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10 Tips for a Killer Resume

It’s time to talk about resumes. Whether we like it or not, they’re a major part of this adulting business that we have to start doing. It may seem like a daunting task, but have no fear! The University of Minnesota has amazing resources to help make your resume as beautiful and amazing as you are. Before you go use these resources to get your resume on fleek, do a little bit of preparation on your own with some of these simple, yet very important things to keep in mind while writing your resume.

Formatting your resume is uber important.

This is the one of the most important things you do with your resume. Make sure your formatting is set well before you even start typing. 

Make it easy to read.

This is pretty important as you probably already know and yet, it’s on this list for a reason! Some people get very carried away with trying to make their resume pretty and professional looking, but they forget that someone’s actually going to have to read it. Make sure that all of your amazing experience and skills don’t get overshadowed or lost in a too many words or not enough space or a weird font.

It should be short, sweet and to the point.

Your resume shouldn’t be longer than one page as a college student or recent graduate, and it should highlight the most recent and necessary information at the top for the job you’re applying for. The absolute maximum length is two pages, but don’t exceed that second page. This should be a quick glance. The interview is when you seal the deal and can really shine.

Keep it simple but a little creative.

The keyword here is little. You don’t want to come across as boring because you’re anything but boring, but don’t get overly creative on the design front. (Again, someone is going to have to actually read your resume.) Some ways to make your uniqueness shine through is choosing a different font besides Times New Roman or Arial that’s still easy to read. Don’t over complicate things with images or multiple fonts. Instead of switching up fonts, use caps or bold to separate headings. Pro Tip: Check out the resume templates on Canva, a free and super easy to use graphic design site!

Bullet points are your friend.

This isn’t the time to display your amazing paragraph writing skills. Definitely use bullet points.This’ll make your resume easier for your potential employer to read and encourage you to be concise. Now, as you breathe a sigh of relief, this doesn’t mean you can forget about the mechanics of writing just because of bullet points. Bullet points are actually a little more difficult because you have to condense information into 3-5 bullet points per section.

Your Resume Content

You can have the most beautiful resume in the world, but if you skimp out on the content within your resume, your chances of getting the job decreases immensely. Your content is the most important aspect of your resume.

Match the job description.

This is the time where you tailor your resume to the specific job you’re applying for. If it isn’t apart of the description or isn’t something you’ll need for this job, take it off your resume to make room for the important stuff. Remember you have limited space. Take certain keywords mentioned in the job description and include them in your resume as well. You’ll look exactly the person they need for the job.

Sometimes, less is more.

Keeping in mind that you only have one or maybe two pages to showcase how amazing you are, don’t put in everything that you’ve ever done. You might be an amazing award winning baker in four states, but if you’re applying for a marketing position, you probably don’t need to include that in your resume. Be strategic about what you include in your resume and include experience that is relevant to the position!

Don’t Lie.

Really. This is just not a good idea in any aspect of job searching. Your future employer will expect you to be able to perform and demonstrate those skills, and if you don’t have them, it could turn out badly. Just don’t do it. You’re awesome and have so much to offer to this potential employer, so there’s no need to fabricate any of your skills or experience.

They don’t need your demographic information.

There’s no need to include anything about your age, sex, race/ethnicity, religious affiliation, height, weight, shoe size, hair color or anything else that’s personal. It’s unnecessary. This also ensures that if there’s any biases on their part (and hopefully there isn’t), it won’t affect how they view your resume.

Use your .edu email.

Please don’t use the email that you created when your were thirteen like [email protected] or something like that. It’s not professional. Use your U of M email address. This way the employer also knows that you’re a college student or recent grad. But as you advance out of college, it might be time to create a new, more professional email address.


Spell and grammar check.

If you take anything away from this article, it should be this. As if this hasn’t been shoved down your throats enough as a college student, please, please, please spell check and grammar check your resume BEFORE you send it out. Like any final essay, this is extremely important. One little spelling mistake could ruin your chances. Employers want to know that you have good writing mechanics. Not only that, but it shows that you took the time to look over and edit your resume before sending off, showing that you care about the position. Have a friend or family member read it over for you.Take a deep breath! This may seem like a lot to remember, but I told you there were resources to help you in your quest for a perfect resume. At every college on this campus, there are career services at your beck and call. Make an appointment! They’ll look over your resume, offer edits and suggestions. If you get an interview, they’ll help you prepare for that as well. If you don’t really want to talk to anyone or you just need a quick check, look at their website for oodles of information and tips about resume building, including sample resumes and a full list of dos and don’ts. Don’t forget to also check out our Pinterest board, #Werk, for endless tips, tricks, and additional resources! 

Take advantage of these resources while you can! Follow this advice and your resume will help you climb the ladder into the professional world and make it easier for your job searching after college.

Robin is a junior at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities studying Professional Journalism, Studies of Cinema and Media Culture and Communications. She is a huge film, TV and musical theater buff (needless to say she spends too much time binge watching). She is an avid Couponer and money saver with hopes of becoming a Film Critic one day. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/robinrose44 or find her pieces on http://www.hercampus.com/school/minnesota
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