Happy (late) Thanksgiving everyone! This week’s addition to the Building a Successful Resume series will go over some tips & tricks on how to actually write out your resume content to strengthen your overall resume.

 

First, you want to be sure to use strong action verbs when describing your experience and contributions. I always start each bullet-point description with a different action verb; some examples that I use in my own resume include “managed”, “created”, “spearheaded”, “represented”, and “collaborated”, among many others.

 

You also want to be sure to check for consistency in tense, formatting, and punctuation throughout your resume. I choose to write my entire resume in past tense, even when describing positions that I am currently working in, to maintain consistency. I also choose to not include any end punctuation – my bullet-points are not technically full sentences because they start with action verbs and do not explicitly include a subject (me). Ensure all spacing, bolding, italicizing, font style, and font size are consistent and visually appealing throughout.

 

Finally, be sure to ask someone to read over your resume for you and give you feedback, while it is still fresh in your mind. A different set of eyes will be more likely to catch any mistakes, inconsistencies, or confusing wording. Of course, you’ll want to get feedback from several people before sending your resume out to your #1 school or desired employer, but getting that initial feedback is essential to ensuring consistency and quality!

Now that you know how to find and pursue the opportunities, experiences, and skills that will make your resume stand out, it’s time to get organized and decide how to display them on your resume.

 

One of my biggest pieces of advice is to keep a journal, planner, or even just a file on your computer where you keep track of all of your activities, including your individual tasks and any major dates associated with them. It can be so difficult to remember exactly what you did and when in retrospect, so keeping notes on your progress will help you TREMENDOUSLY long-term. The more detailed you can be when describing your experiences, the better!

 

Another step in this phase of the resume building process is choosing a resume template. Different industries have different standards, so if you already have an industry in mind be sure to research what a typical resume within the industry looks like and what is important to include. If you’re still in high school or don’t have a specific industry in mind, there are plenty of general templates to choose from. I’d suggest sticking to something simple, organized, and visually appealing – stay away from super colorful or crowded templates. Templates will often have the sections of the resume already named and set up, but you can change and move them to best fit your information. The sections on my resume, which I’d recommend including in yours (in some format) are: General Information (Contact info, school year/major/GPA), Relevant Experience (any work/volunteer experience relevant to what you are applying for), Leadership Experience (which you can use to highlight your extracurriculars), and Skills & Interests (mention any other activities/interests, skills you have that contribute to your qualifications). There are tons of ways to organize your resume – these are just my recommendations based on my experience and what I have learned from others! Above all, ensure the template and sections you choose make sense given your experiences and are easy to look at and to read. Good luck!

 

Welcome to the first post in what will become a series on how to build a successful resume! A strong resume is essential at all stages of life, from when you’re in high school to even when you’re well-established in your professional career. However, any good resume starts with quality experience and skills. So, this first post in the series will focus on the quality opportunities that will best highlight your skills and experiences.

 

Your resume should be a reflection of you, your interests, and what you have to offer a potential school or employer. Therefore, the jobs and extracurriculars that you devote your time to should relate to your overall goals and interests in some way! Recruiters can tell when you are passionate about an experience or a subject, and people don’t want to hire boring people – be sure to choose experiences that actually interest you so you can talk about them! This means not joining a club or taking a job just because you think it’s what you “should” do. This also means choosing to join 3 clubs that you can meaningfully participate in instead of 10 different clubs that will help fill out your resume.

 

Sometimes, your options may be limited. Maybe your school doesn’t offer clubs in the subject areas that interest you, or you were unable to find a summer job that closely matches your career goals. Don’t worry! There’s no need to overcompensate here; focus on the opportunities you have and make the most out of them. Just because an activity doesn’t relate directly to your interests doesn’t mean there aren’t skills and experience you can gain from it – they may even benefit you in the future!

 

Overall, when searching for activities to get involved in or employment opportunities, try to imagine how a given experience could contribute to your future success. Whether the experience aligns perfectly with your interests or not, there is something to gain from any opportunity as long as you make the most of it. Focus on a few quality opportunities instead of overwhelming yourself – it’ll make your experiences much more meaningful and beneficial in the long run!

 

Happy Searching!

This week’s blog post is going to be about the importance and benefits of using a planner. I’ve used a planner consistently since I was in elementary school to keep myself organized and on top of my responsibilities, from schoolwork to extracurriculars to even personal tasks. Over the years I’ve shared this strategy with my siblings and my peers, and now it’s your turn!

 

One of the most important factors into using a planner is actually purchasing one that you like and will want to use. My middle school and high school provided students with school-branded planners, so I always used those, but once I got to college I had to find and choose one for myself. You can find the planner I currently use herebut you can find all sorts of sizes and designs on the internet or in stores that sell school/office supplies. Be sure to choose a planner design that you like and that suits your needs! If you don’t enjoy looking at it, you’ll be much less likely to actually use it.

 

The second key to transitioning to using a planner is deciding on an organization system that will work best for you. My strategy has always been writing down assignments as soon as I find out about them. Most planners are broken down on a weekly basis with sections for each day of the week. If an assignment is due on Wednesday, I will write the assignment down under Tuesday. As a result, on any given day I can go through the assignments I have due the next day and cross them off as I complete them. For larger assignments, I often put reminders on the days leading up to the due date to encourage myself to work ahead if possible. There are many ways to organize your planner, so choose a strategy that works best for you and your workload!

 

Finally, be sure to take advantage of the other tools that planners may have to offer. Many, including  the planner I use, have pages dedicated to each month. I use these pages to keep track of major responsibilities such as midterms or project due dates. Planners also usually have a spot to keep track of contacts, goals for the year, and other information that can be very useful to have written down! Above all, be sure to have your name and phone number or email address written in your planner in case you lose it. I know I’d be lost without my planner, so be sure to keep track of it and store it in a safe place!

 

Overall, using a planner will help you stay on top of your assignments and responsibilities in an organized and manageable way. While it may take some getting used to at first, you’ll quickly catch on and learn to love the process!