What does your resume say about your personality? How about your general work ethic? What might your resume suggest about your sense of responsibility, or your demeanor when you’re interacting with strangers? Whether you realize it or not, your resume offers your employer some important details about who you are and what it might be like to work side by side with you on a daily basis. Even if you’re searching at the entry level and you haven’t spent much time in the working world, your reviewers will read between the lines to get a sense of your personal brand. So make sure you’re sending a clear message and selling yourself while you pitch your credentials. Keep these considerations in mind.
You respect education and lifelong learning.
Make it clear that you’re a flexible, intelligent person with a respect for knowledge and education…even if you don’t have a long list of graduate degrees from Ivy League institutions. A few simple moves can help. Start by placing your “education” section at the top of the page, just under your resume summary and above your work history. This can show a sense of pride in your academic accomplishments, even if you stopped studying after high school. You can also gain ground in this area by listing your non-academic course work, including all recent training sessions and certifications.
You’re committed to your goals.
Your “work history” section should show that you’re a determined person with a sense of direction and purpose. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been working your way up the ladder, or which direction you’ve chosen for your career and your life; it only matters that you have one. If you’ve moved from job to job several times over the last few years, that’s okay. If you’ve never held a “real” job before, that’s okay too. Just frame your history in a way that’s understandable and relevant to the open position on which you’ve set your sights.
You know how to use words.
Communication skills—both written and spoken—are essential to success in almost every imaginable industry. And since you can’t show off your speaking and listening skills until you land a face to face interview, you’ll need to focus on written language as you draft your resume. If you truly feel hopeless as a writer, get some editing help. In the meantime, keep your sentences concise. Get rid of unnecessary adverbs and empty buzzwords. Read your phrases aloud and listen to how they sound. Do they flow naturally and make sense? If not, keep polishing and rewriting until your words reflect who you are and what you can do.
You care about the details.
Small mistakes, including typos and greetings addressed to the wrong person, can suggest that your approach to your work is sloppy and dashed-off. And that’s just not you. Don’t let little errors and a misplaced sense of urgency derail your message. Take your time and get this right.
For more help with your job search, including resume and cover letter guidance, turn to the expert team at PSU.