Ah, the resume. Within one page holds the key to your professional future, and along with it comes a lot of pressure to get it right. But don’t be intimidated! The art of resume creation is one that can easily be mastered.
I recently had the privilege of reviewing applicants for an open position here at Full Sail, and I was shocked – shocked! – at how many basic goof-ups I encountered. Certainly a majority of the population knew what not to do when applying for a job? I laughed, I cried, I deleted… and now I’m passing along a few key tips in hopes that at one person will be spared a visit to the Trash folder when applying for their dream gig.
1. Keep it simple.
A short concise resume is far more effective than a rambling multi-pager. One page is standard. If you’ve got lots of information, such as an impressive list of previous clients or stellar professional references, create separate documents and offer to provide as needed – but keep the resume to one snappy page.
2. Give it good guts.
As a graduating student, you may not have a lot of relevant work experience. That’s okay! Include your education, your skills/software experience, internships, and previous employment, even if its not relevant to your career. But make sure it’s for a decent amount of time – if you could only cut it in the world of professional car-washing or pizza-making for two months or so, it’s something your future bosses probably don’t need to know.
(Proofread again, and then have two other people proofread it for you.)
It doesn’t matter if you’re a master of the English language – typos and grammar snags happen to all of us. And when you look at something you wrote, you’re not going to see it the same way as a fresh set of eyes. Enlist a word-savvy friend or professor to give it a look.
4. Make it look nice.
From a visual perspective, you don’t want to muddle your resume down with six different fonts, pictures, and other bells and whistles. You want it to look sleek and professional, easy to read, with consistent spacing and formatting.
5. But stay professional.
It’s nice to have a cool-looking resume that stands out from the pack. But it doesn’t matter how snazzy and design-conscious your resume is if the content doesn’t stack up. Make sure you use clear, professional language that’s appropriate for the position. Being overly formal can be a turn-off to some companies, and being too casual can come off as rude or cocky.
6. Make sure your cover letter can cut it.
These days, it’s less important to have a separate document as your cover letter (unless you are physically sending over your reel or samples by mail), but at the very least, make sure that the email that comes with your resume is polite, clearly communicated, and relevant to the job.
It’s a good idea to write a practice letter to lay your key points out, but for the love of Gmail, personalize it for the position and company you’re applying for. It hurts companies’ feelings when you don’t (and it’s usually a deal-breaker).
7. Seek professional help.
If you’re a Full Sail student, lucky you! You’ve got a department of resume and career experts on hand to help you when things get heavy. Full Sail’s Career Development department is staffed with happy and willing experts who can tell you the dos and don’ts of resume creation specific to your industry. Make time to go and see them in Building 110 (or call 407.679.0100) and they can be your best help in writing a resume that works for you.
Got any additional resume or cover letter tips for your work-seeking peers? Shed some light in the comments.