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Five Quick Tips for a Successful Resume

Updated: Feb 28, 2021

When applying for any job, internship, or college, it’s good practice to compile your interests and qualifications in the form of a resume. Not looking to apply anywhere soon? A resume is still an important document to have, not only to post on a LinkedIn profile but also because any strong entrepreneur should look for opportunities at every turn. Here is a resume guide with a few tips for creating the most impressive and appropriate resume possible.

1. Summary or Objective.

It depends on what you are building a resume for, but usually, it helps to include a short one- to two-sentence summary at the beginning of your resume to provide context for your activities. Explain why you’ve participated in them and how your experiences will contribute to the position you’re applying for. This will communicate to whoever is reviewing your application that you understand who you are and why you are the right person for the position. An objective is similar but is further used to explain which industry or job area you’d like to explore in the new job you’re applying to.

2. Categorize appropriately.

Your resume should include information about your education, experience, and relevant interests. Your subcategories for skills and extracurriculars will show the person reviewing your application what you hold most valuable with regard to your skillset. For instance, if you want to emphasize that you are extremely passionate about journalism, create a category with your journalism experience and awards.

3. Understand what you are applying for and prioritize.

Your categories and the content within each category should be listed in an order that prioritizes your most important work or skills. If you spend 10 hours a week volunteering and it is a large part of your life, communicate that by listing it before an activity less important to you. Within each category, your biggest accomplishment or highest position should come before any minor one. Additionally, understand the priorities of the person employing or admitting you. When applying for a sports program, list your sports commitments and accomplishments before your other extracurriculars, and make sure to shift the emphasis on specific skills screened for by the job recruiter.

4. Content, not length.

A large misconception is that the longer the resume, the better. However this may not always be the case -- while it is important to include all of your work and contributions that you are proud of, not all of them may help when you are applying for a specific job. In fact, the universal best practice is that resumes do not exceed a page (one side of a sheet of paper) in length, and activities should be listed in bullet points as concisely as possible. Your biggest accomplishments or most important activities can easily be overlooked in an unnecessarily-long list. Also, especially for young applicants, a multiple-page resume can look unreliable because most students and young adults do not have the many years of work experience that constitute a long resume.

5. Have a common thread.

This can be highlighted in your summary; however, it should extend through the rest of your resume. Connect your categories in a way that shows your narrative and who you are. Corroborate the skills you universally apply to all your endeavors-- for example, if your prospective job position screens for candidates who have strong skills in communication, highlight instances of communication in every category of your resume. Additionally, many industry professionals often write a generic resume, then create variations of it for each specific position they apply to.

All in All...

There is no singular recipe for a “perfect” resume that will get you automatically accepted everywhere you apply. With your resume and the rest of your application, it is most important to be authentic and earnest. Figure out who you are, what your values are, and include activities that will demonstrate you. Faking an interest or passion will be obvious, so make sure you pursue what you love and show pride in your work. And remember: if a hiring team can’t hire you for you, then the job wouldn’t have been a good fit anyways!

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