Tailoring your resume for the upcoming job fair
It seems like a resume is required for everything from finding a job to applying for graduate school. For students attending the job, internship and graduate school fair Feb. 6, a top-notch resume is essential.
Four tips to crafting an eye-catching resume for the job, internship and grad school fair are: careful formatting, tailoring the resume based on researching the employer, having a general resume on hand just in case and asking another set of eyes to review the document.
So why is formatting a resume such a big deal? A study conducted by “The Ladders” indicates recruiters spend less than six seconds reviewing an individual resume. At the fair, the employer will either only have time to do a brief scan of your document or they will have a stack of resumes they must review quickly after the fair.
This makes the format of a resume especially important. The information must be easy to read and concise. Ensure that the document is a single page.
Do not print on both sides of the paper. Resist the urge to make all the information fit by reducing margins and font size. The font size should be large enough for the employer to read without straining. Instead, make tough decisions on what to include.
Researching the companies attending the fair will help you choose what is relevant. This involves reviewing the employers in order to find out what they do and what kinds of positions they will be recruiting for at the fair.
The next step is to create a resume that specifically targets that employer. Using a targeted objective that explicitly states your goal, for example, “to obtain an engineering internship with Boeing” is one way to accomplish this. This sets a resume apart from other jobseekers who give employers more general resumes. When you make a targeted resume and mention a specific company, make sure you give the resume to the right company, or you have lost all the brownie points earned through targeting.
Another way of targeting a resume is to find a specific job posting and ensure the resume reflects the qualifications needed for the position. In “The Ladders” study, part of the six-second scan is looking for keywords. Thus, applicants should use the same wording as the company. For example, if a resume uses the words “people skills,” but the company uses “interpersonal skills” in their postings, the applicant will want to tailor the resume by changing “people” to “interpersonal.”
In general, resumes should be tailored to specific companies and opportunities. However, for the job, internship, and grad school fair, job-seeking students should also have a general copy of their resumes, just in case.
In a general resume, the individual’s strongest skills and accomplishments should be highlighted, especially ones that are transferable to many fields. Examples of transferable skills are leadership, communication and computer skills.
It is important to proofread and to have others review a resume before sharing it with potential employers. The Career Center staff, on the third floor of the Idaho Commons, can assist individuals in both the preparation and proofing process. Career Advisers can give helpful feedback on formatting, tailoring and content. Visit the Career Center in order to receive help with your resume.
Kelli Laxson is a Career Center Career Adviser and can be reached at email@example.com