Did you know Alumni Career Services provides free virtual resume and cover letter reviews?
You can simply submit your resume and/or cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief description of the types of things you will be using it for and a member of our staff with respond via email with a critique within 10 business days. Did I mention this service was free? For full details visit our website. In the meantime, get a head start by reviewing the 5 most common pieces of advice we provide alumni in their critiques.
1. You need a stronger professional summary. Once you have gained significant experience in your industry/field (generally 10+ years post graduation), a summary statement is a great way to highlight key skills and strengths. It allows you to highlight themes in your work experience and skills. Check out our recent blog post dedicated to the dreaded professional summary.
2. Consider a functional format. Functional resumes can be particularly useful during career transitions to emphasize transferable skills or if you are re-entering the workforce and you want to de-emphasize a gap on your resume. Functional resumes organize your accomplishments by skill area (i.e., management experience, communications experience, technical expertise, etc) with employer information (organization, title, and time frame) listed at the end of the resume).
3. Consider length. Given the fact that recruiters only have a few seconds to take in all that is on your resume, typically resumes should not go over 2 full pages. In order to maximize the space on the page try increasing your margins to .5 all the way around and decreasing the point size between sections to 5. You can also try decreasing your font size but we do not recommend going below a 10 point font. Check out our recent blog post on maximizing space on your resume.
4. Create your bucket lists. It is often a good idea to group like experiences into categories. Some examples may include “Related Work Experience,” “Leadership Experience,” “Community Outreach,” “Higher Education Experience,” “Research Experience,” “Writing Experience,” etc. Always put the most relevant/important groupings toward the top. These “buckets” will help a recruiter very quickly be able to glean information about your skill set/experiences.
5. Don’t undersell! Often alumni sell themselves short in their employment descriptions. Quantify where possible to give the reader a sense of scope. For example, budget numbers, employee numbers, business size, etc would all help paint a picture of your work and just how busy you are! Additionally, you may be able to give a bit more detail in some cases. For example, go through your bullet points and for each ask who? what? and how? Are you providing the reader with not only the task but the process and accomplishment associated with it?
Check out our recent webinar on Resumes, Interviewing, & the World of Work along with many others about resume writing on our YouTube channel: