the same basic resume to every job posting you find. Make sure to include what you think the hiring manager would want to see. In fact, a great idea would be to even use key words from the job posting on your resume. That way, the hiring manager will see your profile and know you have exactly what it takes.
Include everything you’ve done well and what you’re proud of! Don’t just put your job descriptions; put experiences you’ve had there that you were proud of and did well. That way, you’re not just showing experience, you’re showing real examples of your talents. It can be incredibly helpful to have a running document of all of the cool things you’ve done. On the document, make sure to include not just jobs, but clubs, organizations, freelance work, volunteering, etc.
Put all of your extracurriculars (such as clubs and other organizations) in your resume! It shows the hiring manager that you’ve been involved, active, and passionate in your field—and even outside your field. An additional bonus might be that your hiring manager knows, or is part of a group you’re in, and that might give you that lift you need to land the job you’re applying for.
Stay connected. Finding jobs is all about shaking hands and networking. Make sure to include references on your resume to pleased clients or bosses in the past. Also, make sure to link your professional social media. If you have a professional LinkedIn or Twitter, that can be incredibly useful when hiring managers inevitably look you up to see if you’re the right material for the job. (Side note—make sure in all of your professional social media, you have a nice looking profile picture!)
Use a template. This is so important it’s worth saying twice. You want your resume to pop. You want to be memorable. If you don’t put effor into your cover letters and resumes, the hiring manager will notice.
Limit yourself to one page. Especially for those with more experience, this is not a bad thing. Hiring managers and HR people don’t want you to limit yourself. Include all of the awesome stuff that you know will impress them!
Use precise dates. Hiring managers don’t care about the exact day or even the exact month that you started a job. It can be much clearer and easy to read if you include the years you worked at a company.
Have an unprofessional email address or social media account linked to your resume. Always make sure everything is professional and easy to remember. This is a big turn away for folks looking to hire you—it’s an easy way to weed out who is and is not serious about the job.
Send mass emails or continuously bother the recruiter about if they’ve looked at your resume. This goes along with creating a personal application for every job: hiring managers will know if your email is super vague and says nothing about the company you’re applying for. Also, you don’t want to annoy the people who may hire you. If the hiring manager isn’t interested, they most likely won’t contact you. If they are, because your resume is amazing, they will let you know as soon as they can so they can bring you on board.
Kirby Assaf is currently a first year studying English at Simmons University in Boston. They are a writer, a poet, and a reader, but they mainly love to play video games. Kirby hopes to connect these two passions together, and wants to write for video games in the future.