Winter Break Career Bootcamp: Resume Fixes

Binoculars_Job_HunterWe are now three weeks into winter break, and it’s possible that the shine of binge-watching shows on Netflix is perhaps beginning to fade. If so, now is the perfect time to begin working on your summer or post-graduation plans! And what is the first step to preparing for the job market? A resume of course!

Take the time now to dust off your resume. Even if you worked on it during the fall semester, remember that things may have changed since you last looked at it. For one, now that grades have posted perhaps you have seen a boost in your grade point average. Or maybe you are now realizing just how many skills you gained from that statistics course you just took. Make sure that your resume is the most up-to-date and accurate reflection of your experiences and skills so that you can head into the spring application season strong.

For those of you who are having resume troubles, don’t worry too much yet. Idealist.org has a great article on the six most common resume problems and how to fix them. Whether you are a Theater major who wants to go into finance or your resume is beginning to look like a thesis, this article can help you out! Here’s a short excerpt from the article:

Problem: Your College Degree Isn’t Directly Relevant to the Job or Field

What to Do: If this describes you, don’t worry, you’re hardly alone. “Only specific fields—like engineering, graphic design, health care/medicine, pharmaceutical and automotive, to name a few—require related degrees for entry-level work,” explains corporate recruiter Dennis Tupper. “Otherwise, companies are seeking someone who is coachable and moldable, will work hard and has a vested interest and passion in the company or industry.”

Taylor Brady, 23, faced this very challenge with his sociology degree. Having grown frustrated after three months of sending out résumés for jobs in social work and nonprofits without getting any response, he, too, reached out to McLeod. “I had friends graduating from business school who were Excel wizards and such, but I had to be creative in regards to selling myself,” says Brady.

“To focus Taylor’s experience,” explains McLeod, “we called out his work with a grant-writing mentor as a ‘special academic project’ and included the types and values of the grants he had written, so it really popped when he was applying for the grant-writing jobs he really wanted.”

He also led his résumé with a “Special Skills” section, which highlighted the key points of his past internships (including grant writing, donor database management and volunteer coordination), then provided more information about each role in the “Work Experience” section. With McLeod’s help, Brady found his current role as a grant writer at a nonprofit by rebranding his résumé to focus exactly on what he could do for his potential employer.

To figure out how to overcome lack of experience, gaps in employment, job-hopping, and length issues, click here to read the full article.  And don’t forget to submit your new and improved resume to the Wesleyan Career Center for approval.

Happy job-hunting, and remember to check back for more job and internship opportunities, and career development advice!

Jelisa Adair

I am the Civic Engagement Fellow for 2013-2014. While a student at Wesleyan I double majored in Psychology and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and completed a joint thesis during my senior year. I am interested in issues of social justice, mental health, media, and global welfare. 

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