My college-aged niece needed a resume to seek paid internships for the summer.
She had taken a template she found online and inserted her relevant information. She asked her mother to pass it along to me for approval. Here’s my response:
Your mom forwarded your resume in which you asked for approval. Sorry, I’m not going to approve this version. Let me tell you why. Resumes are over rated. That’s not to say you can get away with not having one, but they tend to exist primarily for HR. As long as we have to adhere to HR requirements, we need to have one of the darn things.
You can probably guess that I’m a bit of a contrarian. While I hate the darn things, they are necessary.
So let’s look at the purpose of a resume. The primary purpose of your document is to obtain an interview. The way you get an interview is to separate yourself from the herd. DO NOT be like everyone else! Don’t be too far out there, but write a document that calls attention to your strengths, skills and qualifications….accentuate the positive, big time!
So what does your current document show?
- You’re a college student;
- You’re looking for a position in museum PR or marketing;
- You’ve taken some media courses;
- You know first aid;
- You’ve had some work experience.
Let’s talk about what you should be showing:
- LEADERSHIP! … I can’t stress this enough. You, my dear, are a leader. You’ve sought out leadership challenges in every role that I’m aware of. The most obvious, of course, is your Gold Award in Girl Scouts. You’re someone who steps up and assumes responsibility and leadership roles. You have to work on this message.
- Stories that demonstrate your leadership and showcase your abilities. I seem to recall a newspaper article your mom sent a while back about a resolution you convinced your local city council to pass. I’m not seeing it in your current document. Why not?! People remember stories Tell stories – briefly and crisply – about your leadership accomplishments
- A communicator…Communications majors communicate, darn it! Don’t just list course work. Oh, and by the way, check your spelling and tenses.
I know all this because I know you. But HR or a hiring manager won’t get it from this document. You’ll just go into a pile with everyone else. Low percentage job seeking. Be different – not weird – but stand out.
So, if you were my client, here’s what I’d suggest: Draft a document that showcases leadership and responsibility. Then get on LinkedIn.
I just did a search on LinkedIn for people who went to your college and got about 17,000 hits in my network, and you’re the only one I know there. When I filtered for your hometown, 1,378 people show up. Get on LinkedIn and connect with these people. Alumni networks are powerful resources for referrals.
The point is you need to tell the story you want heard. That’s not happening with the current document. Moreover, you can’t do just one thing. You have to use a variety of methods to find the job you want. Alumni networks are one of the best ways to reach out to people. Alums love helping budding young professionals from their alma maters. Take advantage of their networks.
So not what you expected, huh? Not to worry; all is not lost. You’ve got a good start, but it needs work. Let’s talk about the best way to make your resume stronger.