Resume Tips

Craft Your Resume with These 5 Tips

A typwriter and a piece of paper that reads resume

By Emilee Smith G’16

We all have experience stressing over resumes. We know how important the resume can be when making good first impressions and securing job interviews. But how exactly do you go about creating the most effective resume?

Well, I’ll tell you…

1. What is perfect? Before crafting your resume, first recognize that there is no such thing as “perfect.” Everyone is unique and no one’s resume will look exactly the same. It’s important to recognize this so that you can go about making what is the best resume for you.
2. Keep it short. While we all have a lot to offer, hiring managers are looking for brevity when they are wading through hundreds of applications. Pick your most impressive experiences and accomplishments and limit them to one page. After all, they can always ask you for more information during your interview.
3. Keep it clean. Don’t crowd your resume with small, overflowing text. Aim for a clean, modern, design with ample white space. The more attractive it is, the more likely someone is to pay attention to it. If you have design experience, consider using Adobe InDesign to create your resume, taking advantage of the program’s capacity to create custom margins and layouts.
4. Establish hierarchy. Design your resume in a way that forces viewers to see the most important aspects first. When applying for professional jobs, it is already implied that you have a college degree. Therefore, you don’t need to place education at the top. Instead, consider listing relevant experience first.
5. Edit frequently. This is a living document, which means you should be revisiting it constantly. Tailoring the document to every application will demonstrate to employers how serious you are about the position.
6. Ask for advice. Improve your resume by seeking out professors, mentors, and career counselors. While you may not always agree with the advice they give you, hearing different opinions will give you insight as to how other people view your resume.

By following these tips you will not only improve your resume, but also further your career. Don’t be afraid of writing and editing your resume. Embrace the challenge and use it to your advantage!

5 Valuable Tips from Career Crash Course

By Danchen Zhou, G’14, Career Services Public Relations Intern

Danchen Zhou, public relations intern at Career Services.
Danchen Zhou, M.S. ’14, Career Services Public Relations Intern

On Friday, March 28, Syracuse University Career Services hosted a crash course on campus providing students with five career-focused workshops.  Presenters were recruiters from IBM, JPMorgan Chase, Northwestern Mutual, O’Brien & Gere, and U.S. Secret Service.  Here are some of the most valuable tips and insights regarding resume writing, personal branding, networking, interviewing, and financial management-

1.  Resumes: “Just a tiny little minute, but eternity is in it.”*
The recruiting manager from JPMorgan Chase said he would not spend more than one minute reviewing a resume. With only one minute, it’s important to learn how to tell a whole story explaining why you are a good fit for the position on a one-page resume. Also, use numbers to show the outcome and impact of your experiences. Finally, proofread your resume. Make sure your resume is typo-free, which indicates that you are a detailed-oriented person.

2.  Personal Branding: Make yourself stand out and be your own boss.
Take a few minutes to think and write down the strengths that make you stand out. If you have trouble identifying your strengths, ask your friends who know you well, or utilize some online tools, such as StrengthFinder 2.0. Once you realize your strengths, manage yourself like a boss manages its company. Take ownership of your career because it’s your choice where you lead your own path.

Students in J. P. Morgan Chase's resume presentation.
Student listen to advice from JPMorgan Chase about building effective resumes during the Career Crash Course.

3.  Networking: Don’t just take – give.
Whether you are searching for a job, or you are trying to connect with an alumnus, a common mistake is that you emphasize what they can offer you.  But why don’t you try to think about what you can give to them instead? You have connections and some information that matters to them, too. In a way, the networking process should be beneficial for both of you.

4.  Interviewing: Bring out your thoughts that can add value to the company.
The representative from IBM talked about the importance of doing research before the interview. For instance, reading balance sheets of any publicly-traded company can help you learn more about their business strategies and then you could reference this information during an interview. It’s also a way to take charge of the interview by offering your own thoughts.

5.  Financial Management: Start early and have a plan.
The representative from Northwestern Mutual shared a point that rich people get rich because they stay away from debt. To eliminate the amount of loans and avoid a poor credit score, you need to start planning your finances even while you are still in college.  The first thing is to determine what you need rather than what you want. Mint is a good App to record and calculate your expenses so that you are aware where your money has gone.  It will also help you establish a long-term strategic plan for savings. In addition, you need to familiarize yourself with financial policies and procedures, such as 10-99 Form, W-4 Form, and W-2 Form.

