Fall is rolling in! As everyone scurries to prepare for all the exciting opportunities on the horizon, it’s time to gather all those important pieces of work and professional documents that represent you. If you’re just starting college, you might have never created a resume before. Worry not! Here are some very basic tips to consider when creating and fine-tuning a resume:
1) HAVE A RESUME!!!!!
Yes, as an arts student your job search is likely to be starkly different from that of a business student. If you’re reading this and you are one of those fortunate types who’s like “I’ve gotten soooooo many jobs and never used a resume” then great, read no further. Best practices though – have a resume. Even if you’re primarily utilizing a networking/word of mouth strategy to get gigs/money, having a resume that quickly sums up all the great stuff you’ve done will never, ever hurt you. What will hurt you is if an interested party you’ve been chatting with says “you sound great and everyone says you’re great. Let’s get coffee tomorrow, bring your resume” and you suddenly have 24 hours to come up with something that doesn’t look terrible. Don’t put yourself in a potentially embarrassing situation like that! Prepare for people caring that you at least have a resume.
2) Do. Not. Put. Your. High school. On. Your. Resume.
Please don’t do this. When students meet with me in person I am much more sensitive in communicating that point – “Your high school sounds great, but a potential employer will be much more interested in what you’re studying as a college student”. Nobody cares about your high school diploma or GPA. You can’t get to college without finishing high school, so your high school completion is assumed. Instead, replace it with information about Columbia – the name of the school, anticipated grad date, anticipated degree, and concentration if applicable. That’s it! Keep as much unnecessary information off the resume as possible. High school info is by far the most common offender.
3) Resumes are not online applications.
Don’t waste space by adding mailing addresses for your workplaces, university, or even for yourself (it’s not contact information anymore, so don’t list it as contact info). Why include something that can be easily Googled? Now that I think about it, why do online applications ask us to Google addresses for their own purposes? Ugh. That’s another headache. But take control over this annoyance and save yourself the time and space – no addresses on the resume.
4) Work with what you have.
Yes, you have to have done “something” to create a complete resume. But you’ll already have two of the three necessary components, education and contact info. If you’ve never had a job, provide any volunteering or activities that display your interests, accomplishments and skills. Speaking of skills, provide a skills section where you can mention any language, tech, media, even interpersonal skills you want to offer. Usually, I’m able to come up with nearly an entire page even for students with no job experience. Have faith!
5) Get another pair of eyes on it.
You could re-read your own writing and never, ever notice that you spelled something wrong or made a grammatical error. You want to perfect those English-y things for extremely obvious reasons before sending your resume out anywhere. Be vigilant about it!
If you’re one of those people who learns new stuff by watching online videos, check out my tutorial to see how to create a resume in Microsoft Word. And as always, stop by the Portfolio Center for any and all of your resume questions and concerns!