“Look over this résumé and tell me what you think,” said my dad as I sat at home over the summer. Someone aspiring for a job in his field had sent him a résumé. I began to read and was appalled. I spotted spelling error after spelling error, incorrect punctuation and overall terrible form. Even though I knew I was younger than owner of this résumé, I felt confident that I could have done a better job of writing it. This is thanks to my parents, both of who have hiring experience; to Marie Coffman in Career Services, whose excellent résumé workshop I attended last year; and to PRSSA, which has held several great presentations about résumé writing.
As a public relations student, an outstanding résumé is vitally important to one’s future career goals. These résumés will soon be sent to graduate school programs, internships, or your bosses at your first post-grad job, and they must be up to a certain standard to be taken seriously. From the résumé tips and tricks I have learned thus far came my “Five C’s of Résumé Writing.”
- There is absolutely no room for spelling errors, grammar mistakes or incorrect contact information.
- Do not use more than two fonts (10 to 12 point.) You could use one font for your headings and one for the rest of your body content.
- Avoid colored paper; white or off-white work just fine.
- Be careful of your margins; one inch all around is a safe zone.
- There is absolutely no room for spelling errors, grammar mistake, or incorrect contact information…yes, it is important enough that I mentioned it twice!
- Be up front and honest about what you know and what you’ve done.
- Don’t use acronyms or abbreviations; spell everything out.
- Use headings to organize information: objective, education background, job experience, skills and volunteer work.
- Proofread your résumé several times by yourself and then have someone with hiring experience re-read it.
- Proofread once again…just to make sure!
- Keep it to a page: it is often said that you should have one page for every 10 years of experience.
- Don’t use full sentences; short, clear descriptions work best – don’t ramble.
- Supplement your résumé content by including your website, blog, social media or online portfolio links.
- Use a unique design that doesn’t distract readers from your résumé
- Call attention to yourself in the right way by using a logo, designed by you or by a designer you know, that incorporates your name or initials.
- Create a short tagline or motto to promote yourself and include it on the top of your résumé.
- Be creative with your word choice; use action verbs (past tense for previous jobs, present tense for current jobs) to communicate skills and duties.
- Be sure that your résumé is in a format that is easily usable for employers. PDF or Word documents are best. Businesses do not typically have the Adobe Creative Cloud or other programs that communication majors might use.
- Use descending order of importance; your most recent jobs and experiences should be at the top of your résumé, and the oldest ones should be at the bottom.
- For college students or recent college graduates, put your education information close to the top: institution name, major, minor and graduation year.
- Keep your job information and experiences recent and make sure they are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Follow these tips and see success every time you send out your résumé!
Maura Fenske is a sophomore Public Relations major. She serves as the Social Media Coordinator for the Waynesburg University Public Relations Student Society of America Chapter, Executive Editor of the Mad Anthony Yearbook and an Account Executive for Red Brick Communications. Maura hopes to combine her passion for public relations, writing and sports in her future career.