*Benjamin Mays Poem God’s Minute

You've studied abroad…now use it to stand out!

By Christina Faulkner, Career Services’ Employer Relations Program Coordinator

So you’re back in the States after a semester abroad; you’ve explored a new place, culture, and maybe a new language too. Your semester abroad can be a great leverage point on your resume and in an interview to help set you apart from other candidates!

Christina in Niokolo Koba National Park during her study abroad experience in Senegal.
Christina in Niokolo Koba National Park during her study abroad experience in Senegal.

Put it on your resume
Your resume is often the first method of contact you will make with a potential employer, so you want it to stand out against all of the other resumes they see. Having experience abroad distinguishes you from other candidates because it shows that you can adapt to new environments and be independent.

Depending on how relevant your study abroad experience is to the job you are applying for, you can list it briefly or more in-depth. Always include the location, duration, and title of the program on your resume. If you studied at a university while in your host country, include the name of the university as well. If your study abroad experience is directly applicable to the job, you can expand on it by sharing the classes you took (and whether they were in a language other than English), research projects you conducted, what you learned, and/or skills you gained.

If you held an internship, volunteered, or conducted research abroad, add your title and duties under the appropriate section of your resume.

Include any languages you learned abroad in the skills section of your resume. Add your proficiency in the language – basic, intermediate, conversational, or fluent.

Examples:

Resume Pic Christina

Talk about it in an interview
What you choose to put on your resume, including study abroad experience, may come up in an interview; if it’s on your resume, then you should be prepared to discuss it. You can also use experiences from your trip abroad to answer behavioral interview questions. Examples:

Interview Christina

Examples like these can show you are adaptable, determined, a good communicator, and so much more!

Everyone’s study abroad experience is unique and challenging in its own way, so use it to prove that you are the right person for the job. Be proud of your experience abroad – you learned, explored, and put yourself out there!

For individual help, please visit us during drop-ins! These times will change beginning May 13, so please keep an eye on our website.
Monday           12 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday          12 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Wednesday      3 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Thursday          2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Jerejef! (Thank you!)

Just Keep Swimming!

By Shannon Feeney Andre, Employer Relations Coordinator

For the seniors wondering “what’s next;” for the juniors needing internships; for the first-year and sophomore students just starting out – have no fear, Career Services is here!  With three-and-a-half weeks left until the spring semester ends, there is still time to figure out what to do this summer.  Our office offers a variety of services to help students with their career development from the basics like resume writing to more in-depth conversations about your major.  If you aren’t sure what to do next, here are some tips to get you started:

Resume Help

  • Drop-in hours are a great opportunity for you to have that extra set of eyes review your resume.  These fifteen minute sessions allow you to ask the important questions and assure you that your resume is ready to go.  Check out our drop-in hours on the Career Services’ homepage.
  • Career Guides offer a full range of advice on everything career-related; however, if you’re just starting out, the section on resume writing is great place to find the main components.  We even produce three editions based on your class level: Freshman/Sophomore, Junior/Senior, and Master’s.

Job/Internship Search Resources

  • OrangeLink is the online job and internship board managed by Career Services.  All students have access to the postings on this site.  It’s easy to get started – just log into MySlice and under the ‘Career Services’ header, click on the link to OrangeLink.  If you’re an alumnus needing access, contact our Help Desk at 315.443.9093.
  • Indeed.com is a Meta search engine that allows you to look for positions based on keywords and location.  It’s a great place to start looking for jobs and internships since it gives you the ability to pull positions off multiple websites.

Counseling Sessions

  • Career counselors are here to help if you’re feeling a bit lost too.  If you’re wondering about what major to pursue, what career path is right for you, or where your interests lie, we’re happy to help.  To schedule an hour-long appointment with one of our career counselors, give us a call at 315.443.3616.

