College of Business
Look at your resume. What do you see? Do you have the typical headings? Objective? Education? Experience? Leadership? Good. But, it is what goes in between those headings that really counts.
In career services, it is common for us to help students with resumes on a daily basis. This time of year brings job seekers to us with the hopes of creating the perfect resume. What is our goal for you and your resume? We want to assist you with a resume that includes all the “required” headings listed I’ve listed. Beyond that, we want to help you create a resume that stands out from others, accurately displays your skills, interests and abilities, shows your well-roundedness, and the ultimate goal - helps you get an interview.
Ask yourself this question: Do you feel confident enough in your resume that if you met with the employer of your dreams today, you would want to hand it to them? If your answer is ‘yes’ (typically not the response I get from job seekers) then you are in luck. If you are not confident, there are some strategies you can put in place right now to set you apart and feel confident about your resume.
Experience on your resume is important. Do you have related experience? Have you had an internship that relates to your major and area of interest? If not, I have some suggestions that you may consider. Volunteer somewhere! If you didn’t have an internship or job during college that relates to what you want to do – go out and find a company to which you can offer your skills and interests. I’ve heard many stories from successful people doing well in their fields who attribute their success to volunteer experiences. There are many organizations out there that would be eager to have a student work on the company website for several hours per week. Or look to a non-profit agency that could utilize your services in planning an event or contacting donors. The ideal place to look for a volunteer position may be in a smaller company that does not typically have a deep staff.
Do you have classroom projects on your resume? Think of all the time and energy you devoted on your own or in a team project for a class. These projects are ideal to include on your resume under a section entitled: ‘Related Projects’. Describe the purpose or goal of the project, what actions you took to complete it, and the results from the work. Include enough information on your resume about the project so the person reading it gains a true understanding of the work you did.
Are you involved? Join a student organization. Recruiters like to see well-rounded students with good grades, work experience, and involvement. Find a student organization that you can join, attend the meetings, and in turn learn more about that particular field. Student organizations provide vast opportunities, and there are over 200 different student groups from which to choose. Look for one that aligns with your interests. If you are new to the organization or your class schedule does not allow you to be in a leadership role – that is okay. Attend the meetings and get involved as your schedule allows. Easy ways to get involved can include helping to plan a meeting or designing flyers to promote the group. You don’t have to do something big to make an impact.
Computer skills are an area that can really set you apart from others. I’m sure you know how to use Microsoft Word and Excel, and possibly PowerPoint. I would encourage you to take a class or one day seminar and learn a new computer application. Additional technical skills will help add to your skill set and showcase your versatility. For example, I work with a lot of marketing students who are interested in the creative side of marketing. Learning Microsoft Publisher, Adobe Photoshop, InDesign or Illustrator can be an extremely beneficial skill sets to add to your repertoire. An easy way to identify a good computer skill to add is to search jobs you are interested in and find out what is required for computer skills.
These ideas I’ve shared can help you add more impact to your resume and help you stand apart in a positive way on a piece of paper. Now you just have to determine who will get your resume. Wouldn’t it be great if you felt so confident you would be willing to hand your resume to the employer of your dreams….RIGHT NOW?
Tammy Stegman is a Career Coordinator in the College of Business, Raisbeck Career Services Center, Iowa State University.
For More Information
For more information about netiquette in job seeking, please contact your specific career services office at Iowa State University. A list of each career services office can be found at: http://www.career.iastate.edu