Any career counselor, virtual or live, will tell you that resumés don’t get you the job; they get you the interview. So how is it that you make the best impression and market yourself in a way that is professional, succinct and impressive to your potential boss? The following are a few tips from CSU’s Career Center Web site and a counselor to answer that very question.
Interview with Pamela O’Grady, associate director of employment counseling
Q: What is one overarching piece of advice you would give people in regard to resumés?
A: One sort of broad example, your resumé is a marketing piece. People don’t necessarily have that big-picture view. If you were to look at marketing tools at businesses and what they were doing to catch people’s eye, you would find a format that’s clean and easy to read.
Additionally, it’s what makes you unique as an individual.
Q: What is the most common mistake people make when creating their resumé?
A: The main thing that I find that I need to work with students on — the most challenging — is putting down their accomplishments beneath their work experience.
When putting bullet points to explain their work experience, what individuals tend to do is put a job description summary there instead of accomplishment-oriented bullets of what they accomplished. They should address: What did I do, how did I do it, why did I do it and who benefited?
It’s really quantifying what they accomplished and what ended up being the end result.
Q: Should college students keep their resumés to one page in length, or can they go beyond that?
A: Commonly, we coach college graduates to try to keep it to one page; if it goes to a page and a quarter, it can really go to one page. When they go to a second page, it’s important to make sure the most important info is on the first page, but as someone progresses in their career, they can go onto a second page.
Q: Has the number of students needing help with their resumés increased since the economic downturn?
A: I would say that it has increased. I have seen more students and a lot more alumni that have already graduated who are coming back for help because it’s so hard to find a job in the market. They are so challenged by finding positions and are realizing that they need to be competitive.
Tips to make you stand out and make a good first impression with an interview:
Know the job description and tailor your resumé to a specific audience. Use buzzwords that the company uses in its company profile.
Don’t make your resumé two pages when it can all fit onto one, and don’t use acronyms or abbreviations.
Be specific. Don’t just say that you gave group presentations; say that you gave five presentations on topic x, y and z to groups ranging in size from 50 to 200 people.
Don’t discount your experience. List experience whether it was paid, unpaid, volunteer or for an internship. If you have skills from these particular experiences, make sure to list it.
Proofread your resumé.
And after you’ve proofread your material, have your friends and family take a second look. Errors could tell the company you’re applying to that you’re lazy or uninterested in making a good impression.
News Managing Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.