If you’re thinking you may need help in a variety of areas – resume writing, interviewing, networking, and personal branding – check out the Career Crash Course on Friday, April

The Career Crash Course is a one-day event featuring employer instructors leading workshops on career essentials.
The Career Crash Course is a one-day event featuring employer instructors leading workshops on career essentials.

5th!  Employers will lead sessions on the basics of your career search in this one-day event.  Participating employers include General Electric, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, Northwestern Mutual, PepsiCo, and Teach for America.   Students interested in participating should sign up in Career Services (235 Schine) by 4 p.m. on Thursday.

Resumes and Cover Letters: a Senior Session Recap

By Lauren Wannermeyer, Intern at Syracuse University Career Services

Our Senior Sessions help you to prepare!

Did you miss Career Services’ first Senior Session on Resumes, Cover Letters, and preparing for a Career Fair? Here’s what you missed!

Tracy Tillapaugh and Shannon Feeney from Career Services presented on how to make our resume and cover letters stand out among the stack and how to make an impression at a Career Fair. The theme of the session was pretty obvious. To get a job (or even just get an interview), standing out is key.

Tracy kicked off the hour with a brief workshop on resumes, starting with the job description.

Glassdoor.com

The job description
You’d be surprised to hear how many people do not even completely read through a job description before applying for a job. This is an imperative step. If you don’t completely survey the job description, it’s impossible to be strategic with your resume. The idea is to put the most applicable work experience at the top, where it is most likely to be read. It may sound tedious to tailor your resume to every job you apply for, but if you just have a few separate sections (specialized experience, leadership experience, etc.) you can organize them based on the requested skills and experience on the job description.

Recruiters say they pay most attention to the top half and the bottom three lines of a resume. Be strategic with how you place your work/internship experience and your special skills.

We have all heard that resumes shouldn’t be more than one page. With this in mind, don’t be afraid to weed out irrelevant information. You want the experience on your resume to be relevant to the job you are applying for. This might mean taking some things out. While all of your clubs and involvement in college might have been formative, it might not be applicable. Keep this in mind.

Action Words
The next tip is to focus on action words. You should start every bullet point with a verb to kick off your description. Recruiters cannot get the full picture of your experience from a simple listing of the company you worked for and your position there. You should use verbs to explain your duties and responsibilities and try to relate them back to duties and responsibilities listed in the description of the job you’re applying for.

An Objective
Tracy’s final tip had to do with listing an objective. Think of your objective as a headline. It’s a brief statement of what you want to do. It helps recruiters clarify why they have your resume. It’s especially helpful when you’re at a career fair. Company reps are often at fairs recruiting for a variety of positions and they will have a hard time remembering why you spoke with them if your resume does not make your objective clear. An objective statement is completely optional, but it’s something to consider if you’re set in what kind of position you aspire to receive after graduation.

As the workshop continued, Tracy spoke about cover letters. Cover letters are often even more frustrating than resumes. They need to be even more specific to the position you are applying to. If there is one key point when it comes to cover letters, it’s relevance. Examples also matter. You can use all the adjectives you want to describe yourself and what kind of worker you are but it will never have the same effect as an anecdote that displays why you possess all the qualities that they are looking for.

Research is a MUST before Career Fairs

Next, Shannon offered excellent tips on how to make the most of career fairs. Her first tip was to do your research. Find out what companies are attending, figure out what tables you’d most like to visit, have your resumes set to go with those companies in mind. Look up the company’s website and social media accounts. Be prepared to have a conversation with the recruiter. You should never go up to a table and say “Tell me about your company.” If you’re serious about applying for a job, you should be able to tell them about their company and why you’d make a good fit. OrangeLink is a great resource. It allows you to look up the companies that are attending, their website and what positions they are recruiting for. Use it!

Next Shannon advised to have your elevator pitch ready to go. Most of us have had to come up with one at some point or another in class. Your elevator pitch should be brief and informative. It should have flavors of your personality and be memorable. These things are hard to achieve. If you have trouble coming up with your elevator pitch, Career Services can help!

If you’re nervous about talking to your dream company, practice. Start by going to a company you’re a little less interested in to warm up. You might find after working out the kinks with a less stressful company, you’re ready to go. Finally, don’t forget to apply. You can’t apply for jobs at Career Fairs, but you find out about a lot of opportunities. Maximize them by applying. You’d be surprised by how many people don’t!

