Monday, April 27, 2009

Resume Tips from Bonnie

I've hired several rounds of interns, as well as a full-time employee, and I regularly volunteer to review resumes for students in the OSU public relations program. Over the years, I've seen a lot of really good resumes and some not so good ones. Here are a few tips on what sets a resume apart (for me).

1. If you're submitting electronically, send it as a PDF. A PDF will ensure that the file appears exactly as you want it to appear. When you send a Word document, things can shift and fonts can be replaced. Your beautiful one-page masterpiece could come out 3 lines on to page two and entirely in courier.

2. Make it one page. Anyone who tells you a resume doesn't have to be one page is lying to you. When you've been working for 20 years and are a leader in your field, then your resume can be more than one page. Until then, the only thing you illustrate with a two-page resume is your inability to be concise. (Note: don't confuse a resume with a vitae, which actually should be more than one page)

3. Be consistent. How you format a resume is not as important as formatting consistently. (although in PR we default to AP style on things like titles, capitalization and abbreviations) Be especially careful with punctuation and the format of headings.

4. Proof, proof, proof. Give it to your brother, your roommate, your advisor, the kid sitting next to you on the bus. Make sure your resume is thoroughly proofed. Even one typo can bump you out of the running. The larger the applicant pool is, the pickier reviewers can be.

5. Sell your skills and experience, but don't exaggerate anything. If you are claiming to be an "expert" on anything you better be darn ready to back that statement up. An expert is often defined as the person who knows more about a topic than anyone else in the room. Think long and hard about the experience and knowledge level of the people who will read your resume. Do you still feel comfortable claiming to know more than they do about x, y or z?

6. Put the most important stuff stuff first, and lose the objective statement. We know what your objectives is; it's to get a job.

7. Frame in the terms they use. If the position is seeking someone with community involvement, then make a heading for community involvement. If they want demonstrated leadership, then make a leadership heading. Job listings aren't generic and your resume shouldn't be either.

No comments: