Classroom 224, Episode 8 “Résumé”

Welcome to the eighth episode of Classroom 224. My name is Butler Cain, and I’m your host and producer.

Students need to have a résumé. This is a vital document in your efforts to secure employment. It needs to represent you professionally and provide potential supervisors with an accurate sense of your experiences and abilities.

Let me say this from the outset: people have very strong opinions about résumés, and this episode is not intended to be the definitive take on what they should look like. I will, however, share four basic ideas worth considering.

Number 1 – Create multiple versions. Don’t think of your résumé as one-version-fits-all. It should be tailored to fit the opportunity to which you are applying. The changes could be fairly simple, such as moving one section higher on the page to highlight a specific set of skills. Make sure it prioritizes experiences that are directly related to the job. Remember, the point of a résumé is to introduce yourself and, hopefully, get an interview.

Number 2 – Conservative versus Creative. This is where some strategy comes into play. Do you submit a straightforward, black-and-white résumé? Or do you throw in some color and a dash of creative design? It depends on the job. If you are pursuing a creative position but use a conservative résumé, that could potentially work against you. On the flip side, the person reviewing résumés may hate your color or design, meaning a straightforward résumé might have made it through the initial cut. Think about it, and then be at peace with your decision.

Number 3 – Make it easy to scan. Your résumé doesn’t have to tell your life’s story – just some relevant highlights. Structure it in a way that invites the reviewer to spend 20 or 30 seconds skimming over it. Have clearly-defined sections. Use white space to create breaks on the page, and use a font size that is easy to read. For most college students, a one-page résumé should be enough.

Number 4 – Be consistent. Whatever your résumé looks like, make sure it features internal consistency. If you use bullet points instead of dashes, do that for the entire document. Headings, layout, and sentence structure should follow whatever rules you have applied.

Here’s a final thought. There are two piles on the reviewer’s desk – the “no” pile and the “maybe” pile. Do everything you can to create a résumé that lands you in the “maybe” pile. That gets you through the first cut and increases your chances of getting an interview.

I know somebody out there has a résumé tip, so share it on this episode’s page at ButlerCain – dot – com.

On the next episode, I’ll talk about joining student, professional, and service organizations. These groups are essential to your development, and they enrich your undergraduate experience.

The music you hear on this podcast was produced by Kipp Cain and is used with his permission.

You’ve been listening to Classroom 224, I’m Butler Cain. Take care, everybody.

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