How to build the perfect resume

Selling yourself on paper is harder than it might sound

· July 1, 2014, 7:05 pm   ·  Updated July 2, 2014, 10:57 pm

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Ali Harwood | DP

A good resume should be concise, accurate and tailored to the prospective job.


You’ve got your summer internship and the great experiences that come along with it — but now it’s time to put that on paper. The Daily Pennsylvanian compiled some tips to help put yourself forward with a strong resume.

TARGET

A resume is not one-size-fits-all — it should highlight different skills and qualifications relevant to the job to which you are applying.

Senior Associate Director of Career Services, Barbara Hewitt, said that it is important to have a clear understanding of the position and broader industry of interest when developing a resume to effectively communicate qualifications for a specific job.

“In writing descriptions, applicants should quantify and show how what they did positively impacted the organization as opposed to just listing duties,” Hewitt said.

Christopher Dorman, patron services manager at the Annenberg Center for Performing Arts, echoed the importance of highlighting pertinent skills on a resume.

“I look for relevant skills more than specific experience,” he said. “If you can work with customers and be professional, it doesn’t matter to me whether or not you have worked in a theater before.”

FORMAT

Cutting out irrelevant information will also help keep your resume easy to read.

It’s common for employers to receive hundreds of applications for each opportunity. Consequentially, they won’t spend more than a minute on each one, Hewitt said.

“A cluttered document will simply not be read,” Hewitt said. “Applicants should make sure that their resumes have enough white space to make them easy to quickly skim and not be too crowded.”

As someone who hires staff on a regular basis, Dorman expressed his personal aversion to long, cluttered resumes.

“No hiring manager has time to review six page resumes — I’ve gotten those!” Dorman said. “All of the information should be pertinent to the job. It makes it harder to pick out relevant job experiences if there is a lot of non-related information crammed in there.”

To help save some space, leave out the objective section that is commonly at the top of a resume.

“Obviously the applicant wants to work here, that’s why they are applying,” Dorman said. “Plus, details about what interests them in the job and how it fits with their professional plans can be mentioned in the cover letter.”

BE TRUTHFUL

Accuracy, both in terms of factuality and proofreading, is essential in a resume. However, the truth is not limited to boring descriptions of your past jobs — it can work to your benefit to bring some life into your resume.

“Some personal detail that catches the eye can sometimes be useful. If you were a short order cook, or a Tiddlywinks champion or you collect something interesting, say so,” said Director of Career Services Patricia Rose. “That fact can provide a conversation starter. But don’t invent anything if you don’t have such an interest or experience.”

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