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Your résumé is your first introduction to a potential employer. It should efficiently and effectively demonstrate who you are, where you’ve been, and where you want to go. It is often your first opportunity to showcase your skills, experiences, accomplishments, and qualifications to a potential employer.
Start with a profile rather than an objective statement. The objective of a résumé is to obtain the job for which you are applying—and everyone knows that. Starting your résumé with an objective statement is boring and outdated and it doesn’t give the employer much information. Instead, start your résumé with a brief introduction and a summary of your relevant skills and strengths.
Every résumé should include your name, contact information, and education. Beyond that, include a combination of relevant work experience, coursework, class projects, specialized skills, and leadership roles. Any experience that will make you stand out to an employer should be listed.
When describing previous experiences, always start with a strong action verb and focus on specific accomplishments rather than a list of duties. This will demonstrate success in your previous roles.
Your résumé should constantly be evolving. The experiences you list should directly relate to skills the employer has identified as important in their job description. What you include in your résumé may change based on the specific position you are applying for.
It is always a good idea to include a cover letter when applying for jobs, even if it is listed as optional. Resumes and cover letters go hand-in-hand. They should work in tandem to secure interviews and, ultimately, job offers. Address your letter to a specific individual, and start by stating why you are writing. Explain how you heard about the company or specific opening, and why you are interested.
The body of your cover letter should showcase the most relevant experiences from your resume. This is a chance to get a little more in-depth and provide additional background information that you can’t fit on a resume. Relate your experience to the top two or three skills listed in the job description. Your goal is to clearly demonstrate to the employer how your experience has provided you with the skills they require.
Be Specific and Stay Focused
You should be picking up on a common theme—tailoring your resume and cover letter to specific employers and positions is a must. This may require additional work and research on your part, but it will pay off in the end. And remember, space on the page is limited! Stay focused and be as concise as possible. Every item you include should provide new, relevant information to the reader.
Have your Work Reviewed
Have questions about formatting? Having trouble deciding what information is most important? Not sure where to even start? We’re here to help! Your career advisor can help you review your resume and cover letter and create the best version to submit.