Friday, October 21, 2011

Resumania: Standing Above the Rest at #PRSSANC

During this year's PRSSA National Conference, I was one of the lucky few attendees to be randomly selected to attend an exclusive resume critique. The critique allowed students to sit at a table with one to two additional students, and receive personalized feedback from experienced professionals in the industry.

I had the opportunity to speak with three professionals in a variety of fields, ranging from international PR to public affairs. Their wide range of experience provided me with a wide range of advice and I wanted to share the main points that I found most helpful.

1. Write your resume in AP style. Although it isn't required, it is an extra touch that will show employers that you are familiar with AP while demonstrating that you have taken the extra time to pay special attention to detail.

2. Education should come AFTER experience. Everyone applying for the job has received a BA from some university, therefore its not going to make you stand out. Catch employers attention immediately by putting your most relevant experience at the very top of your resume.

3. The bigger your name, the better. Your name should pop on your resume and should be the first thing the eye is drawn to. Make the font bigger and bolder to make a bold statement on your resume.

4. Make two versions of your resume. Many people say they receive resumes longer than a page and they throw them out almost immediately. Create a comprehensive but thoughtful one-page resume in order to secure the interview. However, after landing an interview, bring a two-page resume with you that has more detail and information in order to demonstrate all of your experience.

5. Use strong verbs to demonstrate your experience. Get rid of the "responsible for..." and replace it with stronger words such as "managed" or "implemented." Your potential employer doesn't care about what you were responsible for but what you were able to achieve with the responsibilities assigned to you. Show these achievements through statistics, numbers and growth.

After ending each session, each professional made sure to state that many times, resume critiques are a matter of individual opinion or preference and that everyone will tell you something different. It is up to you to feel confident in your resume because you know yourself and your accomplishments better than everyone else. You have a single sheet of paper to make yourself make it count!

Do you have any other advice for building a strong resume? Let us know!

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