One of the most frequent responses I hear from students while critiquing their resumes is “But I just didn’t think that was important.” This is why it is so important to have your resume looked over by someone other than yourself (like a Career Consultant at the UGA Career Center!). While you might think that something you did in college doesn’t merit a spot on your resume, your future employer might think so. Here are a few common things that many students might not realize are important to include on your resume
- Include part-time jobs Oftentimes students think that part-time jobs they held in college are not as important as internships. Not true! Many employers view substantive part-time job experience as a strong indicator for success in a post-graduation, full-time position. My internship coordinator in the U.S. Senate office I worked in once told me that the number one thing she looked for on a resume was whether or not the student had worked a part-time job during college. Not only does holding a job while going to school indicate a strong work ethic, but it also shows that you have excellent time management skills by balancing work and school. These are both strong transferrable skills that employers look for in a job candidate.
- Don’t sell yourself short! Another mistake students make regarding part-time jobs is that they tend to sell themselves short on their responsibilities in these positions. If you worked as a cashier, include in your resume the amount of money you handled. If you ever stepped in to serve as a manager, even if for only one hour when your manager had to leave for lunch, include it in your resume. These things may seem minute and unimportant, but employers see them as indications of responsibility, trustworthiness, and leadership. Also, please do not include vague, boring descriptions of your responsibilities in a particular job. Employers know by looking at the title “sales associate” that you sold something to customers. This is an average (if not terrible) job description for a sales associate:
Robby’s Retail, Sales Associate
· Helped customers pick out products they needed
· Practiced good customer service and sold merchandise
Now look at this description:
Robby’s Retail, Sales Associate
· Provided exceptional service by qualifying customers and recommending appropriate products to meet their needs
· Maximized sales by analyzing store metric reports and implementing effective merchandising strategies
By including thorough and thoughtful job descriptions on your resume, you can make even the most mundane sales position sound much more impressive.
- Share study abroad experiences! As study abroad programs explode on campuses across the country, employers are very eager to hear about such experiences. Including a study abroad trip on your resume is a great way to show employers your willingness to try new tasks and to step out of your comfort zone. It also signifies intellectual curiosity and time management skills as study abroad programs require students to take a rigorous class schedule in addition to sightseeing and leisure activities.
- Establish your leadership credentials Many students think that leadership skills can only be portrayed through positions such as “president,” “chair,” or “captain.” This is not true. Establishing your leadership credentials with a potential employer is crucial and many students are failing to do so because they never held such lofty positions. Serving on a committee within a student organization is a great example of leadership, even if you were not the committee chair. Volunteering time and effort beyond the normal duties of a passive member of an organization is an indication of leadership. The other day I was critiquing a student’s resume and she lamented the lack of leadership experience on her resume. After further prodding and questioning, I soon learned that she had helped start a student organization on campus and had helped create a scholarship fund to send students to a private high school in her hometown. If that’s not leadership, then I don’t know what is! Think about the experiences you have had and the activities you participate in. More than likely there is a way to take those experiences and activities and indicate to an employer that you gained valuable leadership skills.
These are simple and easy ways to polish up your resume. So make the changes, get your resume critiqued, print out lots of copies, and bring your new and improved resume to the UGA Career Fair on Wednesday, January 27 from 12:00-5:00 at the Classic Center in Downtown Athens.
Also, check out this article by Adam Anthony of examiner.com where gives some interesting advice on the content of your resume.