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Building Your Resume

As a senior approaching her last semester, thinking about resumes, cover letters and jobs is constantly on my mind. And I bet I’m not alone! Here are some tips and tricks on how to take your resume to the next level.

What Doesn’t Need to be Included?

Unless they’re achievements that can help with a specific job or career choice, awards or activities from high school do not need to be included on your resume. You certainly shouldn’t list everything you’ve ever done, ever. LCC’s Career and Employment Service Center note that a resume “is a quick advertisement of who you are. It’s a ‘snapshot’ of you with the intent of capturing and emphasizing interests and secure you an interview. It is not an autobiography.” Carthage’s own Career Services reminds us that “employers typically spend only six seconds reviewing a resume before deciding to take a deeper look.” In short: don’t overwhelm your reader. 

Related: 9 Things NOT To Put On Your Resume

Helpful Activities

If you were involved in clubs, sports, or greek life during college, some of the skills that you learned could be useful for your resume! Maggie Becker from WPI’s Career Development Center wrote some helpful tricks about incorporating greek life into a resume. One of the most important takeaways are the Greek Life Action Verbs. By using words like “budgeted,” “sponsored,” or “managed” you’re able to sell your skills and emphasize that you are a team player and involved in your community. 

Don’t Forget Special Skills

You may have skills that you wouldn’t think would be useful to put on a resume; however, including the types of computer programs like Microsoft Office or Adobe can be incredibly helpful. Carthage Career Services offer a helpful tip to attract recruiters: “use the job description to incorporate keywords into your resume. Focus on your transferable skills and how they relate to the position.”

Related: The Best Resume Ever: How to Write It

Make Sure it’s Chronological

This is important because it helps the employer follow your steps and understand you better. However, if you have gaps in your work history, frequently change jobs, or you’re looking to switch gears, a functional resume might work best for you. Author and headhunter Roberta Chinsky Matuson argues that however you decide to format your resume circles back to transferable skills. “It all comes down to how you package yourself. You can give employers the same information, only in a new and improved package. This is bound to get you more interviews, which will increase your chances of landing the job you want.”

Keep it Simple

It can be easy to think that you want to fully explain your duties in a specific job, but employers have absolutely NO time for that. Instead, keep your descriptions to one or two clear statements. Resumes are meant to open doors for you and help you sell yourself enough to be offered an interview. They’re not going to be the thing that gives you the job.

Remember that when it comes to your resume, it’s okay to ask for help. Take advantage of Career Services that might be offered to you and keep working on your resume. You’ll soon be able to land that perfect internship or job!

Ali Jagielo

Carthage '19

Ali is a senior at Carthage College majoring in English with a double minor in Communications and Public Relations. She is originally from Westmont, IL, but wishes to one day live in Chicago. She is a proud member of the Beta Lambda chapter of Chi Omega here at Carthage. When she is not working or in class, she loves to spend her time reading, watching Netflix, or going on adventures with her friends.
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