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Reviewing the Basics of a Resume

The quality of your resume can make or break whether you obtain that position you've been looking at. With that being said, it is important to understand some of the basics when it comes to crafting your resume. Rather than using an online template, structure your resume to ensure that it fits the role that you are applying for in order to display your knowledge, organization, and dedication. It is important to remember to read the job description at hand and to research the organization that you would like to work with prior to beginning to construct your application. This might determine whether the company that you are applying to will appreciate a more structured resume or a more creative resume. Take my recommendations with a grain of salt based on what may fit your needs.

Formatting Resumes

As a whole, your resume should be organized, consistent, and easy to comprehend. Your name should be the biggest word on the page and the most noticeable (followed by your contact information) to ensure that the employer can easily find it. Note that your headers should be set in a bit smaller font size, and your experiences and bullet points should follow in the smallest font size that you choose to use (which should be no smaller than a font size of eleven to assure legibility). However, this is negotiable based on how you may use bolded text, italics, or other options to help specific headers or lines on your resume to stand out. Confirm that everything can fit on one page (at least while you are still in college and not yet crafting a CV). In addition, everything on your resume should follow one or two font styles, depending on your preferences. However, the key here is consistency. If you use two different font styles, perhaps one font style can be saved for your headers while your bullet points can follow another font style. Consistency should also exist within the placement of elements on your resume. Most potential employees place everything to the left of their resume with the dates formatted to the right of the page (in reverse chronological order to emphasize what you are doing presently). This way, the dates of your experiences are easier to find by an employer. Each experience listed on your resume should have its corresponding location nearby, either under its title or next to it, and at least two bullet points should follow each experience for the sake of consistency and elaboration. 

Creating Headers

Some headers within a resume are more structured, such as those needed for your “education” and “skills” sections. However, there is some room for creativity when it comes to creating headers. For example, you can create a section in your resume with experiences directly related to the position that you are applying to by titling it “_________ experience” whether it be medical, marketing, or another area of expertise that you are showcasing. If you lack the relevant experience in the position, you can simply include a section titled “work experience” or “employment experience." Focus on tailoring those experiences that you do have in order to relate them to the role that you are applying for. You can use your bullet points to do this! In addition, you can include an “achievements” or “leadership experience” section (or an “involvement and achievements” section) based on your experiences. A “skills” section is recommended, but if you lack the room for a "skills" section in your resume, another option is to incorporate your hard skills within your bullet points. However, do not include skills that you do not feel comfortable with using on the job, such as a language that you only consider yourself to be a beginner in. If you do include the skill, the employer may assume that you are able to use it as an employee. Other skills to consider include using social media platforms, technological programs, or certifications.

Writing Bullet Points

Bullet points act as an opportunity to expand upon your experiences and relate them to the position at hand, but it is important to note that bullet points are not full sentences. You are welcome to add periods to each of your bullet points if that is your preference. When structuring your bullet points, you should aim to answer a few questions in a condensed format. What do or did you do within each of your experiences, how do or did you do it, and why do or did you do it? If possible, you should quantify these explanations of your experiences and incorporate the skills you earned through them. Do or did you manage a certain amount of people? Did you earn a certificate, reward, or skill in a specific program? Did you increase an organization's success in an area by a certain percentage? Bullet points can be tricky, but they give you a chance to express how your opportunities relate to the position that you are applying for and why they are valuable to you as an employee. In order to get this information across, always reread and rework your bullet points. Make sure that they are grammatically correct, utilizing the right tense (whether that be the past or present tense, depending on whether you are still in the position) and beginning with action verbs that will grab a recruiter's attention.

Even if you believe that your resume is ready to go, always have a friend, a professor, or a professional read it over before you hit that submit button on your application. You might miss something that someone else is able to catch. After all, you don’t know how many different people will be reviewing your resume, and you want to ensure that it will appeal to different sets of eyes.

Allyson is a junior at SU, studying Luxury Brand Marketing and Management. Outside of the classroom, she can be found writing articles, teaching ballet, watching anime, creating tik toks, and singing showtunes.
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