Writing the Right Resume

The official definition of resume is: a brief account of one’s professional or work experience and qualifications. And so in lies the conundrum for college grads. Most students have little-and usually no relevant-work experience, other than some part-time gigs at a local store or restaurant. So listing your work experience can be a problem. But it’s not as bad as you may fear. The basic goal of a resume is to advertise yourself. This is your paper audition, and the good thing is Simon Cowell won’t get to comment.

æThe majority of human resources recruiters say that any work experience is good to see, especially if it shows a continuous employment record. Plus, they know that if you can last three years as a bartender or a waitress, then you can put up with just about any asshole in the corporate arena. As for education, it is obvious that you are a college grad, or you wouldn’t be applying. So be sure to highlight your school experiences and activities-anything that would make you stand out from the others who just slid through with a minimum GPA and have nothing to show except ‘Best Keg Host’ on their resume.

Speaking of extracurricular activities: forget about it. Other than foreign languages and computer programs, no one cares if you like long walks on the beach, backgammon and puppies.

The same applies to writing your objectives. No one wants to read flowery bullshit about how you work well with others or want to make a difference. If you don’t work well with others, then you shouldn’t be applying for a job. If you must write an objective, make it brief and specific to the job you are applying for. Why are you – and only you-the right one for the job.

æAs for references, it’s a good idea to list two or three. With good references from a professor and an employer, you can knock out half of your competition right off the bat. Usually an employer won’t call anyone until you are in the last cut, but make sure you have them ready in case.

æFinally, make sure your resumí© is ‘copyable’. Colored paper and graphics don’t transfer on a Xerox, and all your fancy work could become a faded out rag. Make sure you spell-check and proofread-it’s a good idea to get a couple of people to read it first-and most importantly: don’t forget your contact information. According to the experts, the two biggest problems are typos and no phone numbers.