An effective resume is one that gets results. The purpose of a resume is to obtain an interview and ultimately to get the job or internship. All the effort spent on writing a good resume is worth it and the tips below will help you write a resume that gets results.
Be selective in the information you share on a resume and include only the details that are relevant to the employer and the position. Be concise and succinct in all descriptions and avoid the use pronouns and articles (a, an, the) whenever possible. Take a look at this resume template for ideas on what to include on your resume.
Choose a Format
The formatting of a resume is very important and provides the necessary information in a logical, easy to read sequence. The use of underlines, italics, bold, and all caps can guide the employer through the resume with ease. Consistency is key when developing a resume and helps make the information on the resume simple for employers to read.
How to Start
Start by including your personal information. The employer wants to know your name, address, phone number, and email address on the top of the first page of your resume. Personal information such as marital status, age, religion, and political affiliation are not included on a resume and are illegal questions for employers to ask.
An Objective is Optional
Including an objective or summary of qualifications is optional. An objective (optional) can immediately help identify the position to which you are applying. A Summary of Qualifications (optional) can offer a list of your skills and accomplishments right at the very beginning of your resume. You can also include why you are writing in the cover letter if the employer asks for one.
Learn How to Market Yourself
Be sure to first list the most relevant experiences related to the internship or job to which you are applying. You may entitle this section Relevant Experience, Business Experience, Leadership Experience, etc.
Maintain consistency in your resume by presenting your information in a logical consistent format utilizing boldface, italics, and capital letters to emphasize headings and important pieces of information. Avoid using several different type sets within the resume.
Action Verbs Are Important
Use action verbs to describe your responsibilities and accomplishments. Creating effective verb statements highlighting your skills and accomplishments will make your resume strong and create a favorable impression with employers.
By including only relevant information with just enough detail to demonstrate your skills, you will be illustrating your attention to details along with your ability to communicate and organize your thoughts.
Include Relevant Information
Include all relevant education, honors, degrees, and certifications. When applying for internships, "Education, Honors, and Awards" will usually go at the beginning of the resume and will move to the end once you have developed some professional experience. As a student, Education will be the first major category (after Objective or Summary if you include one), since student is your most recent full-time role.
White Space Is Important
Maintain white space. Try to keep margins to 1” all around the edges of the resume and include some spacing within the resume to give it a fresh, professional look. You want to create a resume that's easy to skim.
Prepare Several Resumes
Be prepared to change your resume based on the position in which you are applying. You may choose to change the information provided or you may just change the order in which you present the information.
Focus on the Employer or Position
Focus on the qualifications of the position and the needs of the employer. Each resume should be the result of researching the employer and reviewing the position description if possible. Be sure to include certifications, achievements, volunteer, internship, employment experiences as well as any special skills such as computer, foreign language, music, art, etc.
Keep It Short
Try to keep it to one page. For internships and entry level positions, one page is sufficient.
Once you have been in the workforce for ten years or more or if you have had extensive lab experiences or publications, two pages may be required. Be sure to put your name and page 2 at the top of the second page of the resume. Do not staple and avoid folding if possible. Use laser bond paper and you may select a matching #10 envelope or large 9" x 12" envelope.
Make Sure It Looks Good
Review the overall format and how the resume appears visually.
Once you have included all the information and have checked for consistency and formatting, take a good look at how the resume looks and if it is professional. The overall look and appeal of the resume will provide the employer with a lasting first impression of you as an applicant.
This is the time you will want to be a perfectionist. There is no room for grammatical and/or spelling errors in a resume. Set it down and come back to it, have someone critique it, do whatever is necessary to ensure that your document is absolutely perfect. You will not get a second chance to create a good impression if you send out a resume that includes errors.
Congratulations! You have prepared a resume you can be proud of. Every couple of years you will probably need to update the information on your resume, but the hard work is behind you.