A well written, up-to-date and accurate resume is one of several invaluable tools at the core of a successful job search. The resume communicates your qualifications by summarizing your experience, education and skills, with the goal of eliciting an interview invitation or otherwise having a positive impact on its recipient. Your resume can be used to apply for advertised jobs, to send to employers you discover through research and networking, to submit for on-campus recruiting opportunities, to distribute while talking with recruiters at job fairs and employer information sessions, and to assist those who will provide you with a professional reference or recommendation by detailing your strengths. Your resume need not include everything you have ever done, but rather what is particularly salient to your desired career field. If your job search strategy is diverse and covers several careers or job types, you may wish to have several versions of your resume, with different levels of specificity in certain areas.
Employers report that they spend only a few moments looking over a resume to determine if you are an appropriate candidate to interview, or that they use keyword search tools to identify if a resume is suited to the job description. Therefore, to effectively communicate your qualifications, be concise and well organized in your writing and include key terms for your field or industry, so that the resume is easily readable, visually appealing and has the greatest potential to be found in a search.
While there are several traditional ways to organize information and key components you must include, the design of a resume is flexible. Regardless of format or style, the resume should be only one page in length for current students and recent graduates. Alumni with advanced degrees or substantial work experience may lengthen their resumes. To conform to a one page limit, you may adjust font styles/sizes and margins to accommodate your information, but be careful that the resume does not become too packed and cluttered.
Note that it is extremely important that you are completely truthful and honest when presenting information on your resume and all other job search materials. Employers will confirm your history with transcript and reference checks, typically just before making an offer.
The job search process has become more and more competitive in recent years and the resume is often the deciding factor as to whether an applicant will receive an interview. Don't leave it to chance, meet with a Career Counselor for assistance in developing a document that sells you best! Whether you are writing your first resume ever or simply need to make a few updates, we are here to guide you. Check out our Resume Tip Sheet as a resource.