Best First Impression
When you apply for an internship, job or graduate school, your resume stands as one of the most important documents. This piece of paper is your introduction and serves as the first way in which you will showcase your skill set. While your resume might be a file that sits inside your computer untouched until the day you are ready to apply, it needs more attention than that. Here are a few tips to make sure you have a great first impression with a stellar resume.
- Know your audience. Who will be reading your resume and application? What is the company and what is their mission? What university are you applying to and what are their admission standards? What job are you applying for and what will be expected of you? These are all questions you must ask yourself in order to tailor the resume and your application to that particular audience. It is important to understand what they need to see on a resume, and then show them those things on yours.
- Send the important information to the top. Determine what is the most important information that you want convey to your audience. Make sure the important information is closer to the top of the page so it would be one of the first things they read.
- Does it make the cut? After you determine what information is most important to include, make sure only relevant information is included. Once you graduate from college, experiences from high school might not be relevant anymore.
- Format with discretion. Again, it is important for you to know your audience. If you are applying for a position where creativity is necessary, such as a graphic designer or social media coordinator, then a colorful, more abstract resume might work for you. When in doubt, stick to conservative and professional formatting, including fonts and colors.
- Be careful what you share. Employers and graduate schools will have access to your home address and telephone number via official applications. And since most communication will take place via email, it is best to include only your current email address. Resumes can be shared with anyone via sites like LinkedIn. Think carefully who might have access to your home address or cell phone number if you include it on your resume?
**For LSU students, you may want to consider creating an email account that is not associated with the school since your "@lsu.edu" address will eventually be nonexistent. Just make sure your email address is professional and contains some or all of your name (i.e., use firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and not firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com).
- PDF, please. Once you are finished updating your resume, save it as a PDF instead of a word document. This task will save you the headache of your resume's formatting being changed on another screen. It also prevents someone from changing details on your resume.
- Proofread & update. Rinse & repeat. Give your resume the once-over and do it often. Set a reminder on your calendar to update your resume a few times a semester to make sure you don’t forget something important that should be added. Also, have someone read over your resume to help you spot mistakes. Don’t let your resume end up in the trash because of a typo.
For more information or for help crafting a resume that communicates yours skill set effectively, email firstname.lastname@example.org.