Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Resume Revision

I was reading some of the resumes that students submitted to me, and I thought that I would give folks a "head's up" to prepare for the interviews next week.

Remember that readers of resumes will average between 6-8 SECONDS to make the decision if they want to read more. Good first impressions count.

Personal Information:
1. Make this easy to find and easy to read.
2. Make it easy for them to contact you. Give them options to find you. If you are difficult to track down, they may lose interest.
3. So, right now, check the message on your cell phone and your "family" phone. Will they give the caller the right impression? Will they give them the information that they have contact YOU?
4. Make sure your email address is accurate, appropriate, and professional. This is not the place for "cute" or "clever" addresses. Again, the address should link the sender to you (your name).
5. You may want to complete a web search on yourself. What's out there that could make you less desirable to people you want to impress? Don't kid yourself, people and institutions often check, so make sure you are giving the impression that will make them want you.

I scouted out some sites online for recommendations to give students. One site said the most important aspect of the resume was a CLEAR, CONCISE "objective."

Some questions to help shape your objectives...

Is your objective really to be accepted at a school of your choice?
My guess is that you want more than that. I am guessing that you want to earn a degree from that institution as well. Let me give you an example:

To get accepted into a four-year college or university.
To earn an undergraduate degree to prepare me to teach math on the secondary level.
I think the second is clearer and gives a stronger impression of what you want to accomplish.

Who are you to judge?
Be careful with judgmental words in your objective, such as "a high-quality university." My question is this: Why would you be applying to a university whose quality measure up to your standards?

What if you haven't made a decision about what you want to do with the rest of your life? My guess is that you will hate this question long before June 13, 2010! Then what do you write for your objective?

To earn a four-year degree while exploring my interests in science and performance music.

This objective tells the reader that you plan to graduate with a degree and that you plan to use the time at their school to explore. It doesn't leave that exploration boundless; rather, it shapes what you plan to examine more deeply.

Shape your resume to its particular purpose:
1. Revising resumes is relatively easy. Have different resumes for different purposes. Be sure to promote yourself in the ways that demonstrate you fit what they are looking for.
2. Update your resume for the interview to make it most useful for you to use. If you are applying to schools or for scholarships (there's quite a bit of money out there if you can find it!) in the next several months. Make the work you do "count"!

1. Before you publish your resume on resume paper (yes, you need to do that for this assignment), put it through the best spell-check program you can find.
2. Take the time to choose carefully from "suggestions" the spell-check offers. You may want to do it with a dictionary near by.
3. Then, and only then, bring your resume to the BEST editor/proofreader you know. You are asking a favor of that person. Treat it as such.
4. When you have your resume in the BEST condition you can get it, print it on resume paper. You can buy single sheets of it from the media center. I think it cost about ten cents a sheet.