By Nicholas Ferraro, Assistant Director, Career and Professional Development Center
A resume is your personal branding tool, it is a way to showcase skills, experiences and highlight your written communication skills. A resume is not the only tool that an employer uses to make a hiring decision, but it is an important component of securing the initial interview. Remember: resumes should be tailored to the job or industry that you are applying for. A key place to learn what hiring managers are looking for is the job description. This is a great place to help you identify what type of information you need to share. Here are some common tips that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) employers have indicated are preferable, in terms of resume-best practices:
Education: As a recent graduate, put your education towards the top of the resume. STEM employers want to know what degree you have received since it is often a qualification that needs to be met in order to obtain a position. Be sure to highlight your GPA, particularly if it is a 3.0 or higher. Multiple employers note that a GPA can be useful when reviewing a resume to gauge your academic knowledge of certain skill sets.
Skills: Display your technical skills section towards the top of the resume, as this section is one of the first things a STEM employer looks for when reviewing your resume. The technical skills that you highlight should be what the employer is looking for in the job description. Do not abbreviate the skill names, instead spell them out for the employer and, if needed, place the abbreviation in parentheses.
Experiences: As a student, it is likely that you have had a variety of different experiences such as class projects, personal projects, research, work experience, or even volunteering! Don’t forget to list these experiences on your resume. They can give an employer a good sense of skills, even if they are not all STEM related. If you have many experiences, which cause your resume to become too long in length, stick to the relevant experiences required for the job you are applying for.
The look and feel: This is what can initially attract an employer to keep reading. You want to keep your resume simple, with easy to read fonts and include no graphics. Consider using bold headings and dates to make important key sections stand out. To capitalize on more of your page space reduce your margins, as this will make the resume feel more robust.
Make sure to double check the resume and consider submitting it to Resume Dropbox for Career and Professional Development Services to review for issues such as grammatical errors. Remember, a resume is the first key component of highlighting your skills and securing that interview.