It is a daunting task to base your future on a single piece of paper. Imagine one careless error ending in that smelly kid from class landing an interview for your dream job. Read up on how perfect that resume and nab your dream job or internship.
“One of the most common mistakes is the university’s name because we do have a very lengthy formal name, ” said Leigh Anne Leist, senior assistant director of Career Services. “Some of these words might be left out. Make sure it is very apparent that you know where you are graduating from: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.” The official shortened name, Virginia Tech, is also acceptable.
Aside from making sure that everything is spelled correctly, what words you decide to put in your resume can also affect your chances.
“You do not want your resume too dense with words,” said Edward Weathers, a semi-retired English instructor at Tech. Weathers urging to develop a resume with a clean and easy to read design.
Because an employer spends a mere 15 to 20 seconds glancing at the content of a particular resume, Weathers recommends avoiding the cluttered look. Simply having a professional appearance can go a long way in producing an effective resume.
But whatever does get scanned in that short amount time must be pertinent because content is crucial. “Look at it from an employer’s point of view and put things that the employer would like to know,” Weathers said. “Avoid using unusual words. For example, don’t say ‘utilize’ if you can say ‘use.’”
The information needs to be concise, clear, accurate and direct. Employers look at many resumes. You want to pass your qualifications along as effeciently as possible.
The last stage of writing a resume — proofreading — is the most important element of preparing a resume because it is the last chance to catch mistakes.
“A nice rule of thumb that I tell students to do is to read the information backwards. Read it that way, and see if you can catch your own mistakes,” said Leist. “There are so many resumes that they are looking at. If people do not take the time to proofread correctly, it gives a bad message of what kind of employee you would be.”
Most of the time it helps to have someone else review your resume.
“I think that what is true is that it is nice to have another set of eyes to look at it, ” said Jennifer Lawrence, assistant director of the Writing Center. “Sometimes you are just not able to catch your own problems. I would suggest to students that want someone to look over their resume to go to the Writing Center and Career Services because they go over different things.”
The Writing Center, located in 340 Shanks Hall, is open to students, faculty and staff. “We help them go over their resumes and make sure they are clear in what they are trying to project to a possible future employer,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence emphasized, however, the Writing Center will not do the work of the student but rather guide them in their editing.
“We do not edit students’ papers. We help them edit their own papers,” Lawrence said.
Career Services is also a viable option for the student seeking resume advice. With walk-in advising open from noon to 3 p.m., career services offers one-on-one attention. The center is also available via appointment from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A good resume should be simply and effectively display your qualifications.
“We do not want people to remember our resume because it was so crazy-creative.” Leist said. “We want them to remember it because of the information that it includes.”