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5 Ways Young Communications Pros Can Improve Their Resumes

October 25, 2010

Written by Mandy Boyle

Searching for a new opportunity can be the norm when you’re a young communications professional, but don’t expect to go anywhere unless you have a solid resume. Consider your resume to be a gateway. If you want to land an interview or even get a call back from an internship inquiry, you have to depend on this 8 ½ x 11 inch piece of paper. It’s your introduction into the professional world. 

When crafting communications-focused your resume, remember that first impressions always count. Be sure that your resume stands out and sends the right message by following these five tips:

1.)    Eliminate the clutter. Most people who have the honor of glancing through resumes do simply that: they glance. You only have a few seconds to catch someone’s attention, so use your space wisely. Focus on only the most important stuff. Be clear and concise. Filling up your resume with fluff can mean that once your resume hits someone’s desk, it’s a quick trip right to the trash pile.

2.)    Spell check and grammar check. You’d be surprised at how many young professionals neglect to do this. Double, triple, and quadruple check if you have to. Better yet, take your resume to a writing center or career development office on campus and get a professional’s input. Eliminate any leet speak and emoticons (it’s just unprofessional). Clean up the language to give your resume a more active voice. Keep it crisp.

3.)    Include social media. If you’re looking to get a job in communications, social media experience is going to be key. Let your prospective employer know that you have the skills needed by sharing links to your social networking profiles, blog, and YouTube channel. Get rid of any questionable photos, status updates, and posts. If sending your resume electronically, put it in a PDF format with clickable links or buttons. It makes your life – and the employer’s life – so much easier when it comes to demonstrating expertise.

4.)    Ditch the template. Recruiters, employers, and interviewers have seen those Word resume templates a million times over. Really show that you want to make an impression and be creative with the presentation. Remember, you only have a few seconds. Create your own resume in a desktop publishing program from scratch, or see if you can have a graphic designer friend create one for you for free or a small fee. The investment of time (and maybe a little money) is definitely worth it.

5.)    Consider keywords. It’s sad but true; many resumes go unread completely. Instead, they are scanned into a computer and searched to find certain keywords that pertain to the job or internship that’s available. Without those valuable key words, consider your resume tossed. When drafting your resume, keep those keywords in mind by studying the position description and considering the skills required. Did you know that “leadership”, “problem-solving”, and “oral/written communication” are some of the most sought after keywords?

What are some of the resume writing tips you’ve found to come in handy? Any words of advice for young professionals looking to make a great first impression? Post a comment here.

About Mandy Boyle: Mandy Boyle is a graduate student and freshly-minted communications professional. As a Search Engine Optimization Specialist for Solid Cactus and published freelance writer, Mandy is no stranger to compelling storytelling. When she’s not at her laptop or in the classroom, you can usually find her in the kitchen. Cupcakes are her specialty. Follow Mandy on Twitter at @mandyboyle or visit her website (http://mandyboyle.com).

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