Check for spelling errors! (and 7 other resume tips for the Career Fair)

A resume. The toughest one-page paper you’ll likely ever write. When done well, this document could be the ticket to your next job. When written poorly, it likely guarantees you won’t be selected for an interview.

No pressure.

With the CPCC Career Fair just three weeks away, it’s time to start polishing your resume to give you a better chance of impressing the employers.

Here are eight tips for creating a resume that employers will look at favorably.

1. Keep it to one page. Studies show you have six seconds at most to make a good impression, since that’s the average amount of time recruiters spend on a resume. A two-page resume doesn’t work with this short attention span.

2. Develop a targeted resume.  Once you know the companies you plan to visit at the Career Fair, target your resume for each of them. Best place to start is with the objective. Yes, it will be time consuming, but yes it will be worth it!

3. Start job descriptions with action verbs. Remember your composition class where you learned the importance of writing complete sentences using subjects and verbs? Put that training on hold for the resume. Start with action verbs when listing your job duties. Avoid personal pronouns. If you can say something in two words instead of five, do it.

4. Use bullet points.

  • Paragraphs are visually long and therefore a turnoff.
  • Not every item needs a bullet point.
  • Using too many bullet points ruins the effect.

5. Check for spelling errors. Grammatical and spelling errors still top the list of reasons employers reject resumes. Don’t rely on spell check. Scrutinize your resume forwards and backwards. Have someone else review for errors, too.

6. Use keywords but avoid rambling. Keywords are words or phrases specific to an industry. Employers use them the same way you use search words on Google. Make sure your resume reflects keywords for your targeted industry.

At the same time, leave out unnecessary details. The interview will be your opportunity to provide more explanation. The resume is a summary of accomplishments and qualifications.

7. Make sure the appearance is consistent and standardized. Avoid fancy fonts. Stick with the standards like Times New Roman, Arial or Calbri. Your name can appear in a slightly larger font, but keep the rest of the text within 10-11 point font size. Don’t change font sizes or styles midway through the resume. If you bold one job title bold all of them. Putting one category title in all caps? Then do so for the other category titles, too.

8. Have your resume reviewed by a Career Services career counselor. Schedule an appointment with a career counselor who can give your resume a professional review and offer tips for improvement. The Central campus office offers Drop In services (Mon-Fri 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) with no appointment necessary.

Employers are eager to talk to you about your resume next month. Is your resume ready for them?