Want to Make a Splash with Your Resume? Start Here
Today, the average person will change jobs or careers 10-15 times during his or her professional life. As you enter the workforce, prepare to switch jobs, or gear up to change careers, at the top of your to-do list is updating your resume.
Your resume is a marketing tool that should communicate the value you will bring to an employer. Refresh your resume with these top considerations.
Layout and Format
Keep your resume clear, concise and clean.
- Early in your career, keep your resume to one page. As your career develops, you may want to use two pages to include all relevant information and experience.
- Use a single professional font, such as Arial or Times New Roman.
- Keep font size between 10-12 point.
- Stick to 2-5 bullets for each job and category.
- Do not use abbreviations.
- Be consistent in the format, layout and spacing throughout.
As you advance in your career, your experience should come front and center in your resume.
- List specific details about what you have accomplished in paid or unpaid positions, listing the most recent first.
- Highlight transferable skills and abilities rather than duties and responsibilities.
- Think about the types of activities you’ve done and how they could relate to the requirements of the potential position.
- Describe accomplishments in a results-oriented fashion.
Activities and Organizations
Use an activities or organizations section to highlight skills you may not be able to show through your professional experience.
- Focus on relevant experience to the position and profession you are looking to move towards
- Make sure to include memberships to professional organizations, community organizations and interoffice activities: committees, groups, certifications, volunteer activities and relevant interests.
Cover letters are incredibly important when applying for a job. Customize your letter to the specific position and company. Your letter should work like advertising copy by:
- Catching the reader’s attention (opening paragraph).
- Communicating skills and experience (middle paragraph).
- Supporting your statements with specifics (middle paragraph).
- Compelling the reader to act (final paragraph).
Other Key Tips
- Begin each bullet with an action verb. Explore this list of powerful verbs.
- Update your online portfolio (LinkedIn, personal website, digital resume, etc.).
- In the skills section, include technical skills, laboratory knowledge, proficiency or fluency in a foreign language, and anything else related to the position.
- Your references should be in a separate document to send when requested.
Students may contact KU’s Career Center for more information.
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