Tips on building the perfect resume

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Photo Illustration by Emily DeShazer | Collegian

Spring time means that many college students are frantically doing research to find a summer internship or applying for summer or ‘real world’ jobs. The quality and professionalism of a resume can play a large part in students’ success in finding a job or internship, so it’s important to polish it before sending it out to potential employers.

“Sometimes there is a preferred style for resumes and if students are unaware of that style, they are missing out on that chance to succeed,” Mary Ellen Barkley, assistant director of the Career and Employment Services, said. “The Career and Employment Center can help students learn how to showcase their skills and build an effective resume.”

A resume is often one of the first things a potential employer will look at when deciding whether or not he or she is interested in an applicant, so it’s important to make it a positive representation of the applicant’s experiences and skills.

“It proves to your future employers that you have put in the time and work necessary to be productive at the job you are applying for,” Nick Lawson, junior in agribusiness, said.

While each industry has slightly different requirements and preferences, following a general set of guidelines can help students succeed in the internship and job seeking world.

Tip 1: Formatting

Regardless of the content, an employer does not have the time to sort through an unorganized mess of words. The information would be organized and easily accessible. Using logical formatting, making sure the margins are wide enough and the text is legible. Errors are an immediate red flag for employers, so multiple people should look over it.

Tip 2: Headings

Correct headings can help potential employers quickly understand what information is included in the resume. Common headings include education, research, previous employment, leadership experience, community service, honors and awards, and professional associations. Not all of these headings should be used in all resumes, so students should evaluate which ones work best for them. The most relevant or current experience should always be at the top.

Tip 3: Shaping a Resume

Every job is searching for a different set of skills and experiences, so students need to adjust what they include in their resume to fit the needs of the particular employer. Study the job description and pull “buzz” words into the resume to describe experiences, when possible. Students with particular skills or experiences requested in the job description should include those experiences prominently on the resume.

Tip 4: Be Specific

Describing experiences and skills in detail can help employers understand an applicant’s experiences; having too many general claims can be detrimental. A resume is supposed to sell an applicant’s skills and strengths rather than simply give a summary of all experiences. Include specific achievements and be confident when explaining them.

This aspect can be difficult for some students.

“The hardest part about writing a resume for me is trying to figure out what is important and what I can leave out. It’s challenging to decide what your employer will be looking for,” Tyler Bastian, sophomore in biology said.

Tip 5: Be Ready!

Students should keep resumes and other job or internship seeking materials updated. Job opportunities may come up unexpectedly, and it’s smart to be prepared.

The K-State Career and Employment Services host career fairs during the spring, as well as resume building workshops, free professional clothing give-aways, and other assistance. It is located in Holtz Hall on the K-State campus.

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