This past month, I had the difficult task of helping my department’s Internship Committee sort through a pile of resumes for our summer program. I saw a great deal of talent, but I was also extremely surprised to see a significant portion of applicants overlook common sense details. It went beyond typos; think: a resume in size 26 font, making what should have laid out on one page a three-page submission. These kinds of mistakes should never make their way past the first draft of your experience – yes, you should go through multiple drafts – but what about tips for most effecitvely highlighting your skills for employers?
Put Your Best Foot Forward
If you’re still in college or have recently graduated, you may think that it’s best to put your college experience at the top of your resume because it is the most recent material. While companies think it’s great that you did work study in the library for four years, they would rather see any professional internships that show your understanding of the industry listed first. Consider dividing your resume into three simple categories, such as Professional, Communication, and Education. This way, you can still highlight the skills that you picked up as a resident assistant or president of a sorority while pushing real-world PR experience to the forefront.
Pick and Choose
Resumes should showcase skills that directly relate to the position you want to land. It can be daunting to know what to include…so some people throw in everything, from summer stints as an ice cream server to working part-time in a wallpaper store. Unless you can find very concrete ways that these jobs deserve note – like you helped to increase revenue by fifty percent by creating a grassroots campaign – leave them off. If nothing else, this is a great incentive to find creative ways to stand out in part-time jobs to build up marketable skills.
Tweet, Like, and Link Your Way In
As if PPRA hasn’t made it painfully clear already, social media is an integral part of communications strategy. It is acceptable – and, in my opinion, necessary – to emphasize your active participation on social media channels. My own resume now includes social media as a skill, as well as lists my Twitter handle and LinkedIn address so that employers can see how I utilize them on a daily basis.
These are only a few of many things to consider when drafting a resume. You will surely write and re-write your resume a few times in your life, and a good foundation out of college will make that all the easier. I highly encourage all students and young alumni to utilize their university’s career services department, as well as supervisors from their internships, to continually strengthen your resume for whatever opportunities may arise.
This blog post was written by Christine Guerrini. Christine Guerrini is a member of the public relations team at Tierney agency in Center City Philadelphia. A Villanova grad, Christine specializes in media relations, social media and research. She has worked with clients in non-profit, law, technology, hospitality, and B2B fields. Outside of work, Christine is an avid fan of the Arts, whether exploring museums or sitting down with a novel. Connect with Christine on Twitter (@CMGuerrini) or at http://www.linkedin.com/in/christineguerrini .