I stepped into the halls of Sid Smith, resume in hand, feeling confident. I had a few questions in mind that I wanted to ask the career educator I was placed with at the Resume Blitz, but I wasn’t feeling completely hopeless or lost. (For now, at least.)
My resume is more on the “creative” side, so I was interested in learning if resumes that aren’t black-and-white and in Times New Roman would repel or attract employers.
I was also interested to learn if including “references are available upon request” on my resume was necessary; it was something that was drilled into my head by teachers and other adults, but it always seemed unnecessary to me.
I found out the answers to my questions:
- Yep, creative resumes are good.
- No, “references are available upon request” should not be included. It’s essentially a waste of space. (Woo, I was right!)
However, I also learned a lot more than just that. As it turns out, my resume was not as good as I thought it was.
My problems were mainly in communicating my experiences.
For example, take the description I had under “Career Centre Student Blogger.” All I had under the heading was “writes weekly career-centric blogs for Life at U of T,” and then a brief description of what Life at U of T is.
As the career educator I was paired with told me, this description doesn’t really communicate anything. I’m essentially just repeating what was already evident in the title.
Instead, she told me to focus on the actions and outcomes of the position. For example, I should mention the specific number of blogs I produced, or the hits I received on each post. I could also specifically highlight a successful blog post.
Quick interjection: I’m always uncomfortable when writing my resumes because I feel awkward bragging. I was always reluctant to mention specific achievements (like a specific successful blog post) out of fear of sounding brag-y. But as I learned at the Resume Blitz, sometimes mild uncomfortableness is a sacrifice you need to make in order to create a successful resume.
Anyway. I should also focus on what happened as a result of my blog posts. Instead of just pointing out the obvious and saying that I “write,” I should mention how I helped the company. Did I raise awareness about certain issues? How did I help other people? What was my unique impact?
So, in a nutshell, I was not approaching resume-writing with the right perspective. I should focus on communicating my unique responsibilities and successes, and not be afraid of a little bragging.
Looking back, I wish I had brought a second copy of my resume with me so that I could make notes. It’s only been about a week since I attended the Resume Blitz, but the advice I received isn’t so fresh in my mind anymore. (Oh well, at least my mistake is a good excuse to go back next semester with an updated resume.)