The Resume Basics

Resume Basics

Your resume is your introduction to the recruiter

The resume is your first opportunity to introduce yourself to a recruiter. It is a good idea to carry it with you all the time because you never know when you are going to meet a recruiter on campus. As recruiters, we no longer scan hardcopy resumes into our systems. We have to receive softcopy resumes from you or the university. However, we look at hardcopy resumes all the time.

How do you name your resume?

The softcopy resume is often passed between hiring managers and HR so it is a good idea to give the file a good name. I suggest calling it: “Firstname_Lastname_Resume.PDF”. It is very important to use the PDF format because you can no longer assume that everyone uses Microsoft Word or that everyone has the latest version of Microsoft Word which uses the “.docx” format instead of the “.doc” format.  All recruiters and companies have the ability to read PDF files.

How long is the resume? 

If your getting a BS or MS degree, your resume should fit onto one page. I have rarely seen a BS or MS resume that could not fit onto one page. On the other hand, the PhD resume usually needs several pages to document publications, patents, presentations, and thesis information. When a BS or MS resume spreads across multiple pages, it is usually because it is not well-organized or documenting the right information.

Say what is relevant on the resume

The resume doesn’t need to say everything about you. It just needs to say what is important and relevant for you to get the job you want. When you are Freshmen and Sophomores, you might have information from your experiences in high school. This is okay, but as you move through college, it is important to replace the high school information with experiences you have during college. When I see high school information, I immediately think you are younger.

Use a standard resume

There are specific sections that I like to see in every resume. I will be writing about these sections in separate entries. I believe it is more important to use a standard resume than a unique resume that is different from other students. The standard resume is very easy to read while the unique resume requires more time for the recruiter. Please see my entry on The 10 Second Rule for a discussion on why it is important to use a standard resume. There are a few exceptions to this rule. If you are in the area of User-Centered Design or Human Computer Interaction, you might want to create a resume that shows off your creativity.

Know what is on your resume

One of the most important rules for resumes is to be able to talk about everything you put on your resume. The statement, “That project was a long time ago and I don’t remember it very well” is never a good thing to say. You should be able to speak positively and with some excitement about everything on your resume.

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