Tag Archives: resume

Resume Building

The first helpful piece of advice I received via the communication department was how to create a professional looking resume.  The first step is to look up examples of resumes other people have done by either looking at examples provided by the career center or doing an Internet search.  After reviewing several, look at the format of the different resumes and try to determine which you like best.  Or, you could mix and match different layouts and pick the parts you like best from a few like I did.

Once you have come up with the format of how you want to layout your information, you next want to decide on the design.  Make sure you use one easy to read font, and make sure the font size is large enough for the same reason.  You must also ensure the resume doesn’t look cluttered and contains enough white space.  You may want to use spot color to make the resume more eye catching, or if you are applying for creative jobs you may want to show off your design skills.

Keep in mind, however, that if you are not applying for a creative job or a business that would appreciate your design and creativity, it is best to keep a simple, professional looking layout.  Potential employers are more interested in something that is easy to read and lists your qualifications than something that looks eye-catching and creative; also, many “creative” resumes I’ve seen posted can get too busy or use small font that is more difficult to read.  If you do go the creative route, try to make sure to balance between professionalism and creativity – remember, in the end the most important thing is letting the reader know your qualifications.  Purdue’s online writing center has some great design tips along with links to other resume building advice if you would like a place to get basic ideas.

After you have finished your first draft for your resume, the next step is to let people read it.  Show it to friends, family, and professors in order to see if they spot any errors, give advice on how to structure it better, or let you know if any of the wording needs to be adjusted.  The next step after that is to bring it to a career center to have an adviser look at it, or to bring it to a resume building workshop or conference.  The more people that look at your resume and give you advice, the better product you will wind up with.  Keep in mind, however, that a lot of the advice will be the particular person’s personal preference.  If you do not agree with the advice, do not make the changes.  Hopefully, by the end of this process you will have a professional looking resume that will catch the eye of potential employers.

You will also want to follow a similar process to build a cover letter.  A cover letter should always be sent in with a resume, for you can use it to explain in more detail how your skills and experience can be a perfect fit for the position you are applying for.  You will want to keep your cover letter at one page, however, just like your resume.  While there may be many reasons you could provide for why you should get the job, the potential employer will be sorting through many other cover letters and resumes and may toss yours if they think it will take too long to read.  Remember, most of them have other work to do besides hiring new employees, and probably consider the hiring process secondary to their main job.  You do not want to take up too much of their time.


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Communication to the rescue!


In my last post, I discussed some of the difficulty I had during my junior and senior year trying to prepare for life after graduation.  I also mentioned how it wasn’t until I turned to my communication professors that I received the help I needed.  My next series of posts are going to talk specifically about the advice and help they gave me, while also going over how I utilized their advice.  You can also turn to my 10 Things posts in order to see other advice about the job search and grad school.

The upcoming topics I am going to cover are:

1. Resume building

2. Networking

3. Portfolio building

4. Internships

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The Real World: How to begin preparing for a career Out There while you’re still In Here

This post is dedicated to those like me that may not want to go to grad school right after graduation.  Maybe you want to work first to pay off your student loans.  Maybe you don’t want to teach and you’ve realized that if you go to grad school for English you’re pretty much going to get your Ph.D and become an English professor.  Whatever the reason, there are things you can do to prepare yourself for the job search while still working on your undergraduate degree.  I’m going to use tips from the PowerPoint and based on my own experience to hopefully help you get prepared for that job after graduation.

Tip # 1: Strategy

Try to figure out now what types of careers you are interested in.  You can use this post to get some ideas of possible job choices for English majors, but don’t limit yourself here.  There are lots of different ways you can use your English degree.

Tip #2: Experience

You should start gaining experience for your resume; experience is very important and can be just as useful (if not more so) than a degree.  Experience helps you gain skills to market yourself and also helps you gain contacts that can land you your job.

Ways that you can gain experience include writing or editing for your school’s literary magazine or newspaper.  I did both in high school and college since I knew I wanted a job related to writing and/or publishing.  You can also start a blog or send in articles to online or local newspapers or magazines.  If you’re interested in secretarial or office work then get position as a student worker for a departmental office.  See if the English department is hiring student workers to do desk work for them.  If you’re interested in law then try to get an internship at a law office.  There are lots of different avenues you can go to find ways to spruce up your resume.

Tip #3: Build your Resume

Make sure you get involved in different activities so you can gain skills that you can use to market yourself.  If you want to prove you have leadership capability, get a position as an officer in a club or run for a position in the SGA.  I was always involved in different clubs in college and usually wound up working as an officer since it meant I was more involved.  Learning a foreign language can be very important depending on the field you want to go into; Spanish can be useful if you live in an area with a large Hispanic population and French is used a lot in business.  If you want to do something related to foreign relations or study then you should definitely learn the language of the country you are interested in working in/with.

You can also learn special skills related to the field you are interested in.  For example, I learned how to use design programs such as Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator because I wanted to work in fields such as advertising and public relations where you have to design and create publications.  Knowing how to use Microsoft Office products such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel are also useful if you want a job in business.  Another important area you can focus on is community service.  Community service work for different organizations and non-profits is not only spiritually rewarding it can also lead to important contacts and experience for future jobs.

Now, the other important part of building your resume is good design.  If your resume is visually pleasing that can be the difference between your future boss actually looking at the document or throwing it in the discard pile.  You also want to make sure that there are no spelling or grammar errors on your resume; many times if a potential employer spots an error, that resume is going to be thrown away and forgotten.  Try to have as many eyes see your resume before sending it in – I had some of my professors help me build and proof mine because I wanted it to be the best it can be.  And remember, your resume is a living document – you will be constantly adding on to it and revising it as time progresses.  You want to make sure you tailor your resume for the job you are applying for.  I am going to provide an example of the resume I used to get my internship – I made sure I put information relevant to the job first and picked the clubs and activities I had been involved in at college that were relevant to the job on there.

Example Resume

If you want to read more job search tips, continue on to Part II.

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