Crafting the perfect resume is a task which requires much more effort, skill and time than many people are willing to apply to it. But believe us, it is worth your while! Follow these tips from the Trinity Careers & Alumni team to make a great first impression on your next potential employer:
- Keep it (relatively) short and concise – for students and recent graduates, a resume should be two pages, max.
- Include an ‘executive summary’ at the top – highlight key skills, previous experience and what you can offer a prospective employer in a succinct paragraph well-seasoned with active verbs and vivid language. Treat it as your written ‘elevator pitch’.
- Avoid being overly generic – this is especially relevant to your ‘Work Experience’ section. The point of this section is to accurately describe your previous roles so that readers can imagine what you actually did. One effective approach is to focus on describing your key responsibilities and achievements. For example, if you worked in a retail health store rather than just writing ‘provided customer service’, you could demonstrate an understanding of what skills are needed to deliver excellent customer service. A better alternative would be: ‘consistently met the needs of customers by listening and advising which health products would best address their concerns.’
- Include an ‘Interests’ section – many students and graduates leave this out but it’s a great opportunity to show off the diversity of your skillset and reveal how interesting you are. It also enables recruiters to gain a sense of who you are as a person and whether you would be a good fit with the existing team. Probably best not to include passive interests like watching TV though!
- Always ask someone to proof-read your resume – misspelled words, grammatical errors and formatting mistakes infer the writer lacks written communication skills and attention to detail so ask multiple people to check it for you.
- Aimed at graduates – J Bright, J Earl, D Winter (2013), Brilliant Graduate CV: How to get your first CV to the top of the pile, UK: Pearson Education Ltd
- Not specifically about resumes but great for common sense advice on job hunting – R Bolles (2016) What Color is My Parachute? 2017: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers, USA: Ten Speed Press