BY: Peer Career Coach Priscilla Akpabio.
Read about her and our other Peer Career Coaches HERE.
This week I will be sharing some tips on how to create a resume. As a freshman, I struggled to start a resume so I’m excited to help. Hopefully you find these tips useful in your resume and career building path. If you already have a resume, that’s great- you can read through to make sure you aren’t missing anything. If you’ve never gone through the process of making a resume, even better. I will be walking you through everything you need to know to get started.
1: Get a sheet of paper and write bullet points about anything you’ve done so far- whatever information about yourself and your professional life you would want people to know. That could include schools attended, technical skills acquired (for professional resumes you would typically have software, coding languages, or workshop skills- we recommend omitting soft skills to conserve space), work experience, projects worked on, any clubs or societies joined, leadership or executive positions, awards received, scholarships received, volunteer work, sports and any other co-curricular activities. You would want to limit this to college if you are an upperclassman, but high school information is fine if you are a freshman or sophomore.
2: Filter the Information. Consider these 3R’s; Recent, Relevant and Resonate. Here, I would like you to think about what information on your resume is most recent, what information is relevant to your field and whatever job you are applying to, and finally what information you resonate most with. Consider what experiences you are passionate about, or what you are most comfortable talking about. It is important to go through this filtering step because this determines the quality of the content your resume will have. We also keep in mind that resumés are ideally a page long, so we have limited space to communicate who we are, what we are about and what we are capable of. I would advise keeping this information as clear and concise as possible.
3: Put all your information down in one page and consider the order of the information. The IIT career services website has so many useful tools to help with organizing your resumé. There is a Resume Guide that explain how to put down all this information and how to organize it in a particular order. Typically, the order is: name and contact information, summary, skills, work experience, projects. You can also add any relevant course work or co-curricular activities. There is also a resume template on the career services website that I strongly recommend especially if you’ve never had a resume before. It can be downloaded as a word document and is quite easy to edit. It might seem impossible to put down all this information on just one page and if that happens I recommend taking out the summary. Summaries can get redundant especially if all the information is on your resume either way.
4: Give a brief description under every work experience or project. The purpose of this is to give prospective employers and recruiters more information on your projects and work experience. I would advise keeping these descriptions to two or three bullet points and making these bullet points two sentences each. Space is always a good factor to consider so make sure that these sentences are as clear and concise as possible. I also recommend quantifying and highlighting the positive impact of your project or work. For this you would also need to use action verbs to begin each statement/sentence (there is a list of action verbs on the Resume Guide)
5: Review your resume and check for spelling errors and typos. This is often overlooked but it is quite important. It sends a bad message when your resume has typos. You want to show that you are organized and pay attention to details. Having typos on your resume sends the opposite message.
I hope this was informative and that you had as much fun reading this as I did writing it. If you ever need any clarifications, please stop by the career service office. We have office hours from 12:30-2:30 pm every day. Good luck on your resume building!!