What students need to know about résumés

By Bailey Richardson
On April 28, 2014

Students who are still on the hunt for summer employment or close to graduating may find that updating their resume is the key to securing a long-lasting, beneficial job in the career filed of their choice.

Senior English and political science major Justin Carothers of Pine Bluff has seen firsthand the importance creating an appealing and well-organized resume.

“I was given a job because of my previous work displayed on my resume,” Carothers said, “It was not so much my experience with the job, but how long I worked in other fields and that I (had a good track record).”

It is always important to include past experience even if they do not directly apply to the job at hand, he said.

“A good resume consists of your school extracurricular activities and leadership roles as well as your past job positions,” Carothers said. He has recently accepted a position as a security guard as a result of his successful application.

Brittany Straw, a career counselor at career services, said most people seeking employment today have the same basic level of education, a bachelor’s degree. The competition for jobs makes it important for applicants to list experiences and skills that make them stand out, Straw said.

Straw suggested preparing early to build up a solid resume.

“Really it is about thinking as a freshman or sophomore and outlining the things you need to do to be an employable candidate,” she said.

The Career Services office offers a Resume Hour every Wednesday in the Multicultural Center, which gives students the opportunity to strengthen their resume by seeking advice from professional career counselors. The Career Services website also includes example resumes for convenient review.

Online outlets can provide a plethora of resume advice for dedicated students. NACE, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, compiles an annual online list of noteworthy traits for students’ resumes.

The top traits employers look for in prospective employees include leadership, communication skills and the ability to work in a team, according to NACE. This list also states that an applicant should have a positive outlook and a readiness to work.

“A resume is read from the top down, like a news article. So the resume expands from initial headline, through the profile, with strong supporting information in the body of the document,” said J.M. Auron, representative of JobDig.com.

According to Auron, resumes should get the attention of the employer with a strong opening. Then, focus should move to the stand-out qualities of the candidate in a short introduction summary.

A resume should also explain experiences, education and overall qualification for the job under separate headings, Auron said.

Social media can also be a productive outlet for resume and application experience, and the professional network LinkedIn is a tool students can use to connect with potential employers. Through other outlets, students should create their own online web page to include examples of previous work, professional references and recommendations, and of course, upload their stellar resume.

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