Revamp that resume

Lauren Niemcewicz

Whether spandex pants were still a hit when you put together your first resume or you are fresh out of college ready to grab your first real job, there are a few things you might want to pay attention to when it comes to your resume. It’s all about putting your best foot forward, grabbing the potential employer’s attention and securing that interview. That’s what makes this little piece of paper so important. So be confident, specific and memorable because with a million other people applying for this job, how will you make yourself stand out? Well, here are some pointers to make sure your resume stays at the top of that potential employment pile.


High school degree?

— Generally, listing your high school diploma is not necessary. However, if this is the highest degree you’ve earned, then list it. Including gradation date, cumulative GPA and any advanced degrees is also important.

College degree?

— It’s a must you include as much relevant information as you can about your college education. Include graduation date, cumulative GPA or major GPA if one is more impressive than the other. Also include special courses that pertain to the position for which you are applying. Include any post-bachelor degrees as well. Those are great assets to use when negotiating salary wages.

Technical training, trade schools, in office training?

— Basically, if you earned a certificate from any course, this should be listed in your educational field on your resume. This item is also especially important if you have less post secondary education or you are applying for more of a specialty, labor employment.

How should it look?

— Name of institution, or company.

— Location of institution.

— Year of graduation, or time attended.

— Department /major, or focus.

— Cumulative GPA, or name of certificate.


How many items?

— This is the place to put 4-6 experiences or jobs that highlight the set of skills relevant to the job for which you are applying. Most importantly, these skills should illustrate how you contributed to the company and how you made a difference.

How should i organize it?

— Chronological order makes the most sense here. List your most current employer first, and then work your way back in time. Remember to think of verb tense here when you are listing the duties you performed or the skills you used to perform in this job. And always avoid passive tense.

How should it look?

— Job title, name of company.

— Mailing address of company.

— Time of employment, be sure to list month and year.

— List at least three skills or duties you performed at the job. But don’t include more than six. It begins to look too lengthy.


Digital skills

— If you are applying for a position that requires a certain proficiency with computers or certain software programs, here is the place to list it. Make sure to include all programs with brief description of level of knowledge. But even if all you know is the basic operating system or know how to type, that is also worth mentioning in this category.


— It’s a mixed opinion when it comes to putting references on your resume, on a separate sheet or leaving them off all together. A good rule of thumb is how much work experience you have. If you have worked several jobs for several years and feel that your work experience speaks volumes, hold off on the references until you get an interview. However, if you are fresh out of college or a trade school with limited work experience and maybe a couple internships, list references on another piece of paper with the same heading as your resume to keep consistancy in the documents. Three references is a good number, and make sure to include for each reference:


Job title

Place of employment

Relationship to you

Full address

E-mail address and phone number

Awards and recognitions

— This is another great category to add if you were an exceptional employee or earned many awards in your post- secondary education. It shows more about your character and work ethic than the rest of your resume.

Tips and advice

— Proofread! Misspelled words are the kiss of death when it comes to your resume.

— Look at what others are doing. Research resumes in your field to see how you can change up your presentation to grab an employer’s attention.

— Keep your resume to one or two pages. Any more is boring.

— Have a friend or family member look at it before you submit it. Constructive criticism never hurt anyone.

— Follow up two weeks later to see if the employer received your resume.


— Check out the following Web sites to further research your resume upgrading options:


Get more creative

If you are applying for a position in a more creative field, your resume should illustrate your creativity. Here are some simple ways to jazz up your resume:

Use white space. Don’t just think about stacking each item. Use all areas on the page. Move text boxes around and don’t forget to think vertically as well.

Create a name brand. Make your name and contact information look different. Even create a logo for yourself.

Bring in some color. It is a great way to give a simple resume a little more jazz. But remember not to go overboard and still keep the type readable.

Do your research. Take a look at what other creative job seekers have done. Look at these sites:,

Step it up for the professional

But when it comes to getting the senior broker position at Merrill Lynch, it’s best to think straightforward and remember these key elements:

Don’t focus on your responsibilites. Rather focus more on what you have achieved at your current employer. You want to make them see you as an asset to the company.

Make your resume a marketing statement. Resumes aren’t just moral statements. They represent the product at its finest, so you should do the same.  Just remember not to lie.

Don’t give everything away in the resume. Give your potential employer a reason to call and ask more about you. Think of it as a first date.

Do your research. Take a look at what other professional job seekers have done. Look at these blogs:,


Got the call for an interview? Four must-knows before you go

Prepare Be ready for the interview well ahead of time. That means research the company, gather questions to ask them and pick out your interview attire early. Even figure out how to get there early. Preparation will help with your confidence.

Be brief The best interviews have a give-and-take atmosphere. Think of it as a conversation and allow the questions and anwers to flow naturally. A rule of thumb is to speak one-third of the time and don’t shy away from talking about yourself.

Listen This is one of the most underused interviewing skills. Here are a a few ways to pay more attention while your potential employer talks:

Make eye contact.

Use nonverbal expressions.

Wait for the speaker to finish.

Follow up After the interview wait a full 24 hours before following up with a thank-you note or e-mail. This shows your dedication to building relationships.