We know fall might seem like a very chaotic time, between class and homework and rush and clubs and Fall Career Expo and sports and whatever else is now on your plate. You may also feel intimidated hearing about jobs, internships, and grad school, and your parents keep nagging you about what you’re going to do in the future. No matter what year you are, it’s never too early to start making plans for your future. Don’t know where to get started? We’re here to help!
Last Friday afternoon, Mackenzie and I hosted the Career Center’s first peer-led small group discussion of the year called, “You Survived The Festifall Frenzy: Now What?” We will host more small group discussions on a variety of topics in our weekly series called iPlan with Peers. This first small group discussion was focused on developing your personal story and your past experiences into what some might think is one of the most important and intimidating pieces of paper you write while in college: the resume.
You’ve probably already heard of a resume, but what is it? Simply put, your resume is your story that shows your past accomplishments, experience, and skills you have developed. Think of your resume as your story that represents who you are, and not anyone else. This may be the first way that you will present yourself to future employers, so you want to do all that you can do grab their attention and prove that you’re someone they want to interview. *Keep in mind, your resume is not the only part of your personal story and is not the only way you will present yourself. What else is there? Come see us at the Career Center to find out!
When you are starting to develop your resume, think about your academic experience so far. What school are you attending? What is your major/minor? Are you involved in any clubs or student groups? Have you received any awards or leadership positions? This is all important information that employers want to know, not just to see your academic background, but also how involved you are on campus.
Next, think about your working experience. Now, don’t be discouraged if you have never had a nine-to-five or worked for a boss before. If you have, here is your chance to talk about it. But if not, have you had an internship or conducted research? Volunteered or done community service? Did you mow lawns or shovel snow for money? All of these are kinds of experiences that you can use to highlight your own skills and accomplishments that employers are looking for. In addition, don’t just list what you did, but how and why did you do it? What skills did you gain or perfect? What was the impact that your work resulted in? In this section, use action verbs and phrases, rather than sentences, and focus on your skills and accomplishments.
Lastly, take a step back and think about your interests and activities. In this last section of your resume, take the opportunity to show something about you that your education and work experience don’t show. Do you like to play soccer, cook, or travel? Are you interested in photography or the arts? This is an important part of the resume that you can even get a little creative with because employers want to see who you are beyond school and work.
As I’m sure you are thinking, resumes are tough. Luckily, a resume is something that can always be improved and will only get better over time. And the best way to improve your resume? Bring it to the Career Center! We’ve got counselors and peer advisors that are resume pros and can help you through this process with the greatest of ease. Start by checking out our online resume resources. Next, present a professional resume with Resume Builder, which provides step-by-step help and manages formatting so you can focus on content! Once you have a resume draft, sign up for a one-on-one advising appointment for specific questions about your own resume or check out one of our many workshops that discuss resumes, cover letters, interviewing, networking, and anything else to get you thinking about your future. Our next small group discussion is all about the resources that we have for you here at the Career Center, so don’t miss this great opportunity to find out all the ways we can help you!
Photo credit: Rennett Stowe / CC by 2.0