September 11, 2015
We’ve seen several resumes in the LPDC these past two weeks, so I thought it’d be a good idea to share a few of the most common issues.
1) Is there a “right way” to do a resume? My answer? Yes and no….
The Google machine will find a plethora of resume templates for you to choose from (yes, it’s ok to use a template). But some are better than others. The key here is to find something that looks clean and balanced on the page. Resumes should be easy to scan — the important stuff jumps right off the page — which means, you use consistent headings, large enough font, and don’t overcrowd your lines. You also need to structure it so that the white space and text are proportionate – don’t have crammed up paragraphs in an outline format that creates large margins.
2) Does it really have to be one page?
You will get differing opinions on this one. The answer depends on how long you’ve been working. For you, at this stage in your career, it should probably be one page. For people who have been out there working in the profession for several years, it can be longer because their qualifications can no longer fit on one page.
3) Which comes first, education or work experience?
The general rule is that you start with the stuff that best qualifies you for the job. For most of you, your MAS is what qualifies you for the internship or associate position you are applying for, so your education should be listed first. Once you’ve been out there for a while, your work experience will be more important, so you will start with that.
4) How much stuff should go under each heading?
For education: list your graduate and undergraduate degrees in reverse chronological order — MAS, BA/BS; include GPAs for both (if they are above 3.5), any honors or awards, and any student associations you belong to (especially if you had a leadership role in the organization). Only add extra lines of detail if you have enough space.
For experience: list any jobs you have had in reverse chronological order. Be sure to list all accounting-related experience, even if it means you have to leave other jobs off the list in order to keep it to one page, and add lines of detail that list the specific accounting-related tasks you learned. DO NOT list general, platitudinous “skills” — “I am highly qualified, hardworking, self-motivated, detail-oriented, and enthusiastic….” (Que eye-roll and groan… Who wouldn’t want employers to believe that?) You need to SHOW that you possess those characteristics through the information you include on your resume. Your 4.0 GPA shows you’re hardworking; your degree and internships show you’re highly qualified; your participation in student organizations shows you’re enthusiastic, etc.
5) Is there an objective here?
Ah, the dreaded objective line. Whether to include one is another point of debate. I, personally, don’t much care for them. However, they are useful in a few circumstances you may encounter. Whenever you give someone a resume that is not accompanied by a cover letter and/or an application for a specific job, you need to include an objective line that tells the recruiter what it is you are looking for. For example, “to obtain an internship for summer 2016″ or “to obtain an associate position to begin January 1, 2016.”
Ultimately, there is no one “right way” to do a resume. No rules, just guidelines. But, as always, we are here to help you figure it out. Shoot us an email to make an appointment: firstname.lastname@example.org
See you soon!