In this week’s topic on job applications, we’re going to focus on the student. There are a few significant things to know when it comes to writing a resume and the effectiveness it must have on an employer. For some, writing a resume can be a daunting task and it can feel dry. We hope by the end of this blog, you’ll have a grasp on how to effectively write a resume with such ease that it doesn’t feel dry, rather enjoyable.
The job hunt can be a stressful and unfamiliar journey for most students early in their search, so leverage the tips listed below in order to turn that stress and unknowing into confidence and comfortability.
Clearly Formatted and Concise
Recruiters will typically spend 5–7 seconds per resume, so it’s critical to clearly format yours in a concise and appealing way. There are TONS of templates out there for writing resumes yet it’s surprising how common a few themes have become. Rather than forcing a few specific templates upon you, the important message to be had here is to clearly format your resume and be concise with your content. There is never quite a need to include imagery, as a matter of fact, it’s typically frowned upon, so you’ll want to focus on strictly textual content. It is even recommended by the University of Washington’s Writing Center to use between 10–14 point font.
If your resume is longer than one-page, try to format a two-page resume in a symmetrical manner whereas the second page displays the same format as the first page, even if that means transferring some of the content on the first page to the second page. It will look better formatted than a full top page and half-filled second page. In the scenario that you must print your resume out, be sure to select “Double-Sided” when printing so it prints a single sheet of paper with all of your content nicely formatted on both sides. Also, get your hands on higher quality paper versus printer paper, it will make a stronger impact on the recruiter/hiring manager.
Whichever template you do choose, be sure to include these key components of a resume:
- First & Last Name
- Contact Information (Email & Phone Number)
- Objective (e.g. “Seeking a position as a social worker providing service to…”)
- Education Experience (Beginning at high school or other secondary education institutions)
- Previous Work-Related Experience (Include volunteer work)
- Soft Skills & Hard Skills
- Links to Cover Letter/Portfolio*
Regarding the above content, be sure that you’re leaning on the most relevant experience. As students, the previous experience you may have might not be super relevant to the new position you’re applying for. But that is okay as long as you format/describe it in a way that displays relevance (e.g. applicable skill sets learned from previous experience that is relevant to the new experience).
Sometimes it’s not about needing to know what’s included, but what NOT to include. Here’s a shortlist of what not to include on your resume:
- Birth Date
- Social Security
- Health Status
Leverage the Evolution of Applications
This very well is going to go against the grain, but that is what we do as tech companies emerging out of a new virtual-first world! … Use a Short-Video Introduction and stand out from the rest who are only sending emails & resumes. Some may claim this concept goes against the norm of excluding your headshot in a resume, but we’re seeing it more common for early applicants to leverage short-form video to secure the attention and interest of an employer. More often than not, that applicant is brought in for an interview. As far as recording an effective video application, you’ll want to abide by the following guidelines:
- A short and persuasive opening statement — your elevator pitch
- Your quantifiable achievements
- Your skills and experience, tailored for the role you’re applying for
- A little bit of personality and tactful humor, if appropriate
- Endevr suggests using Loom to record your short-form video submissions
- This is in addition to your resume
Have a more experienced professional review your submission, preferably in the same or similar industry/position of the employer that is receiving your resume. We suggest having 3–5 people review your resume, and try not to make one of them a parent, rather professionals in your school and the local community. When you have other people proofread your resume, it offers you outside constructive criticism and often helps to catch grammar mistakes that your eyes didn’t see. If your school has a writing center, definitely take advantage of their resources to help you write the most effective resume.
Post-Submission Follow Up
Once the resume is submitted for whatever type of opportunity you might be applying/be registering for, follow-up! Some might say wait two days and email, we say call the day you submit it. Pick up the phone and call the office that you submitted the resume to — usually there is a phone number in/around the submission form you used. This will show the recruiter multiple things in your favor: an ability to communicate over the phone, a sense of initiative, display of “hunger” for the position, and overall professionalism. No need to harass the employer on the other end of the phone, simply follow up by notifying them of your recent submission and that you’ll be extremely excited to hear back from their office at their convenience. And if you want to spice it up and really show hunger, let them know you’re happy to provide any further information if they need it. The underlying message here is that communication with your prospective employers will grab their attention and earn you a higher chance of being asked in for an interview. Don’t worry, we’ll cover interviews within the next couple of blogs.
There you have it — a few core tips on writing a resume. We hope this gave you insight into the job hiring world and we trust you will apply what you’ve learned to your own process. Above all else, have fun with your search. As young students, you’re not supposed to know exactly what you want to do as a career, but in order to get there, it starts with moving from zero to one and then one to two. Your early-stage career exploration will play a crucial role in identifying what it is you want to do and what you don’t want to do. Leverage this blog’s content for writing effective resumes and taking those first steps.