Summer internship season is upon us. Professor Shelly Najor invited professionals to speak with students on Feb. 26 about insider advice for pre-professional resumes.
Jessica Archer, Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications at Wayne State University, suggests a one-page resume with the name enlarged at the top with a stylized, but simple format. Space should be consolidated where possible. Archer says she tailors her resume to each job application, just as one should customize a cover letter. The two should work intuitively together. Skill buzzwords should be worked into active job descriptions rather than in their own skill section, and repetitive or non-relevant positions or activities should be left out.
“Be google-able,” suggests Archer. In addition to a hard copy resume, pre-professionals and professionals alike should utilize resources such as LinkedIn and portfolio websites. Establishing a professional web presence is an opportunity to impress potential employers and showcase some technical skills.
Shawn Wright, a PR coordinator for Wayne State University, reinforced Archer’s advice about a one-page, simple format, with a large name header. Bullet points keep things brief and easy to digest. Wright says resumes should be kept up-to-date and direct. Activities and awards are fair game but should be relevant and application-specific, rather than an extensive history of all achievements.
Likewise, high school and pre-college education should be omitted unless particularly relevant. Only technical skills should be listed in the “Skill” category. Personal skills can be worked into job descriptions or emerge naturally during interviews. Cover letters and references should be provided only upon request, says Wright.
D’arrin Hardy, an internal and external communications employee for General Motors, regularly reads resumes for internship positions within her company. As someone who looks over hundreds of resumes at a time, Hardy endorsed clean, concise formatting and descriptions. Information should be easy to see and ordered by importance, since resumes only have a few seconds to make an impression says Hardy. Walking the walk with good grammar and AP style is important.
Those with little experience would benefit from listing volunteer, internship and relevant school experiences before any other less relevant job experience. Showing potential employers any efforts made to be involved in the field as a pre-professional can be as effective as traditional experience. Hardy stresses the importance of being able to talk strongly about oneself and looking for opportunities that show individual drive.
Alex Burgel is a junior public relations student at Wayne State. She works in Detroit at Hopcat, where she talks to lots of people about craft beer and forces her roommate and cat to try her experimental vegetarian cuisine in her spare time. One day, she would love to do PR or event coordinating for a non-profit. You can find her on LinkedIn.