Don’t miss the next Senior Session on Wednesday, February 15th at 3:30 p.m. in Hall of Languages room 207. Chuck Reutlinger will offer a workshop on Job Searching Secrets. Then, on Wednesday, February 22nd, same time, same place, Kim Brown and Dan Klamm will help you to understand how social media plays a role in your job search and why you MUST be on LinkedIn. RSVP on Orange Link!

The CV vs. the Resume: Which should you use?

By Rosanne Ecker, Associate Director

At least once a week, I get asked the question, “What’s the difference between a resume and a CV?” It’s a great question!  Keep in mind that my answer is specific to the United States, because it’s different in other countries. Here are three key differences between a CV and a resume:

1. The purpose
A resume is designed to show that you have the skills and experience necessary to succeed in a job or an internship, that you are well-matched for the job opportunity and that you are able to hit the ground running.

A CV is designed to show that you are a scholar who has conducted research, presented your work at conferences, taught, and published articles. A CV is used to showcase your academic achievements and scholarly potential.

2. The use
A resume is used to apply to most non-academic jobs including consultant, engineer, IT specialist, accountant, jobs in marketing, communications and more. A resume is the usual document used to apply to any job where your skills are the main reason that the employer would hire you.

CVs are mostly used when applying for faculty positions, for grants or fellowships or for research positions in industry, academia or government. Whenever your research productivity and teaching experience would be valued, a CV is the way to go.

3. The length
A resume is usually one to two pages at most (with less than 3 years of full-time post-graduate experience).  It’s likely that the employer will receive many resumes for any particular position and will scan them quickly (by eye or machine) to pick out the most outstanding candidates and eliminate those that are not specifically relevant to the advertised opportunity.

On the other hand, a CV can get quite long and that’s OK.  You can use a CV to showcase all of your academic achievements, including honors and awards, teaching experience, grants you’ve received and research you’ve done, if you’re applying to a college faculty position.

Is there any time you would use elements of each in a “blended” document?
Yes! A research lab would be interested both in your research techniques, computer skills and your ability to use specific equipment, as well as the papers you presented and articles you published. In this case, you’ll be presenting both your skills which are relevant to the job as well as your scholarly accomplishments.

When should you think about “converting” your CV to a resume?
If you’ve been geared toward a college teaching position or a research role and are now considering doing something more applied, you might want to have your CV focus more on your skills than your scholarly accomplishments. You will have to eliminate some of your accomplishments in order to spotlight your skills and this can be painful!

What is the main thing that CVs and resumes have in common?
Crafting a clearly formatted document, whether a CV or a resume, is your first step in getting an interview. That’s why people put so much work into the document. It may be the first glimpse of you that an employer gets. Of course, in addition to the CV and the resume, it’s useful to have an online presence on LinkedIn or a web page where you can feature your strengths and accomplishments. It would be ideal to have connected with someone at your potential employer so that they’re expecting your resume or CV.

Should I include references on either the CV or the resume?
It ‘s not usual to include references on a resume. The employer will request them if you make the next cut or the cut after that. You also do not need to write, “references on request.” It’s better to use that space to tell the employer something more about your skills and accomplishments.

On a CV, however, it’s usual to include, or add a page, listing your references with their full title and contact information.

Where can I get someone to help me figure out which document is best for me and to review my CV or resume?
Our office! Career Services, located at 235 Schine Student Center, has drop-in hours Monday through Friday (check our website for current drop-in hours), during which a career consultant will meet with you for 15 minutes to review your document. Please bring a paper copy with you.

If you are a PhD student or an undergraduate with a CV that needs to be reviewed, please set up an appointment by calling 315-443-3616, since a CV will require more than 15 minutes.

Perfecting Your Career Expo Resume

By Chuck Reutlinger

Our Career Expo is Wednesday, February 8, from 11:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m. in Schine’s Goldstein Auditorium. In this blog post, Career Services’ Associate Director Chuck Reutlinger shares his advice on making your resume stand out from the crowd.

