Resumes create your professional image, and therefore should be carefully crafted to present only the most important and helpful information to potential employers. In this post, we cover the most important strategies for filling your resume with the right information:
Your heading should contain your first and last name, as well as your phone number, email, Berkeley address, and any other pertinent contact information.
Typically, education sections are first under the heading. When listing Berkeley as your education, write out the whole thing as University of California, Berkeley. Under it, list your (intended) major, GPA (omit if you are a first semester freshman), and “Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholar” (watch the apostrophes). Be sure to add dates that clarify when you intend to graduate, as this is highly relevant to employers. If you feel that listing relevant coursework would be appropriate, you can do so in a subheading under this section. Avoid listing general or introductory courses.
The experience portion of your resume can be divided into various categories, based on professional positions, volunteer work, or leadership experience. A logical way to order your activities under each of these categories is chronologically, though you may also order them in order of most relevant to the position you are applying to.
Each experience should be labeled with its title, your position, and the date and place at which it occurred. Following these, use between 2 and 4 bullet points to discuss the most important parts of the experience. Use interesting action verbs, and avoid intensifiers (e.g. really, very), over-used descriptors (e.g. detail-oriented, team player), and adjectives that are difficult to qualify (e.g. excellent).
As tempting as it is, don’t include everything you’ve ever done. Most recruiters only glance at a resume for ten seconds, and won’t examine your resume to extract every detail. Remember that your resume’s purpose is to get you an interview – it won’t get you the job. Your intention is to impress with every single experience and leave the impression that you’ve done much more than you’ve listed. Less is more – make every word count.
An awards section can be a useful way to highlight your achievements. If you choose to include an awards section in your resume, make sure each achievement is bulleted, and has a date.
Lastly, a skills section can catch the eye, as long as the skills are impressive to potential employers. Only list specific programs or languages in which you are proficient, avoiding phrases like “leadership” or “time management.”
As with resume layout, many of these suggestions are up to your interpretation. You may play around with titles and organization, but remember that employers are looking for clarity and professionalism. Even a single spelling mistake can give a bad impression, so make sure your resume is as flawless as possible.
Keep a catalogue of your experiences, and have a set of working resumes with different experiences, depending on the type of position you are applying to. Keep some printed resumes in a folder or work bag for networking events and interviews, as well as at any position you currently hold. Additionally, consider having a digital copy of your resume on your phone, in order to email someone on the spot.
For details on how to format your resume, see our previous blog post on resume layout.