Resume writing is a skill just about everyone will have to work on at some point, but if you’ve never had to create a resume before, it can be tough to know where to start! It’s often intimidating to try to recount all the experience you have, figure out formatting conventions, and sift through all the stuff that makes you, you so you can translate that into relevant job skills! Luckily, the staff at your Missoula student apartments (that’s us!) are taking some time to collect their top tips and pass them on to their residents!
Know someone in our community of student apartments in Missoula who could use some help crafting their resume? Make sure you share this article with them once you’re done reading! For now, set yourself up for success by reading through our top resume writing tips.
Look Through Lots of Examples
We’re about to give you a lot of great tips and recommendations, but seeing actual resume examples is going to help put all our advice into context. You can find plenty of resume examples online broken down by industry, type of position, and type of applicant (e.g. “resume examples for college students applying to web development internships”) and we recommend perusing a handful of them before you ever sit down to create your own resume.
Put the Most Relevant Info at the Top
Have a section at the top that summarizes some of your relevant experience, which might include coursework, volunteer work, jobs, and extracurriculars. Give a snapshot of the elements you most want to highlight on your resume and make sure it paints a picture of why you’d be a great fit for the particular job you’re applying for.
Order your resume from most to least relevant. A skills section near the top may be an efficient way to highlight some of the most relevant skills you’ve learned from your various experiences. Education details (e.g. degree and GPA) and Academic awards (e.g. Dean’s List and Honor Societies) are worth mentioning but may be better included toward the bottom. The exception to this is in cases where an employer is specifically looking to hire college students, or on internship applications where the employer may be expecting to hire a college student even if they don’t explicitly say so in the job description. In these cases, academic info may be worth mentioning nearer the top of your resume than usual.
Make Sure Your Resume Reflects the Job Description
You should create a resume master document that acts as a baseline for each position you apply to, but whenever you send in a resume as part of an application, create a version of your generic resume that resonates specifically with the position you’re applying for. Take note of keywords the job description uses, skills required, and qualities sought in an applicant and be sure to mention those throughout your resume, but especially near the top of the document.
This tactic serves two functions. First, many resumes go through scanning software before they ever make it to a hiring manager, and these programs scan for keywords to make sure your resume is indeed relevant to the job you’re applying for. Second, once your resume gets in front of a hiring manager, this person will be in the position of looking through dozens of applications, so you want to make sure you’ve made it easy for them to see at a glance that your application is worth taking a closer look at. If your resume doesn’t use keywords that the hiring manager is looking for, that person could easily overlook your potential, even if you would be a perfect fit for the position.
Keep It Concise
Resumes should typically be the length of one side of an 8”x11” page, and never more than a single page, front and back. If you’re struggling to fit everything into a single page, chances are you’re including a lot of irrelevant details that the person reviewing your resume won’t actually care about. The presence of irrelevant info also dilutes the focus on more relevant skills, which may get lost in the deluge of information you’re providing. Keep resumes short and sweet and hiring managers will find it that much easier to tell whether you’re worth reaching out to for a follow-up.
Use Active Verbs
When listing responsibilities for previous jobs, summarizing your skills, or discussing your achievements, use as many active verbs as possible. Make sure they’re descriptive, too, rather than vague. For example, “Scheduled and led weekly meetings of 15-20 members” is better than just listing “weekly meetings” or “held weekly meetings” as a responsibility. The more active verbs you can incorporate (without it sounding forced), the more you’ll give the impression that you are capable, hard-working, and experienced.
Quantify When Possible
In a similar vein, quantify your experience or achievements wherever possible. Sometimes you may not have the information required to quantify a job responsibility (e.g. you may not know how quickly you resolved tech issues on average when you worked at your tech support job), but when you do, it helps make your experience that much more concrete to the person reading your resume. When you can, quantify the hours of relevant coursework you took, the number of members in a club you led, or the number of participants in a study you conducted.
Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
We all make mistakes, but nothing suggests unprofessionalism and carelessness to an employer more quickly than typos in your application materials. Do your absolute best to proofread your resume and ensure that there are no spelling, grammar, or formatting errors. Read over it several times, have a friend read over it, and of course, run it through a spell check at some point before submitting it.
Are you submitting any resumes soon? We hope this post will help you craft the best resume you can for all future job applications! If you found this post helpful and you want to see future recommendations, tips, and features, go ahead and bookmark our blog page for easy access to future posts! Beyond that, be sure to follow us on Instagram so you aren’t missing any community updates, events, and special offers for residents of our student apartments in Missoula! Good luck out there, residents!