First impressions count!

Creating a positive impression at a career expo starts with a good visual impression and is frequently followed by your presentation of your resume to an employer.  Most employer representatives will likely skim the document quickly and then either ask you some questions or wait for you to carry the conversation further.  Naturally, the easier they grasp your qualifications and selling points, the more they will focus on your specific interests and their specific opportunities.

5 tips to help you maximize the impact of your resume:

  1. Make sure it is easy to read.  Don’t use fonts that are too small, e.g. less than 10, or too decorative.
  2. Make sure you present your sections of information in the order of their likely importance to the employer.  Not sure what will be important?  Research the positions they may be seeking to fill by reading OrangeLink profiles or using other career information resources.
  3. Take a broad view of experience and don’t arbitrarily position voluntary roles to a section down the resume if they really allowed your selling points to be revealed better than some miscellaneous job you had just to make pocket money.  Integrate them instead into your Experience section and make sure your wording conveys the right message.
  4. Consider starting with a Qualifications Summary right after your contact information wherein you place 3 or 4 bullets under this heading and briefly capture skills, experiences and traits that relate to their needs.  It can alert skimmers to what is found below and thereby encourage their closer inspection.  It might also be all they use to then engage you in a more focused conversation. You might alter your summary for employers of different types if you mean to explore different career paths.
  5. Choose your words calculatedly as you describe experiences and activities so that the lead verbs in a phrase convey the skills you used to accomplish a result.  Don’t use “helped” or “assisted” or similar lead verbs since these don’t convey skills; focus on how you assisted or helped.

Recognize that your interactions with employers may be brief and that your resume may trigger a positive experience.  Note as well that your resume will remain with an employer after you have moved on to another employer, so attention to its construction can help them specifically remember you among all the students they may see.

Good luck!

For last minute assistance with your resume from employers, visit us during Resumania in 235 Schine, on Tuesday 2/7 from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. First come, first served!

Perfecting Your Career Expo Resume

By Chuck Reutlinger

Our Career Expo is Wednesday, February 8, from 11:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m. in Schine’s Goldstein Auditorium. In this blog post, Career Services’ Associate Director Chuck Reutlinger shares his advice on making your resume stand out from the crowd.

First impressions count!

Creating a positive impression at a career expo starts with a good visual impression and is frequently followed by your presentation of your resume to an employer.  Most employer representatives will likely skim the document quickly and then either ask you some questions or wait for you to carry the conversation further.  Naturally, the easier they grasp your qualifications and selling points, the more they will focus on your specific interests and their specific opportunities.

5 tips to help you maximize the impact of your resume:

  1. Make sure it is easy to read.  Don’t use fonts that are too small, e.g. less than 10, or too decorative.
  2. Make sure you present your sections of information in the order of their likely importance to the employer.  Not sure what will be important?  Research the positions they may be seeking to fill by reading OrangeLink profiles or using other career information resources.
  3. Take a broad view of experience and don’t arbitrarily position voluntary roles to a section down the resume if they really allowed your selling points to be revealed better than some miscellaneous job you had just to make pocket money.  Integrate them instead into your Experience section and make sure your wording conveys the right message.
  4. Consider starting with a Qualifications Summary right after your contact information wherein you place 3 or 4 bullets under this heading and briefly capture skills, experiences and traits that relate to their needs.  It can alert skimmers to what is found below and thereby encourage their closer inspection.  It might also be all they use to then engage you in a more focused conversation. You might alter your summary for employers of different types if you mean to explore different career paths.
  5. Choose your words calculatedly as you describe experiences and activities so that the lead verbs in a phrase convey the skills you used to accomplish a result.  Don’t use “helped” or “assisted” or similar lead verbs since these don’t convey skills; focus on how you assisted or helped.

Recognize that your interactions with employers may be brief and that your resume may trigger a positive experience.  Note as well that your resume will remain with an employer after you have moved on to another employer, so attention to its construction can help them specifically remember you among all the students they may see.

Good luck!

For last minute assistance with your resume from employers, visit us during Resumania in 235 Schine, on Tuesday 2/7 from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. First come, first served!

