When applying for a job, one of the first things a potential employer looks at is your resume. They use this document to decide if it is worth their time to move forward with the application process and offer you an interview. The level of effort and detail that you put into your resume can be the difference between getting the job and never even being considered. One of the best ways to learn how to improve and enhance your resume is to attend a resume workshop such as Villanova’s ‘How to Write a Winning Resume’ hosted by the Career Center regularly.
I attended one such workshop, presented by Ms. Susanne Donovan, on November 7th. From this event, I learned how to properly structure a resume and what to include on a resume. Resumes should be one page, with one-half to one-inch margins, and be in a standard font such as Times New Roman. Resumes should begin with your name, followed by your address, phone number, email, and LinkedIn account link. Below that, it is recommended that you write a brief profile or summary describing how you will contribute to the company and what you want to gain from the position. If you do include this profile, make sure to edit it for each position you apply for, as they will most likely require different skill sets.
On average, recruiters only look at your resume for approximately 11-20 seconds, so it is imperative to put the most important information at the top and work down. As a college student, the top category of information should be education, followed by work experience, leadership and activities, and skills in that order. It is a good idea to use boldfacing, underlining, capitalization, and/or italics to separate the sections from the rest of the document. Within those categories, the information should be in reverse chronological order because your most recent accomplishments should be more impressive and relevant to the position you are applying for.
When writing a resume, it is important to be aware of the types of words you are using. You want to use action phrases such as designed or observed and strong verbs like addressed or coordinated to make your experiences stand out and sound more important. It is also a good idea to quantify your accomplishments by including specific numbers in your description. For example, instead of saying that you oversaw a research team, you should include the number of people that you managed. It is important to note that you should only do this if the number is impressive; if it was a small team of three people, then you would not want to specify this as it would diminish the significance of the experience. Finally, do not use first-person pronouns because they add length to a document that is being read in a short amount of time and will distract the recruiter, causing them to miss some of the important information.
Additional resume writing tips and multiple examples of quality resumes can be found on Villanova’s Career Center website https://www.villanova.edu/content/dam/villanova/careers/Guides/191029%20-%20Resume%20Writing%20Packet.pdf.