Thursday, September 3, 2009

Week #1: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Resumes

Hello everyone and welcome to the Fall 2009 Semester! For those of you who are new to the Spartan Job Seeker Blog, my name is Eva McSpartan and I will be writing new blog entries each week this semester to help you with your job search! I'm currently a senior in Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State University and have LOTS of information to share! For those of you who are old pro's and have been following my blog for a while...welcome back! : )

This week's topic is going to be resumes and everything you could ever want to know about them.This covers a whole range of skill levels with resumes so if you encounter things you already know then good for you! Please continue on reading just in case I've included things you may not know.

Anatomy of a Resume

This section covers putting together your first resume or formatting your current resumes. When advising students, we suggest that your resume has several different sections:
  • Name and Contact Information
  • Objective
  • Education
  • Work Experiences
  • Skills
  • Extracurricular Activities
Here's an example of what a resume should look like:

I have a few extra tips regarding resume format. The first is that you should keep your margins at 0.5" on top and bottom and 0.75" on left and right MINIMUM! There is a delicate line between too much and too little white space around your resume. Having too small of margins and way too much text in small font says "I can't be concise to save my life." Having too much white space says "I have no all." Neither of these impressions are favorable.

Resume Content Guidelines: Make Them Want to Hire You

The content of your resume is going to be the meat and potatoes of this document. It is going to tell companies WHY they should hire you. As a result, you should prepare your resume content in a manner that conveys your experiences in the best possible way. One great way of doing this is by giving magnitude to your resume content. Employers are looking for benchmarks in your resume like people, money, and time. For example, if I managed a project at Company X, it is not good enough just to say that I managed a project. I need to provide a magnitude to this project so that employers know how big of an impact this project had. Here's where it'd be a good idea to put that I managed a group of 10 mechanical engineers that was valued at $150,000 and took 6 months from brainstorming to completion. See how much that enhances my statement of managing a project?

Common Resume Mistakes

This section is devoted to common resume mistakes I've seen in the past few years that you need to make sure not to make! Even the smallest grammatical error on your resume will negatively affect how a recruiter sees you. Here are a few to watch out for:
  • Make sure that your contact information is 100% accurate. It's really easy to misspell your e-mail or mess up a letter in your phone number. Even being off by one letter or number can be the difference between getting a response from a recruiter and hearing crickets.
  • After you have earned your first GPA at college (usually by the beginning of your first spring semester), it is time to remove your High School accomplishments and GPA. You're a big kid now and your resume should reflect it. Scared that your resume will be too sparse? Start getting involved! You have no excuse not to get involved with student organizations. Saying "I'm too busy" is all relative. Speaking from experience, you can make time for a lot of things.
  • Make your bullet points for each description concise and give them magnitude by including people, time, and money specifications. Try highlighting one or two main projects instead of listing your daily tasks.
  • Avoid putting obvious things in your "Skills" section. Adding in things like "Personable" or "Open minded" are silly to include. Show these qualities in your bullet points and by your presense. Recruiters will figure out very quickly if you are personable or organized! You do not need to point it out.
  • Keep everything appropriate. This includes your e-mail address and voicemail message. Also, make sure your internet resume is clean! If any of these things include evidence that you are a party animal, irresponsible, or a wild child, you may want to start revising them now. If a recruiter calls you and gets, "Hello. You've reached Big Mama's Brothel...Haha...Just kidding. This is Eva. Leave me a message," they probably won't call you back EVER. Just be aware!

That should just about cover it all. Check back to these entries for more information on resumes:

If you have any specific questions that you would like me to answer or feedback on the Spartan Job Seeker Blog, please send these to

Like Always,

Good Luck Job Seekers!

No comments:

Post a Comment