February 6, 2013

Dear Freshmen: how to use your resume as your best advocate

By Tyler Mercer–

The spring semester is in full swing now and you’re wondering what else you should be focusing on. Aren’t classes enough? Well, yes and no. College is not only about getting an education that you will hopefully use for the rest of your life in a career that will be as success as you want it to be, but it’s also about setting the stage for that career.

The education you get here at the University of Louisville is invaluable and should be taken very seriously. However, that resume you made in high school probably isn’t going to cut it in the real world. When you graduate you’re going to be competing for your dream job with a large amount of other people who all have degrees and educations just like you. That means you need to stand out. You need to be able to offer something special that no one else has.

Internships, part-time jobs and countless other programs are all important things to become involved in while you’re still a student. They will give you valuable experience in the field of your choice and will most likely provide you will a nice network of people you can connect with later in life to get your foot in the door.

While stressing the importance of work experience and connections will never be lost, you now need a standout way to present that information to employers. Before you get an interview, you give someone your resume and based on that single sheet of paper, the employer you want to hire you determines whether or not to even call you to set up an interview. If he or she gets nine other resumes, all of that black print on a white background is going to seem pretty unoriginal and drab.

That doesn’t mean you need to print your resume on blue, scented paper. It means you need to find a way to make your resume standout and be remembered. You want to leave everyone wanting more. Your resume should be a marketing ploy to sell a product and that product is you.

Now you’re wondering how in the world to spice up your resume. How do you make being a busser at a family restaurant or a pro-shop attendant sound like jobs that you gained experience from that you want to use? Use words that are straightforward, but still shine your job in the best light possible. For your job bussing tables, instead of saying you wiped tables down after patrons leave the restaurant, use words like sanitized and organized. For your retail position, say that you assisted customers with purchases and organized the showroom.

In today’s world, everything you can find in print you can find online. Our generation especially uses computers to do almost anything we need them to. You stay in contact with your friends on the computer, you keep up with the news on your computer and you do your school work on the computer. Employers want people who already know how to utilize the computer and can do so with little to know training. Put all of that on your resume in terms similar to this: Proficient with Microsoft Word, Distinguished abilities with Photoshop.

You have to be your best advocate in everything that you do. Not only do you know yourself better than anyone else does, but you know what you’re best at and what you have a passion for most. Use that to make yourself look the best you can on paper.

If you are a little more computer savvy or you’re willingly to put a lot of effort into it, people are starting to realize how beneficial online resumes can be. Philippe Dubost, a web product manager, created an online resume for himself that you can view at phildub.com. The online resume includes everything you would typically see on a paper resume and so much more.

The page is set up to resemble an Amazon product page and has a picture of Dubost as though the page was selling him like a product. He utilizes the Amazon theme throughout the page and uses language that truly makes the page look like he is being sold.

If you simply aren’t knowledgeable enough to create your own website, transfer some of Dubost’s ideas to another platform. You could develop a new paper resume that resembled something like a product page from a website like Amazon. Choose a theme and stick to it. That theme will catch an employer’s eye and will make him or her want to know more about you. After that all you’ll need to worry about is looking good for your interview.

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