Writing a Resume for Employers — Not the Trash

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I find it incredibly interesting that one of the most common phrases undergraduate students say regarding applications for jobs and internships is “my resume stinks.” Resumes are the number one deliverable that opens the doorway into the professional field and yet it is one of the most neglected items in preparing for job applications.

“I’m really good at interviews,” is another common phrase uttered on many college campuses. However, if you do not spend ample amounts of time on your resume, you may never get that interview at all.

Resumes can be intimidating– this is mostly because students don’t know how to write one. They have vague ideas based off internet searches but no concrete formula to follow. The biggest difference between a professional resume and an amateur one is the abundant use of concrete details– using numbers and statistics to show results from previous jobs.

“One of the biggest issues with resume applications is that students focus only on what they did day-to-day or just on what they should have done. No one cares what they should have done according to their job description; we care about how they made an impact. What value did they bring to their last job? Show me, don’t tell me,” said Patrick Hernandez, General Motors communications director.

So how can you do this? How are you supposed to get top hiring executives, like Patrick Hernandez, to look at your resume and not throw it immediately away? Here are some helpful tips on writing a good resume.

Don’t go past one page.

Longer resumes make employers work harder, subconsciously telling them you are entitled. You should have one page for every 10 years of professional experience.

Creativity = resume design.

I promise that a resume made in Microsoft Word will not stand out. You want to catch your employer’s eye and make the statement “Hey look at me! See how creative I am?”

Your resume needs to have a hierarchy from top to bottom.

Resumes need to flow; you want to guide the reader’s eye from section to section in a gentle way. Play with fonts and colors in order to accomplish this.

Let your personality show.

There is only so much personality you can show in a resume but using creative design and including fun facts about yourself is a good way for employers to preview who you are. Show them you are a good personality to have around the office.

Don’t apply for another internship or job until you have sat down and audited your resume. This is one of the key factors in getting you hired. It is the first step in getting your dream career.

Parker Strong is a junior public relations major at Brigham Young University. He serves as the vice president of events of his University’s PRSSA chapter. He hopes to work in the automobile, travel & tourism or sports & entertainment industry when he graduates. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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