What is a resume and why is it needed?
A resume is a marketing document that advertises your skills, knowledge and experiences. This is often the first item a recruiter receives to learn about you and is a way to evaluate you as a potential candidate. A resume is a good way to highlight career goals, education, activities, honors, projects and any other special skills.
Most companies use what is called an A.T.S. This stands for an Applicant Tracking System. Employers use this to pre-filter resumes for the hiring manager of the specific full-time position or internship. The system works by scanning resumes for specific key words, phrases and skills relevant to the specific position the employer is hiring for. This helps weed out unqualified candidates prior to someone at the company even setting their eyes on it.
What can you do?
- Be sure to learn about the company and its values.
- Refer to the job description so you know what the employer is specifically looking for.
- Tailor your resume to include the desired skills and/or key words that you found in your research.
Does this mean I need a different resume for each position I apply to?
Absolutely! Make sure to control your job or internship search by putting in the needed work and research prior. Tailor your resume(s) to specific job descriptions, creating multiple versions of your resume depending on employer, industry or job function. Ensuring your resume is relevant to the position and key word rich is crucial to the job search.
Resume Quick Tips
- ) Avoid pre-formatted resume templates (this includes Microsoft Resume Wizard)
- ) Be concise & consistent (maintain style, font, formatting the same throughout resume)
- ) 10 – 12 point font (only exception is the name which should be big and bold at top of resume)
- ) Make sure that the left and right margin sizes are consistent with each other and the top and bottom margin sizes are the same as well
- ) Limit your resume to 1 page!
- ) Use action verbs to begin each accomplishment statement under “Experience”
- ) Sections such as Education, Work Experience and Leadership/Activities should be in reverse chronological order (most present to least present)
Want more? Be sure to review our Department Resume Guide here!
Use a cover letter to express your interest in a specific position and/or company. Inform the reader of your qualifications and explain why you are the perfect fit for the position.
Why is a Cover Letter Important?
- A good cover letter gives you a chance to emphasize the skills, previous successes, and personal qualities that you will contribute to a potential employer/organization
- It is an opportunity to expand on and highlight the most important aspects of your resume while adding a personal touch
- A way to tell employers what you can bring to the table, not just how much you want to work for them
- A cover letter allows you to explain to an employer why you are a good fit for the position and why they should hire you
- Use the cover letter to reflect your personality, professional interests, and show your passion
- Employers can detect generic cover letters: Be sure to tailor each cover letter according to the position
What should a Cover Letter include?
- What you know about the company
- What makes you unique as a candidate
- Your relevant skills
- Use the same font in your cover letter, as you do in your resume
Want more? Be sure to review our Department Cover Letter Guide here!