Jessica Goldman
Graphic Designer

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I have to create that many resumes?

Unfortunately, yes. With so many of my friends (and me) hunting for jobs, I've learned that you it is so important to do so and you're more likely to land an interview. I'm no expert, but I've kept a file in my brain of all of the tips and tricks I've acquired from others over the years and compiled them into this nifty list. Hopefully these resume tips can help!

It is tempting (and a lot easier) to just submit the same resume to each job you apply for. Yet, even if the jobs you are applying for all seem similar or all are in the same industry, I've learned that it is not smart to do so. Each job will have specific requirements or job duties, and something you've done could totally apply. And major companies have resume filters that only pick the resumes with key words they want. Whoa.

While it is tedious, tailoring your resume to each job and re-reading the job description can better your chances of not just getting hired but at least getting closer to the top of the resume pile. Oftentimes, college is a place where we had plenty of experiences and tried out a bunch of different things to see what we liked and didn't like. But some of those experiences may not relate to the job your applying for, and it may be best to leave them out.

The Basics

1. Target your resume for the job you are applying for, and read the job description carefully. If the job specifically mentions leadership or management experience, list your most significant leadership roles on your resume, even if you were a camp counselor or were the president of a club. These things may get left of resumes for lack of space, but should be added in a circumstance like this.

2. Like the above, take things off of your resume that don't apply at all to the job you are applying for. If you have design experience, but the job doesn't mention anything about design in the description, take off any internships or work experiences you may have where you solely designed.

3. Add descriptions (but keep them short and sweet) to each work experience, and use action words that describe how you made an impact in that job. Don't just state what your job duties were, but state the impact you made while working there. Did you increase social media impressions? Blog views? Internal communication systems? Whatever it is, include it and add impressive numbers where applicable.

4. Focus on ensuring that employers see your work experience first, then your skill set, then your education. You want them to see what your most recent job experience is and your title first because it will make the biggest impact on whether they decide to read your resume further. 

5. Don't include skills you don't want to ever use. If you really just don't want to ever work with HTML and CSS ever again, don't say you can do it if the job doesn't require it. When employers see that you have certain skills, they may want to hire you because of them, and ask you to do a lot of work that requires those skills because you are the only one in the company who can. And you don't want to pigeonhole yourself.

6. Pay attention to detail: every detail matters, trust me. And proofread, of course.

More Advanced

In this day in age, it is harder and harder to get jobs (not that they aren't out there, but that we are fighting for them with other eager beaver recent college grads who have either the same or better work experience.) So even if you are not applying to a job that requires design skills, showing that you have an eye for what looks good and put in the effort to make yourself stand out is super beneficial. Some ideas:

1. Change up the font. Everyone uses Times New Roman or Cambria, but if you can stand out by using another font, like Avenir or Gill Sans (Google Web Fonts has so many good ones.) A new font can make a heck of a difference. Tip: using system fonts make it readable on any computer if you send it as a word doc, and editable from anywhere. But it's best to always send your resume as a PDF ;)

2. Split your resume into columns. It may not work well using equal distance columns, but having a skinny one on the left and a thicker one on the right can help highlight your experience on the right and including things like website, skills, and education on the left.

3. Add some color. Don't go crazy, and stick to using black for body copy. But putting your name, even headers, in one color or maybe two similar colors adds interest.

4. Use font hierarchy, and choose a font that has light, medium, bold and italic options. Bold the titles you held, or use a lighter gray for dates you held the position, location etc. 

Play around with your resume and you will have a few different design ideas before something clicks and you are ready to use it. You don't need to settle and you can always change your resume if something doesn't feel right. Which is why I highly recommend using a program like Word because you can edit it and change it from anywhere, on any computer. 

And if you get the interview, remember that you can sound good on paper but...