What an employer wants to see on your resume

Madison Diemert
Editor in Chief

Stepping into a role like the Editor in Chief has opened up many new experiences for me, one of them being interviewing and hiring potential employees. 

It is just the third week of the semester and I have gotten over 15 resumes since school has started. This is a lot for someone who has to run a newspaper and take 18 credits at the same time. 

Many of these resumes come from freshmen who have no clue how to put together a resume, or it’s even their first time writing one up. This makes it difficult for me to choose because many of them don’t catch my eye right away. 

Because I am so busy, I only have time to briefly glance at them. Most of my days are spent studying, doing homework, or managing my staff at the Reporter. So when I am looking at a resume, I look for specific things that catch my interest.

Certain keywords, relevant work experience, and so on are all very important when I look at a resume, but it’s also about your diction and how you format the document. Many of the students applying for a job at the Reporter have relevant experience, but their resume is messy and hard to follow. 

You should make clean breaks between sections of your resume – your education should go first, work experience second, relevant skills third and so on. An employer should be able to skim your resume and know everything they need to know about you in just a few seconds. Many employers, myself included, don’t have time to pick apart each resume that comes in, so it’s nice when potential employees make their resumes clear and decisive. 

Choosing the right words is also important. Your diction matters in a resume, because immediately I can tell if you have written a resume before or if it’s your first time. I also can tell what kind of employee you’ll be if I see you have put a lot of thought into how your resume sounds and looks. 

For example, if you state that you are a “good listener”, your employer will look right over that. The word “good” is very juvenile and bland. Instead, try “diligent”.  It gets the point across that you not only listen well, but you are also observant and don’t let things go unnoticed. 

Another thing students have struggled with is relevant work experience. Many of them will put down jobs that have nothing to do with writing or photography. In many cases, this is fine as working at the Reporter might be one of their first jobs. But if you are planning on applying to a larger company after college, only apply relevant work experience. 

Your future employer won’t care that you babysat for a few years when you were in high school or that you worked at Gordman’s before it closed down. They want to know if you can write, or take photos, or code, etc. 

Students should also always ask for help or for another person to review their resume before sending it in. I always go to the Career Development Center before applying to a job or writing a resume. 

The CDC has everything you need when it comes to your future career, and the staff are always willing to help when possible.

They have tools online as well if you cannot make their walk-in hours or make an appointment. 

You can also always ask your friends, parents or older siblings for advice as well. They will have experiences that you don’t have and offer a new perspective on how your resume looks to them. 

Header photo courtesy of Flickr.

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