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Resume Remedy: Tips on How to Perfect Your Resume

During our time in college, especially as a student at Virginia Tech, we are told constantly how important our resumes are. Sometimes it can be difficult to discern all of the things we hear and filter out what is important. Seeing the crucial role resumes have in applying to jobs, it is important that you are creating your resume in a way that will catch the eye of recruiters. While the focus is on resumes, we will briefly touch on what a CV is and when they are typically preferred. This article will discuss the difference between a resume and a CV, give you some basic tips on what should be included in your resume, and bring your attention to common resume mistakes.

Difference Between a Resume and CV

Some of you may be asking, what is the difference between a resume and a curriculum vitae (CV). A resume is one page long and you typically do not want to go over that one page limit, whereas a CV is around two to three pages in length. CVs provide more insight of your academic and professional accomplishments, so they are more detailed. Curriculum vitaes, or CVs, are commonly used for academic or research positions, where resumes have a broader scope of what they can be used for. However, resumes are typically preferred for the business industry. Now that we have discussed the difference between a resume and a CV, we are now going to look at how to construct your resume.

Construction of a Resume

Your resume can utilize different formats depending on where you are applying to, but for our purposes, we are going to use Virginia Tech’s guidelines to help us get started. First we are going to discuss the content that should be included in your resume.

Resume Content

So, what do you need in your resume for it to look professional and to capture all of your accomplishments over your academic career? A good tip to organizing your sections is to list them from most important to least important. According to Virginia Tech’s career website, a typical order should be: Objective, Education, Skills, Experience, and Activities/Leadership.

An objective statement in your resume conveys what kind of work you are pursuing. You may not need to have it in your resume, but there are some instances where you may want one. Ask yourself this: am I making multiple versions of my resume based on where I am applying? If so, it will be useful to use objectives. Lastly, objectives are meant to be simple and concise, and it never hurts to include one.

As mentioned, there are many different sections that you can include in your resume, but one of the most important sections is your educational information. For example, you want to list your school and what major you are pursuing. You can also add your concentration. The next two items under the ‘Education’ section are your expected graduation date and your GPA. Now, in regards to listing your GPA, you may be thinking, in-major or overall? Typically your in-major GPA is higher than your overall, so if you do decide to put down your GPA, put your in-major GPA. Another great addition to your ‘Education’ section is to add any study abroad experiences! Companies love to hear about these programs and your takeaways from them. After listing your educational information, the next two sections should highlight any skills you have and work experience. Skills to list can range from technical skills such as experience with Visual Basic for Applications in Excel. If you have had a summer job for the past two years, list that under your work experience. After these two sections, your activities in college as well as any leadership positions you’ve held while in college are listed. Another great section you can add if you have room at the bottom, is ‘Project Experience.’ As Virginia Tech students we are provided with a plethora of opportunities to be project leaders whether that be for classes, internships, or research. Do not hesitate to list any that you felt were meaningful and those that may help you in your desired career field. For example, if you took a coding class and you worked in a group project, you can list that and describe what you accomplished.

These are some basic guidelines to help you get started on crafting your resume. Have your peers, teachers, and even parents review them and help you edit them! For more information regarding the contents of a resume, you can visit VT’s career and professional development website.

Resume Don’ts and Common Mistakes

Now that we have discussed the important contents in a resume, let’s talk about some common mistakes people make. The first one to discuss is one of my personal tips, and that is do not put your address on your resume. There are many templates that will have a section for this in your heading, but I would advise not to add it. If you have a LinkedIn account, you do not want your address on your resume for just anyone to see. This also applies to job fairs. You are handing out your resume to tons of people, and you just never know who will end up with it! Your name, phone number and email will suffice.

This may seem like a no brainer, but one of the most common mistakes on resumes are typos! Double and triple check to make sure you have not misspelled anything and utilize spell check. Another common mistake is making your resume too long. At this point in our academic and professional careers, resumes are not meant to be super detailed, so keep the length to one page! The last issue to discuss regarding resumes, is formatting. Your resume should be formatted the same way throughout, this means the same font, size, spacing between sections, and so on. Recruiters do not want to look at resumes that look disorganized and formatted strangely. Helpful hint: use the “Table” function in Word so that columns are set up correctly. Then, all there is left to do is to delete the borders and your resume will be perfectly formatted!

It can be stressful compiling your resume for the first time, especially considering the amount of resources out there that discuss how a resume should look. However, Virginia Tech offers numerous services at Smith Career Center which are helpful for things like this. For more information on resumes, visit Virginia Tech’s career and professional development website. By the end of your college career, there is no doubt that you will be a pro at typing up a resume.

By: Ashley Mattson

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