default article image

The Simplest Way to Land a Job

Tips on How to Make Your Resume Shine

default article imageAs any job applicant knows, one of the most important keys to obtaining a job, or even an interview, is an impressive resume. According to, “The average employer spends only 10 seconds looking at a resume, yet it is the only contact an applicant has with the potential employer.”

In life, people never get a second chance to make a first impression, and a resume is a person’s first impression to an employer. A resume that is anything shy of flawless can impact job prospects. Unfortunately, when it comes to a job search, there is no room for mistakes.

William Hill, Assistant Dean of Career Services, said, “A good resume clearly communicates the candidate’s career objective, skills, education, experience, and other information relevant to the job for which he or she is applying. Desired qualifications depend upon the employer, but most employers also look at GPAs and the general tone of the resume.”

As the job market becomes more competitive, a resume is all an applicant has to stand out among the many job seekers applying for the same position, according to

Years of hard work go into a resume, so applicants should put effort into ensuring that this document reflects years of life experiences.

“Students should start a resume as soon as they can, even as freshmen,” said Kathleen Kennedy, Director of Cooperative Education. “They should update it every semester.” It is important to have one on-hand for career fairs or other events.

Hill also recommends the beginning of a search for an internship as a good time for students to begin putting a resume together.

Putting together an effective resume and communicating all of one’s skills can be a daunting task, and people are encouraged to seek help when composing resumes in order to avoid excluding pertinent information.

It is not uncommon for applicants and candidates to overlook specific information or details of their qualifications that could aid in their job search.

Typically, extracurricular activities are viewed as the type of information that belongs on the resume of a high school student, but college students are encouraged to show their involvement to demonstrate how well-rounded they are. According to Hill, employers view extracurricular activities as evidence of community involvement and good people skills, and clubs and Greek organizations are good examples of that.

“Extracurricular activities that show responsibility and experience are great to put on a resume,” Kennedy said.

Internships, as well as unique academic opportunities can also take center stage on a resume. According to Hill, “it is also important to list study abroad on a resume, since only a small number of students get to do it, and it shows the student is open to new cultures.”

However, apart from the information listed on the resume, applicants must also keep in mind the importance of formatting and the avoidance of typographical errors.

“The most common mistake sstudents make are spelling and grammar errors; they also write information that is vague or ambiguous,” Hill said. “Students should be aware that the proper formatting contains simple, straight margins and a basic font such as Arial or Times New Roman.”

Another mistake students may make when putting together a resume is listing inappropriate information. Applicants should never list personal information such as age, religion, marital status, race, hobbies, or anything negative about a former employer. tells applicants to refrain from including in their resumes the reasons why they may have left their previous jobs. Whether the company was sold or the previous employer was an incompetent leader, people should avoid disclosing their reasons for leaving their previous places of employment.

A useful tool for those in search of some guidance about resumes, also lists 11 important points every applicant should check their resumes for before sending them, and above everything is honesty. Applicants should avoid changing dates of employment to cover up a period of unemployment. Once a background check is conducted, it will become clear to the employer that the applicant lied, wiping away any chance of being called in for an interview.

The website cites appearance as the first thing to look for. Printing a resume on cheap and flimsy paper does not give a good impression.

Job applicants should also be flexible in regards to the size of their resumes. If an applicant’s resume is worth going on to two pages, they should feel free to extend their resume to a second page. The common practice of reducing font size to such a small, unreadable font in order to fit everything on one page is unacceptable. On the other hand, a two page resume should not contain every job the applicant has ever had. Job seekers should stick to information and experiences most relevant to the specific job to which they are applying. also recommends including the most recent information and current experiences.

Applicants are encouraged to elaborate on their accomplishments and qualifications. Listing relevant information such as significant contributions to a previous company or employer, especially awards won, is an effective way to impress a potential employer.

On the other hand, if an applicant is applying for a position with little to no experience in that particular field, suggests using a “functional or skills-oriented format” instead of a chronological format for his or her resume. A skills-oriented format highlights an applicant’s strength and allows him or her to present relevant experiences and skills at the beginning of the resume.

When putting together a resume, there are many keys to creating an effective document that applicants should keep in mind.

The most important thing to note is that getting help and seeking the advice of a professional is the best way to avoid common resume mistakes that employers see all of the time, and there many resources out there waiting to be explored by job seekers, many of which are available right at the University in the Office of Career Services.

By planning a meeting with Hill or one of the other administrators in the office, students can have their resumes personally looked over and all adjustments can be made to their resume accordingly.

This way, students can see exactly what employers will be looking for when they step into their next job interview, resume in hand.