If you're a 20-something, a refined resume is a must-have! By now, you have gained lots of amazing experiences and may be looking for your first full-time job (or, moving on to a new position or career path altogether!). If you're on the job hunt, first of all, congratulations! This is a huge (but very stressful) step to take. So, before we continue, take a deep breath, and remind yourself that you are doing an amazing job right where you are at!
Okay, ready to dive into the resume details? There are a few essentials when creating your resume to ensure you put your best foot forward when reaching out to potential employers. Here's what to include on your resume, and what can be scratched.
Your Name and Contact Information
Make your name large and visible - after all who you are is the most important piece of information! Include your email, phone number, link to your website or portfolio if relevant, and LinkedIn profile URL. If you are lacking space, you can go ahead and leave your address out.
High school graduates should list the name of the high school and the year they received their diploma. If you received a college degree, you'll want to put where your degree from, the year you graduated, and your field of study. If you have a degree, go ahead and leave your high school experiences off. If you are in the process of obtaining a degree, you should put your expected graduation date and what degree you are pursuing.
Relevant Work Experiences
This includes part-time and full-time positions, internships, volunteer work, and even school coursework. If it is relevant to the position you are applying for, you'll definitely want to include it. Look through the job description carefully so you can tailor your work experiences to match what the employer is specifically looking for in a candidate.
Skills that Set You Apart
This is another great place for you to utilize keywords from the job description. Make sure you list all your relevant skills in a way that will be understood by your employer. This is easily done through a "skills" section, and they can be listed out in bullet points. That way, you can fit in as many as needed.
Proactive and Powerful Language
Be confident in your skills and experiences! Use action words that demonstrate how much you have accomplished. For example, say "accomplished," "initiated," and "designed" rather than "assisted with," "helped out with," or "supported." You got a lot of work done - use your words to take credit for it! The Balance Careers has a great list of power words to utilize in resumes and cover letters - definitely check it out as you craft your resume.
An Organized and Clear Layout
You want your resume to be neat and intuitive. Keep it to one page, and make sure each section is clearly marked. That way the employer sees right away that you have the skills they need, and they don't have to go searching through your resume (because, they probably won't have time to).
This is a tricky one. Some employers explicitly ask for your GPA in the application, and others don't. The general rule of thumb online seems to be to leave your GPA on your resume if it is around a 3.5 or above. It is also recommended that you leave your GPA in your education section of your resume until you have acquired a couple years of work experience, then take it off.
Irrelevant Work Experience
If you are trying to use space as efficiently as possible on your one page resume, you'll want to cut the experiences that just aren't relevant to the job you are applying for. It may be hard to cut out those hours of work, but when you are trying to say too much, it can actually do more harm than good. Likewise, in the roles that you do include on the resume, list the aspects of the position that correlate most with the role you are applying for.
Tiny Fonts or Disorganized Layouts
The last thing you want your resume to be is a pain to look at. Skip the funky fonts and ultra-creative layouts to make sure everything is as clear as possible. Finally, don't make it so cramped with information that it becomes too hard to read. Instead, focus on maximizing the parts that you do have room for. Again, stick to a single page, especially for entry-level positions.
Remember, with some careful crafting, you can design and write a resume that encapsulates your experiences and lets employers know they will be so lucky to have you on their team!