How to Prepare Your Resume
Often times, your resume will be the first impression an employer will have of you, so it’s important to make it compelling and strong. Effective resumes will highlight strengths and abilities you can bring to the position. Here are some guidelines to start:
Provide your full name (first and last, no nicknames) and contact information. Contact information includes phone number, professional e-mail address, and home address.
Use professional fonts that are easy to read (Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri). Stay within one page for your resume, and make sure that the font size is legible when printed.
Typically one to two lines, objective statements provide a clearer understanding of why you are applying to the position. It tends to answer one or more of the following: What are you trying to gain from the position you are applying for? What skills do you hope to build? What skills do you have currently that you can offer to the position?
List your education, with the most recent first. Include your anticipated graduation date, location of the school, major(s) and if applicable, minor(s).
Honors, Awards, and Certifications
List any honors and awards you have earned as well as any notable certifications.
Experience comes in many different forms, from part-time work, full-time, internships, and more. Use this section of your resume to showcase skills or abilities gained through your experience(s). List your experience in reverse chronological order, with the most recent first. Include the name of the organization, position title, start and end date.
State duties, responsibilities, and accomplishments of your position. Use action verbs to describe what you have done.
Activities and Volunteer Experience
Activities are a great way to supplement your resume with skills gained while also showcasing involvement. List activities you have been a part of and any positions held. Any volunteer experience can be useful to include as well.
More is not always better! It is better to be dedicated to a few clubs and do more with them than be a part of many but not as involved.
Highlight any relevant skills on your resume. These are typically technical and foreign language skills such as:
- Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Publisher, etc)
- Adobe (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign)
Softer skills such as teamwork, multitasking, group work, etc. are shown through your experience and activities.
Extra Tips and Tricks
Do research on the position and the organization/company. What are the qualifications the position stated? What skills are they looking for, and what are the duties you may be expected to perform? Use the job description to help tailor your resume for each application.
Have multiple drafts of your resume you can edit and match to each new position. Also, when submitting your resume, try to do so as a .PDF unless stated otherwise. This eliminates the chances of your resume format being altered or accidentally edited.
Proofread, proofread, proofread! Make sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes!
Lastly, drop by the Career Center at Roscoe West 102 to have your resume reviewed by a Peer Career Educator or Career Counselor. Drop in hours are:
Monday 1:30PM – 3:30PM
Tuesday 3:30PM – 5:30PM
Thursday 1:30PM – 3:30PM
Friday 10:00AM – 12:00PM
For resume and cover letter examples, check the TCNJ Career Center Handbook.
Social Media Presence
Your resume is not the only impression employers may have of you. It is very common today for employers to search candidates on social media for further insight on who they are. Therefore, it is important to maintain a professional social media profile. Avoid posting anything that could reflect poorly on you, and when in doubt, keep your profile private on Instagram and Twitter. For Facebook, double check your privacy settings on who can see your posts, whether or not people can see what you have been tagged in, and more. It is a good idea to check these settings every few months to ensure nothing has changed.
Your social media brand is important to maintain both before, during, and after a job, so be conscious of what you post and say online. Having a strong social media brand that reflects the best of you is useful, but likewise, a poor social media brand will harm you in the long run. You can control what you post, and so you can control how others will perceive you online.
NACE has a list of Career Competencies they have determined are important to the workforce. Examine the list and see how you can incorporate these competencies into your resume, and in what areas you may need to improve on.