As a Schar School graduate student, you should have a solid resume that showcases your previous educational experience, professional work, and involvement. As you progress through your degree program, it is important to continue to add to your resume as you have new experiences.
When meeting with Schar School graduate students during career consult appointments, I like to describe resumes as living documents; they should be constantly changing depending on your place in your career path. If you’re looking to add an extra boost to your resume, here are four of my top tips:
- Remove an objective statement and include an executive summary/ highlights section.
Objectives can be obvious, redundant, and take up valuable space on the top a resume. If you’re applying for a position, you probably are interested in obtaining that position. A better use of the space at the beginning of your resume is to have an executive summary and/or highlights section. This gives you the opportunity to show off your greatest accomplishments and most relevant skills in a few brief bullet points. This information allows recruiters and employers to be primed with the most important information about you as they scan the rest of your resume.
- Include major projects and research in your education section.
Your graduate degree is extremely valuable, and it is useful to demonstrate to employers how you are applying the knowledge you are gaining from your degree program. Beyond including your actual degree on your resume, it is important to include any major projects or research work you are involved in. This shows what type of skills you’ve developed and enhanced. I would caution you not to include every single paper or project from your coursework. Wisely choose your best work or the substantial work product that is similar to what you’d be creating on the job.
- Evaluate the importance of your previous work and involvement experiences.
As you progress in your career path, you may find that previous jobs you’ve held or your involvement in organizations may not be as relevant to the field you’re hoping to work in. Take inventory of the experiences you have on your resume and determine what type of purpose they have. Are they important to show your complete employment history? Do they demonstrate transferrable skills? If you feel like an older experience isn’t as relevant anymore, feel free to remove it. You can also pare it down and include only a couple of bullet points, rather than larger in-depth description, which will create more room on your resume for more relevant experiences.
- Use the right words in your bullet points.
Make sure the bullet points you use to describe your work experiences are powerful and descriptive of your responsibilities. It is important to demonstrate your impact and quantify your achievements in your roles. Avoid vague phrases like “responsible for” or “duties include.” Be clear and descriptive. Additionally, make sure you are using the correct language for your industry. Generally, employers are looking for specific keywords on your resume. Make sure you are incorporating these types of words. You may have the skills needed for the job but simply need to tweak how you are explaining them on your resume.
Remember, your resume gets you the interview, and then your interview gets you the job. It is important to make sure you are constantly adding to your resume to illustrate that you are a strong candidate to potential employers. Follow these four simple steps, and that alone will make a big difference in how you resume is interpreted by recruiters.