By Jacob Factor, Features Editor
College students often worry about what job they’re going to get after they graduate.
Even now, for some, internships are just as worrisome.
The first thing employers usually ask for from applicants is a resume, and this alone can cause anxiety.
What do you put in a resume? How is it supposed to look? How do you make your resume stand out from other applicants?
The first thing to figure out is what exactly a resume is.
According to JobScan, an online tool that helps job seekers optimize their resumes, a resume is “a concise compilation of your educational and professional experience, as well as the skills that make you desirable for the workforce.”
A resume is the first thing employers see of applicants, and according to JobScan, it’s instrumental in the application process.
“A well-organized, relevant resume will set you up to get an interview, while a poor resume will get completely lost in the sea of applicants,” JobScan’s website advises.
Dr. Daryl Green, assistant professor of business and the Dickinson Chair of Business at OBU, said the most common mistake he sees people make in their resumes is not following the rule of relevance.
“Employers are reviewing a resumé to see how the applicant’s skills match up with the position,” Green said.
A resume that includes that summer in high school you were a lifeguard or your part-time job waiting tables isn’t going to make a big impact (unless you’re applying for a similar position).
Ambra Benjamin, a recruiting manager for Facebook, attests to this fact in her LinkedIn article “Eight Things Recruiters Look for in a Resume at First Glance,” saying, “I do not care that you worked at Burger King in 1988. I mean, good for you, but no; not relevant.”
Following the rule of relevance, Benjamin said this will lead to a smaller, more concise resume.
“Unless you are a tenured college professor noble laureate with multiple published works, you do not need an 8+ page resume.”
JobScan’s website suggests that on average, employers only spend about six seconds on each resume, adding to the fact that concision is extremely important.
Benjamin said it takes her less than a minute to determine if an applicant is worthy of being considered.
It might seem a bit scary to know that you have a minute to prove to an employer that you are worthy of the job; making sure you have everything you need in your resume while also keeping it as to-the-point as possible.
It’s important to know exactly what is vital to put on a resume.
Green said resumes should have contact information, work experience (that, like mentioned before, is relevant to the position), education and skills, stressing the importance of contact information.
“You want to be reached. If you apply on a job, can the employer reach you in 24 hours?”
For the skills section of a resume, JobScan suggests avoiding “Soft skills,” ones that are intangible such as “hard-working, people-oriented, detailed,” and stick with quantifiable skills.
As for what not to include in resumes, other than irrelevant experience, it’s a bit subjective.
Green said he likes seeing personal objectives on his students’ resumes, but both Benjamin and JobScan suggest objectives are outdated.
JobScan has another option instead of an objective statement: the executive summary.
“While an objective statement explains what you hope to accomplish, a summary statement explains who you are and what you have already accomplished,” their website offers.
JobScan and Green both posit references are optional, JobScan’s opinion to the point of not including them at all in a resume.
“Potential employers will ask you for your references later on in the interview process if they see fit,” their website states.
“Of course, if references are asked for within the application process, provide them – just not on your resume.”
OBU also offers resume resources for students.
Anyone can access Optimal Resume Career and Talent Suite, a career management platform that partners with OBU.
Optimal Resume Career and Talent Suite has samples of professional resumes, cover letters, websites, portfolios and video tutorials.
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