As a young professional, I’ve come to realize the importance of a well-tailored resume. With thousands of job applicants out their vying for one position, you need to have a curriculum vitae that is fresh and stands out. I often see many people just downloading a template off the internet to use as a starting point, but many of them are old, and someone else is bound to have the same resume outline as you. Each section of a resume is important, so as you are creating yours, treat them as such.
To begin, a common mistake many make, from seasoned professionals to first-timers, is having an Objective section. It is a completely useless area, because it’s everything you’d basically have in your cover letter, just more compacted. Ditch it completely and you’ll be surprised at all the space that frees up for more important information. If your resume is looking bare due to a lack of experience, an Overview section can be okay, as long as it is creative and is tailored to your skills and abilities.
Another mistake I constantly see is putting the Education section above Experience. I’ve personally never had to hire someone, but if I did, I’d prefer to see someone who has experience in the industry rather than an industry-related degree. For example, let’s say two people applied for a PR-related job. The first one, a Political Science major, has had three PR and marketing internships. The other candidate, a PR major, has no experience at all. It is easy to see who should be chosen. Employers look for experience first, and then check to see if you have the educational requirement, so make it easy for them to see why you are the best choice.
Besides the required Education and Experience sections, the rest of the resume is free to be adjusted to your needs and wants. I love a Skills section, because many jobs have specific requirements for certain positions. Are you good with SEO and HTML? Speak another language? Be proud and write it down. Whatever industry you would like to get into, whether it is journalism or education, it is also a good idea to join a professional organization. If you are an aspiring journalist, and you are a member of The Society for Professional Journalists , make sure to include that in your resume. It not only shows that you took the initiative to join the group in the first place, but that you take the time out of your busy schedule to seek out ways to develop your skillset.
Last but not least, if you have references- put them on your resume! If you don’t have any that is fine too, but please do not put the cringe-worthy, “References available upon request.” It is tacky and when you really think about it- completely pointless. I am not a professional resume writer by any means, though I like to dream I will be one day, but my resume has gotten me tons of interviews and offers, so I figured I’d pass on my tips. Remember, your resume is only one of the many factors that will get you an interview or offer, but it is an extremely important one nonetheless.