Perfecting Your Resume: Land The Job That You Desire



After countless hours of studying, tests and group projects, the day has finally arrived . . . Graduation Day! You’re gleaming with joy as you celebrate this new milestone in your life! After a few days of much deserved ‘rest and relaxation’ and basking in the aura of your success, it hits you . . . What’s next? I need a job!

That’s right! It’s time to put that degree to good use, head out into the real world, and join the hundreds of thousands of job seekers, just like you, all with one thing on their mind: landing the perfect job! Now, in a perfect world, we would all land our perfect jobs the day after we walk across that stage and receive our diplomas. This should automatically make us qualified, right? If only it were that easy. In the real world, we all know that in order to land our ‘dream job,’ we must first bring forth that little white piece of paper. No, not your diploma. Your resume!

Your resume, also known as your ‘entry key to Corporate America’, is an essential part of the process and elimination that companies use to size you up and decide whether you are qualified to perform the tasks at hand.  Now, because the job world is so competitive, it is important to develop a resume that is unique and stands out from the crowd.

Remember that all resumes are NOT created equally. It is not unusual for some employers to look at hundreds of resumes a day! When reading your resume, these employers are looking for key elements that will quickly help to identify if you are qualified or not for a certain position.

The nationally renowned continuing education company Year Up specializes in closing the ‘opportunity divide’ by providing urban young adults the skills, experience, and support that will encourage and empower them to reach their greatest potential through professional careers and higher education. Business Communications teacher’s assistant Apryl Alston has worked for the company for over two years and has edited dozens of resumes throughout her time with the company.

She says:

“The overall goal should be to make a good impression on the employer. Avoid typos and slang, provide examples for your “hard” and “soft” skills and how they will be valuable to the company, and keep it concise. Resumes should be no longer than a page.”Apryl Alston, B.A. Business Management, Hampton University

Here are some of the top Do’s and Don’ts for perfecting your resume!

  1. What’s In A Name?
  • DO: Make sure that your name is BIG and BOLD. You want to make sure that the employer can easily see your name and knows how to contact you if they are interested in moving forward with an interview. Use neat and easy to read font typefaces such as Times New Roman, Arial, and Calibri. Font sizes should not be too small or large. A suggested size should range between 12pt – 14pt.
  • DON’T: Use fancy, cursive, or colored typeface. This appears unprofessional and may make it hard to read for the employer.
  1. Be Concise.
  • DO: Get straight to the point. Use short, concise and informative sentences to highlight your job descriptions and skills. Bullet points may be helpful in effectively listing your skills. This will allow you to highlight numerous skills while still maintaining a neat and orderly resume.
  • DON’T: Use run-on sentences or whimsical verbiage to describe your job skills or descriptions. Remember that employers are usually looking at hundreds of resumes at any given time.
  1. Brag A Little
  • DO: Take this time to highlight your best qualities, skills, and attributes. Make sure to list any prestigious awards, honors, or titles that you have received (especially if it pertains to the job that you are applying for!) These employers are strangers and know absolutely nothing about you, so make sure that you stand out by showing off your best self!
  • DON’T: Take it back too far! Stay current and list qualities and skills that you have developed within the last few years. An employer is less likely to be impressed with a skill that you used 20 years ago.
  1. Be Truthful
  • DO: Be honest about your qualities and skill level. It’s okay to want to push yourself and strive to a new level. But just make sure that you are staying within a realistic range of skill sets.
  • DON’T: Over embellish. It may be tempting to want to fabricate certain facts on your resume in an attempt to further stand out amongst your colleagues and to land the job. But in case that you do get the job, you want to make sure that you can perform the tasks required. Not being truthful on a resume could backfire!

Some Additional Tips:

  • It may be a good idea to have someone review or proofread your resume before sending it out. A second eye may make all the difference.
  • Use spell check! There should be NO spelling errors on your resume. Spelling errors automatically go into the “no man’s land” pile, aka the trash can.
  • Be confident! Remember that there are hundreds of submissions every day. If you do not get a call back from an employer, do not get discouraged. Keep putting your resume out there, and before long you will get that dream job that you desire!

We want to hear from you! Please feel free to comment below and recommend any additional tips on perfecting your resume!

Photo Credit:
Shannan Burrell

Campus Contributor

Shannan Dione Burrell was born in Heidelberg, Germany. Growing up, she thrived in the areas of performing arts, participating in dance, theater, and music. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism from Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia, in 2010 and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Film and Video at American University, Washington D.C., where she is scheduled to graduate May of 2017. Shannan has always had a passion for volunteering and helping others within her community. She has been an active member of her church Emmanuel AME Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Throughout her years at Emmanuel, she has participated in numerous ministries including the Praise Dance Ministry, Young Adult Ministry, Youth Ministry, and Women’s Ministry. Shannan grew up a member of the Girl Scouts of America organization. Her 12 years as a Girl Scout prepared her to become an effective volunteer within the community and a role model for young women. Shannan is currently volunteering with the Best Kids mentoring program in Washington, D.C., which specializes in mentoring inner city youth and foster children. Shannan also has a passion and vison for storytelling through media. She has over 10 years of experience within the media field, which includes numerous internships with companies including Arena Stage Theater in Washington D.C., The Ft. Belvoir Eagle Newspaper in Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, Clear Channel Communications in Rockville, Maryland and Gannett/USA Today in McLean, Virginia. Her many years of experience have prompted her to write, direct, and produce over 15 original productions for her church and community. Shannan’s mentors and role models are that of her family, church family, and fellow aspiring African American women in the media field such as Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey, who have worked at paving the way for minority storytellers within the entertainment industry. Shannan hopes one day to open up a production company for minorities, which will inspire, motivate, and empower them to follow their passions through the arts. Shannan’s favorite scripture is Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” She credits this verse for inspiring her to overcome all obstacles within her life and to work hard to succeed and excel at being a good role model for young women within her church and community.

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