The Dulye Leadership Experience: A Weekend That WILL Change Your Life

Katie Walpole, a Syracuse University Senior studying European history, policy studies, and political science, shares her memories of the Dulye Leadership Experience and tells you why to apply.

Last year, a friend recommended that I apply to an amazing experience that in turn changed my life. What was this experience that changed my life for the better? The Dulye Leadership Experience (DLE)!  My friend had participated in the 2010 DLEand she said that no matter your passion, no matter your major, and no matter what you want to do following graduation, the DLE was for everyone. I jumped on it.

Going into the program, I only had a little knowledge of the weekend-long, all-expenses-paid leadership workshop from my friend. I knew none of the other participants, but during that weekend, the entire group of participants, the faculty members, and I became part of the larger DLE family – a family that is now my network and a close group of people that I can rely on as I enter the next stage of my life. Next year, I’ll be attending University College London to pursue a MSc in Public Policy.

A photo from the DLE 2009

The entire DLE weekend is focused on making you, yes, YOU, the best possible applicant to an internship, job, or graduate school. The faculty is beyond distinguished – they are incredible people who have excelled in their fields. And, they want to help you!  Our faculty includes everyone from a former VP of Lockheed Martin to fresh-out-of-the-door SU alumni, just getting their start in the workplace.  The presentations range from information on the art of small talk to personal finances.  Incredible attention is paid to resume development, LinkedIn, the one-minute “elevator speech,” and the culture of a workplace.

You learn from the best and you can apply all of what you learned right away. After the DLE, I was able to work through different situations at internships with much more ease. I knew the best possible way to present myself in interviews as well as on graduate school applications.

I encourage you to take time to review the website, talk to students who have participated, and to submit your applicationThe deadline to apply is December 31!

I’m happy to chat with anyone who is interested in learning more about DLE. You can find me on Twitter, on LinkedIn, or send me an email at kathleenwalpole@gmail.com.

People remark that a life can’t be changed in a three day weekend. I disagree, and I think you should see for yourself. 

A special thank you to SU alumna Linda Dulye for offering this incredible experience to our students!

The Dulye Leadership Experience: A Weekend That WILL Change Your Life

Katie Walpole, a Syracuse University Senior studying European history, policy studies, and political science, shares her memories of the Dulye Leadership Experience and tells you why to apply.

Last year, a friend recommended that I apply to an amazing experience that in turn changed my life. What was this experience that changed my life for the better? The Dulye Leadership Experience (DLE)!  My friend had participated in the 2010 DLEand she said that no matter your passion, no matter your major, and no matter what you want to do following graduation, the DLE was for everyone. I jumped on it.

Going into the program, I only had a little knowledge of the weekend-long, all-expenses-paid leadership workshop from my friend. I knew none of the other participants, but during that weekend, the entire group of participants, the faculty members, and I became part of the larger DLE family – a family that is now my network and a close group of people that I can rely on as I enter the next stage of my life. Next year, I’ll be attending University College London to pursue a MSc in Public Policy.

A photo from the DLE 2009

The entire DLE weekend is focused on making you, yes, YOU, the best possible applicant to an internship, job, or graduate school. The faculty is beyond distinguished – they are incredible people who have excelled in their fields. And, they want to help you!  Our faculty includes everyone from a former VP of Lockheed Martin to fresh-out-of-the-door SU alumni, just getting their start in the workplace.  The presentations range from information on the art of small talk to personal finances.  Incredible attention is paid to resume development, LinkedIn, the one-minute “elevator speech,” and the culture of a workplace.

You learn from the best and you can apply all of what you learned right away. After the DLE, I was able to work through different situations at internships with much more ease. I knew the best possible way to present myself in interviews as well as on graduate school applications.

I encourage you to take time to review the website, talk to students who have participated, and to submit your applicationThe deadline to apply is December 31!

I’m happy to chat with anyone who is interested in learning more about DLE. You can find me on Twitter, on LinkedIn, or send me an email at kathleenwalpole@gmail.com.

People remark that a life can’t be changed in a three day weekend. I disagree, and I think you should see for yourself. 

A special thank you to SU alumna Linda Dulye for offering this incredible experience to our students!