Organizational involvement, skills, professional experiences, achievements… The list goes on and on. I know, it’s stressful to keep up with your professional work all while trying to stay on top of your schoolwork at the same time. But, one must do it. What’s worse than coming across a perfect internship opportunity–or a real job offer, getting really excited for it, and then realizing you have nothing to show off your abilities and talent with? (Actually, to be honest my hunger at the moment might be worse…) Okay, the real question I should ask is: How does one get their resume noticed?
Here are a few tips that I have learned:
- Ditch inappropriate email addresses. Sorry to break your heart, but email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org will not help you land your dream internship. You don’t exactly have to get rid of it (save it for receiving coupons or those unimportant newsletters), but you should definitely create a new, professional email address that includes your first and last name.
- Listing vs. Describing. It’s obvious that anyone can easily list off what one did at a previous internship or job, but not many actually take the time to describe what they did. More importantly, did you help the company succeed in anything? Did the company benefit from having you as an employee? Hey, even if you simply helped increased their Twitter followers, it’s something! A small improvement is better than no improvement.
“[Your resume] is one of your first opportunities, and can potentially be your only opportunity, to show me that you are a thinker. That you are going to think about what you put on your resume, and you’re not just going to send it off,” said Brittany Aguilar, associate at Pulse Point Group, a management and digital consulting firm, at yesterday’s UT PRSSA Longhorn Networking.
- Be Clear and Concise- For all any employer might know, your email could have landed in their inbox because you are trying to sell them something. Be sure to include your name and purpose within the first sentence of the email along with an attached copy of your resume and cover letter! Also, find a catchy-professional (but not cheesy) subject title to get their attention. I mean… Do you really want to get sent straight to their junk mail or trash?
- Make It Personal- Do not use “To whom it may concern” if you truly don’t have to! Everyone likes to be acknowledged, so use the employers name to make it seem more personal. Also, double check (or triple, as I like to do) to see that you have made no mistakes in getting their name right. Who likes to have their named misspelled? With this being one of the first things they see, you do not want to make a bad first impression. They will recognize the fact that you took the time to know who you’re sending your information to.
- Save It As a PDF- Isn’t it annoying when you have your resume—or any document in general—perfectly aligned and then as soon as you send it off to someone it’s no longer the same!?
The answer is yes.Remember that not everyone has the same computer or word processor as you. When you save your resume as a PDF, what you see is what you get.
- Use Your Resources-As a college student, one must try their best to take advantage of the free resources your campus offers– especially at UT! They’re endless. Last fall, I went to the College of Communication Career Services office and had an advisor look at my resume before I sent it off with my application to my current internship. I handed it over to her and we sat down to talk about this new opportunity coming my way. We chatted over pastries and tea as if we were BFF’s (okay just kidding, more like free stickers and pens) and laughed about the ridiculous, irrelevant information I had. Thankfully, I walked out with a new and improved resume. It was magic! She also sent me home with my very own Resume Writing Guide. For my fellow Longhorns, you can download it here. You’re welcome.
- Details- Don’t go too in depth when describing points, you are better off explaining them in the interview! If you try telling your whole life story on your one-page resume, you are pretty much setting yourself up for failure.
Even though perfecting your resume will be a never-ending task (because as the proactive individual that you are, you will constantly be improving and adding things to it… At least you should be), remember what’s really important and always stay professional.