Written by Victoria Bible
Victoria is a marketing intern at The Selling Factory and a sophomore at the University of Florida pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She is passionate about mass communications in business and having a positive outlook on life.
Ah… the dreaded resume. You either love it or hate it. I am one of those people that LOVES updating my resume. However, my friends in other majors know little about resumes and despise writing them.
Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case! Recruiters look at your resume for 6-8 seconds (I know, so sad), so a concise resume is essential.
Here are 8 tips for resume optimization to help you get that interview you deserve.
The resume template you have should reflect the tone of your industry. Keep your resume simple. Use a professional font (I like EB Garamond), black text, italics, and bold text to highlight positions and companies. However, if you’re applying for a creative position, like advertising or graphic design, use a creative or colorful template (I recommend ‘Canva’). However, don’t overdo it. When it comes to a resume, it is better to fit in rather than stand out.
Most people have their resumes formatted in chronological order, but that’s not necessary anymore. After listing education first, recruiters recommend formatting your experiences by relevance. Have the most important information at the top of your resume, regardless of date. You want the first experience to really shine and show the recruiter you’re the best fit for the role.
Drop your number 😉 – as well as email and LinkedIn. Include your contact information at the top of your resume, such as your name, phone number, and a professional email (not firstname.lastname@example.org). Double check your work, you don’t want to forget this information when applying for your dream role. Also, include a link to your LinkedIn page at the top. Make sure your LinkedIn page matches your resume; keep both up to date and aligned with each other.
When applying for a specific position, make sure to read the job description and note the skills and responsibilities listed. Implement these into your resume. For instance, if a job posting mentions “working in a team” or “reviewing financial reports,” list teamwork and analytical skills in your bullet points. Highlight how the skills learned from your past experiences connect to the skills they are seeking.
The bullets under each position on your resume are essential – they can make or break it. It is recommended you have between 3 to 5 bullets for each position. Make them concise, preferably each one sentence and one line long.
Start each of your bullets with past-tense, active language or power words, like “managed,” “coordinated,” “led,” “organized,” etc. Quantify your results too; numbers jump out at recruiters more than a bunch of words. Replace general terms like “several,” “team,” or “children” with a specific number for each.
Example of a good bullet: “Coordinated a team of 10 in the planning and budgeting of KPMG’s annual company retreat, strengthening internal relations and strategic planning skills.”
Many college students don’t have work experience relevant for their industry, and that’s okay! You can make any experience relevant with *transferable skills*. Think about the “irrelevant” job you had and the skills learned from that position. I’m sure the skills learned from that position include organization, time management, working under pressure, customer service, etc.
As an example, you were a cashier at a fast food restaurant. Did you just “work the cash register and talk to customers” all day? NO! You “Served 100+ customers daily while improving customer satisfaction and time management skills.” Also, “Trained five new cashiers to the franchise, strengthening leadership and organizational skills.”
At the bottom of your resume, include an “Additional Information” section to show off (you guessed it)… additional information to brag about you! In one line each, you could mention your key skills, certifications, membership in other organizations, scholarships or awards earned, and/or language skills.
Double check your work – grammar and spell check, as well as the file name check. Once you’ve finally finished your resume, make sure to read through as if you’re the recruiter seeing it for the first time. In addition, double check your work by copying your resume into a Word document or email. Microsoft may identify errors that Google didn’t. Also, make sure your formatting is consistent throughout your document, like headings and bold text.
Lastly, convert your resume into PDF format so that it is compatible with all recruiters and their programs. Also, name the file in relation to you, like “FirstLast-Resume.pdf.” Don’t do “Victoria Resume draft 1 for XYZ.pdf.”
If resumes are really new to you, follow these tips for resume optimization – speed round style. Make sure your resume is only one page long. If it’s cramped, adjust the page margins to 0.5-1 inches. After your freshman year in college, don’t include high school education or involvement, except for a job or volunteering. Only include your GPA if it’s above a 3.2. Lastly, don’t add any pictures of you, like a headshot.
If you implement these tips for resume optimization, say goodbye to the dreaded resume and hello to the perfect resume that shows off you.
Remember, your university has great resources for resume prep. At UF, make an appointment with your school’s advisor or the Career Connections Center in the Reitz Union. They are experts at resumes and can help look over yours and perfect it.
Although resumes can be daunting, once you build a solid draft the first time, it’s easy to update it in the future. Don’t forget the main purpose of this document – getting you that interview. A great resume is one step closer to your dream career!