Resume Tips For the Recent Grad
Here’s an example of sheer vagary but hometown pride: “Mostly educated in L.A., a person looking for a job that will help him achieve his goals.”
I had never known that this could be an achievement: “**X** academy for English studies…. Completed contract.”
Without this post getting into the greatest hits on resumes (you can find resume humor here), I would like to help our readers get some fresh, or reinforced, perspective on what makes a good resume/CV –regardless of whether it is in preparation for a first job teaching English in Korea or for an application to a law school. Here are my pointers in no particular order.
- Don’t use haifalutin words, when in reality it could be easier to say, “Don’t use big words.” Reason why: The people who are “reading” your resumes are actually people like you, average or above-average intellect who merely scan for keywords first. But the difference is that we have looked at 100+ resumes and simply put, the extra brainwidth required to digest “ancilliary adjutant” to come to the true meaning of “assistant” is taxing. Your resume would be among the first to get the burn bin.
- Don’t lie. Let’s look at the countless people in public office, high position, or elsewhere who have been ousted, burned, tarnished due to ever lingering stories of plagiarism or fakery. Shall we? Let’s skip that. Studies have reported that between 10-50 percent of people have lied on their resumes. This includes acts of omitting facts and dates, shifting numers favorably, and let’s not forget the degree that doesn’t exist. Many companies, including mine, actually hire background checkers who look into these things. And with the advent of the internet it is getting less and less difficult to find out the truth. So the thing is, the standard is so low, your truthful resume stands to outperform the other half who will either get caught during screening (most do) or suffer the embarassing termination later. The best technique to prevent this is to first make that moral choice to simply state the facts, but then to diligently follow them up with verification. Pass along your “draft” resume to coworkers, supervisors, and close friends to check dates, accomplishments, and places of work. Oftentimes your resume will coming out a smashing success due to the collective review.
- Formatting is vital. Out there in resume-land I’m of the philosophy that there is really just one kind of standard format that is Times New Roman Font; states objective or summary first, then education, then experience, then additional info. There isn’t a complicated set of linespaces, or widely varying font sizes. Simple. Traditional. Check out this popular resume format. I don’t suggest you go with the notion that your resume is your expression. These things are not business cards, which these days tend to get creative. The resume is a list of facts, a snapshot of the recent past. Go no further and with the idea that you are trying to have a simple array of keywords to catch the recruiter’s attention.
- PDF it. This is a great supplementary way to send resumes to people via e-mail. Most, if not all, office computers have Adobe reader. On the other hand, Microsoft Word can be tricky especially if your settings or version is different. If you don’t know how to make a PDF file, google the software package: “Ghostscript” and also download a top-quality postscript printer driver from HP or other manufacturer. There are several steps to this process, but an easier way is to have Office 2007 which I believe lets you make PDFs inside MS Word.
I know that many recent graduates who have sent me resumes have taken considerable time and effort to produce something I know creates so much anxiety especially when there is so little experience under your belt. I commend that effort, and I congratulate you if you have gone to career center or other responsible person to help you. Really, think about it this way. If one piece of paper is worth the value of a car (which is a year’s salary), wouldn’t you take it seriously?
Link tip: Life Clever says, “Give Your Resume a Face Lift”
–H. Lim works as an associate HR manager at a Seoul executive management firm