Everyone should have a résumé (also known as a CV—curriculum vitae). It comes in handy when you’re applying for that internship, or when you want to brag to your friends about how extensive your experience is. But great resumes/CVs take a bit of work.
1. Polish Your Resume
This is absolutely crucial. You can have a great résumé full of lovely work experiences and your undeniably extensive community service hours, but it has to be pretty. This is not to say that your CV must include flowers and smileys in the margins; rather, quite the opposite. It should be simplistic, basic, and limited to black, white, and maybe blue. It shouldn’t look cluttered, so leave spaces in between lines.
Why is making it appear aesthetically pleasing important? Well, the contents are indubitably what matters, but people judging you based on your résumé are probably going through lots of other ones, and you should at least do them the courtesy of making yours readable. They’ll appreciate your neatness.
2. Keep it Short and Sweet
Some experts (yes, there are résumé experts) say that nowadays, people with positions like CEO or something else just as ridiculous probably have a long history of important experiences that should be listed on résumés extending beyond a page. However, that does not apply to most people. Your résumé should not exceed one page when using one inch margins and 11 or 12 point font. In the end, it matters that you put your most important and relevant accomplishments on the paper, rather than putting everything you’ve ever done.
3. Keep It Relevant
I basically have a different résumé for everything I apply for. You have to keep your CV relevant to whatever it is that you’re applying for. This is a bit tied in with keeping it short and sweet in that you should omit what’s unnecessary, and keep your most relevant and impressive bits. Especially if you have an objective (which you should), you’d want to specifically cater it to whatever you’re applying for. And if you have experience in a law office, you’d want to keep that when you’re applying for a legal internship, while getting rid of that time you worked as a trainer at the zoo.
4. List at Least One Reference
It gives your work experience more credibility if you can list a reference for it. Talk to your boss or your mom or whatever (you probably shouldn’t actually list your mom on your CV) and ask him or her if it’s okay to put his or her contact information in your CV. And if you don’t want to list a reference, you should at least say something like, “Reference available upon request.” That is, of course, if reference is actually available upon request.
5. Keep a Little Ambiguity
The majority of your CV should be straightforward and say exactly what you did for that job or how you volunteered or whatever. But when it comes to something like, say, getting an award, you can be a little ambiguous. Don’t lie; that’s not what I’m advising. For example, I have an award named after me. So what I do is, I list the award, and I say where I got it. And I don’t say anything more. Sometimes, employers or other interviewers will get curious and give you an interview just to ask you about it. If nothing else, they’ll at least ask you questions about it, which can be sort of a conversation mover. I mean, wouldn’t you ask me why I have an award named after me?
Happy resume writing!