As students fill out job applications after graduation or apply for a summer internship, students will ask themselves: What goes on a resume? Do I have to include my GPA? What should it look like?
The answer: Don’t worry, because there’s no right answer to these questions. Every resume looks different, and each resume contains different content. The idea is to have a tangible piece of paper that provides background information to who you are and your qualifications for this position.
Here’s what a resume could like:
Finding a template is the easiest part of the process. You can do a quick google search and build a resume from an online template, or you can start from scratch and make your own. It’s up to you, but what you want to do is catch the employer’s eye without being too flashy. You want to aim for professional, not gaudy.
Basics include where you graduated high school (though not necessarily what year you graduated; you’re not required to give your age), if you graduated with honors, what college you did attend or are attending, your degree and your GPA/graduated honors (if your GPA is good or really good). This is just a quick overview of who you are, so don’t worry about this section; it’s easy. It’s basically the bio before delving into the depths of your credibility.
Where have you been? No, employers don’t want to hear about your family vacations or spring break trips, but they do want to see what experience you’ve gained throughout your adult life. Maybe you’ve never left Tennessee, or the Tri-Cities for that matter, and that’s okay. It’s not about where you’ve been as much as what you’ve done to explore your community.
Do you have a primary source of income – work, APA, scholarships, etc.? Have you volunteered anywhere? Did you staff a camp? Did you pick up a tutoring position? Find a separate piece of paper and list everything you’ve done that seems credible enough to list on a resume. If you only stayed at one place for a couple of weeks, don’t mention it. A resume is a list of things that makes you look good. Employers want to see consistency and reliability in their potential employees. Choose two to four positions you’ve had and follow up on their listing. What were/are your responsibilities? How long have you worked this gig? Mention how it’s credible to your application.
What else have you done? This is the category that requires some extra spark. Everyone should have done something by choice rather than out of necessity. This category is essentially the “cool” section. What makes you stand out from other applicants? Have you officially participated in something on campus – clubs, organizations, teams, etc.? Have you been nominated for an award? Have you won anything? Scholarships definitely count as an award.
Whatever you include in your resume, make sure your resume represents the best side of you. Make it look and seem like you’re experienced and eager for this position. Employers want to hire someone they feel are competent for the position. Have someone you trust check over it, preferably another professional, and revise when needed. Good luck!