By Jeff Adkins
You found the perfect internship or entry-level job, and you want to express your interest. The responsibilities of the position match up perfectly with your skills, and you know you’d be a great candidate. So what’s the first step in pursing the opportunity?
Typically, the first step would be submitting a copy of your résumé.
Résumés are an extension of you. The hiring manager will sort through many applicants, and you can maximize your chance of scoring an interview if you keep a few tips in mind while putting together your résumé.
Use consistent formatting and organization.
Of course you need to focus on good content and demonstrating that you have the necessary skills, but you also want to show that you pay attention to detail. Don’t write “Sept. – Dec.” in one section, and then “September – December” in another. Make your résumé clean, clear and consistent.
Keep it to one page.
Throughout your career, you’ll gain diverse experience through many opportunities. Eventually, your résumé might exceed one page. But if you’re applying for an internship or your first job, don’t exceed one page. Pick your strongest points, because an employer may only skim through your résumé once. The information should be readily available and easy to understand.
The objective statement—ditch it!
Most professionals today look at objectives as an outdated résumé piece. When you reach out to an organization regarding an internship, they already know what your objective is. You’ve learned professional skills, and now you’re ready to gain new experience by putting them to the test! Objective statements won’t sharpen your résumé, and if they’re not done properly, they can actually hurt you.
Another reason to stay away from objectives: they limit your possibilities. Perhaps the position you’re applying for was recently filled. Avoiding an objective statement means an employer may consider you for another available position. Make yourself versatile and maximize your chance of getting hired—lose the objective statement!
Use action words, but be honest about your experience.
You should use strong verbs to describe your experience, but don’t overdo it. If you contributed to developing media strategy, then say that. But don’t say, “Created a media strategy plan.” This can be misleading because it makes it seem like you did more than you actually did. Be honest and clear.
If you’re having a hard time finding strong résumé words, check out this list for some ideas.
Customize your résumé for each job application.
Each time you learn about a new job opportunity, keep in mind that they’re probably looking for candidates with specific skills. Don’t make your résumé generic—it’s not a one-size-fits-all document. Find out what the employer is looking for, and then consider your skills and how you can demonstrate that you’re the strongest candidate.
You most likely won’t have to start from scratch, but tailor the résumé by removing information that is irrelevant to the job. Highlight your abilities by keeping the important information near the top and the lesser information near the bottom.