With only eight more weeks until most of our final exams are done the end is in sight (…and about time too).
However, while we’re busy running for the finish line it might be easy to forget that there is life after April.
There are likely a few of you who will be lucky enough to get a proper break over the summer – relaxing, working on your tan and spending time hanging out with all your friends that you lost touch with throughout the year.
But if internships and summer employment are calling your name, now is just the beginning!
That’s right it’s hiring season. And with job fairs beginning and application dates soon closing it is important to make sure that you are completely prepared so you don’t end up spending your summer at the bottom of the barrel.
You might think that this is merely common sense but while most of us “know how to write a resume,” few of us really “KNOW” what is needed to make it really stand out.
When accepting applications, some employers will often end up looking through hundreds of applications and resumes each day so it is important that yours stands out.
Things your resume needs to do
Show that you are the best fit for the job
Convince them why that you should get an interview of someone else
Let them see a bit of your flair (this is often dependent on what sort of job your applying for)
Show that you can be concise (don’t use lots of long-winded, elaborate language) – any resume longer than two pages will often cause it to be overlooked as employers lose interest.
So after lots of research and experience learning from our own mistakes here are the main components that are key to a winning resume:
This is less appropriate for job fairs and more appropriate for internships. It should explain what your end goal is from sending out this resume/application.
This should be placed at the top of the page and should be one of the first things an employer sees, besides your name, so make sure that you say express yourself clearly to make them want to read on.
Make sure you change your objective for every application – this is job specific. (If you use a general objective this will make the reader think you are unfocused).
Keep it short and sweet.
A Brief Profile (optional)
This is a short set of points at the beginning of your resume that should give a very brief summary of what you are going to tell them later on.
Forget full sentences – make sure you cut out any words like “I am,” “I think,” etc.
Here is a great place to write down your major qualifications and best skills.
List any previous schooling or career accomplishments.
You can also put in here what your long-term goal is to show that you are driven e.g. to acquire a full-time job in the communications/accounting/marketing industry.
Relevant Skills and Accomplishments
Here you can emphasize your skill set that is appropriate to the job you are interested in – this is one of the most important areas where you can show that you have what it takes to succeed in this job.
It is important to include any training or special courses that you have taken that relate to the industry.
Make sure that you do mention specifics e.g. if you are talking about computer skills do not just say “ proficient at using Microsoft Office” instead tell them what you can do e.g. “proficient at creating and manipulating spreadsheets and databases.”
If you have had anything published or won an award based on your work this is also a good place to mention that.
Education and Training
Especially since most of you are at/recently graduated from university/college it is important to list your education.
It is generally a good idea to start with the first institution listed being your high school and the qualification you received there upon graduation e.g. high school diplomas.
You will also need to include the dates which you attended each institution.
Generally a good layout is like this:
- Qualification Received
- Location of Study
- Name of the Institution
- Date of Graduation
Work History/Employment History
So this is the part which most of you would generally associate with a resume as it is probably the most common element and is certainly required.
Here you will need to list approx. the last 5 jobs you have had (If you haven’t had that many yet just list what you can. If you have then you will need to put a limit on yourself).
It is important to say your job title, where you worked, the city/province/state that you were in and the dates of employment (month and year).
These should occur in reverse chronological order, with your most recent job being the first listing.
As well as including the job listings themselves you will also need to include a brief summary of what your duties were and what you learned from them (bear in mind this must be very concise as you can only have about five lines).
Once again you do not need to include full sentences – employers are not worried about your writing talent here, they merely want to know what you did and how that helped you.
Note: The duties that you include in this section can be tailored to the job that you are applying for.
Extra-curricular/Volunteer History (optional)
While this is an optional element if you do have space it is something I would recommend you try to include.
By including your volunteer history/appropriate hobbies you can emphasize how you endeavour to develop the preferred/required skills in your personal life as well as your work life.
I will say again however, that this is not a place for you to list everything that you are interested/involved in – remember you are addressing this to an employer so they are only interested in seeing the skills which are beneficial to the job.