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Time for a Resume Revamp

April 25, 2013

When it comes to resumes, your work is never done. It’s likely you at least a draft together – maybe from your part-time job or internship search- but if you’re graduating in the next 6 months it’s time to look at your old resume from a new angle. It’s time to shift from you: the student to you: the professional.

In case you missed our resume workshop last night on Resumes for Industry Events, here are a few pointers for revamping your resume to pursue jobs after graduation.

Consider your audience

A good resume is a targeted resume. That means you should have a good idea of who this is going to (what type of companies, which positions), and what that audience wants. You can gather this info from job postings- note the skills, experience, qualities referenced often. But you also gain important insight from talking to people in the industry- instructors, internship supervisors, networking contacts. What you learn from your research will help with all of the decisions you make about content.

Refocus

Resumes differ a lot by industry, but there are a few things we know to be true. For part-time jobs, your prior part-time work experience is most important to the reader. For internships, it’s a combination of your work history and the academic foundation of knowledge you’ve built. When we get to the point of applying to jobs, your industry related experience is the highlight. This often means cutting some of your academic content, like courses and scholarships that are not widely know outside of Columbia. It also means reordering so your most relevant experience is listed at the top of the resume.

Rewrite

People who hire recent grads want individuals who are talented, professional, self-directed and motivated. Approach your job descriptions (and the resume as a whole) as a chance to showcase what you’ve accomplished. How can you prove you did more than just show up to your internship every day? Include details of projects you improved and initiated. Check out our action verb guide for ideas about developing strong wording.Consider the difference:

- Helped with shows
versus
- Supported pre-production by overseeing stage set-up, organizing RSVP lists and preparing the hospitality room

How can you prove that you did more than attend classes each day? Include volunteer work in your industry- bands you managed, fashion shows where you volunteered, films you supported as a PA.

Redesign

Now it is especially important to move away from the outdated Word template or Times New Roman font. The best resume formats are unique but not distracting. Experiment with different fonts, one or two colors, different lines, columns and spacing changes that help make this document stand out and remain easy to navigate. We have a few samples on our site, and there are tons available online as well.

Review

Get feedback early and often! This should get lots of test reads before it starts going out. Bring it to instructors, supervisors, and of course, our staff.

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