Content, layout crucial to resumes

By Patrick Wade

As the spring semester is under way, many seniors are preparing for their last few months at the University, during which time students will be putting together the final copies of their resumes.

This task puts sweat on the brows of many future employees – a resume is their ticket into the career track.

But Brandon Bute, assistant director at the Career Center, said that writing a resume can be completed with some ease, as long as the student follows the right steps.

The aesthetics of the document are key, Bute said. If a resume does not look professional, an employer may not take it into a deeper consideration.

“A lot of employers spend 30 to 60 seconds looking at a resume to see if it’s even worth going over,” Bute said.

A larger, bold name can be more pleasing to the eye. Also, a resume should be reader-friendly. Bullet points, headings and subheadings can help improve appearance and guide the reader to important information.

Andrew Sticklen, who is in charge of hiring for Sticklen Insurance Agency located in Urbana, said that simple errors could spell disaster for a potential employee.

“I really scrutinize people’s grammar and spelling. To be honest, that is the first thing I look at,” Sticklen said. “That’s one big thing is the overall presentation.”

Overall, Bute said that content is most important. A job seeker must outline their specific professional experiences and skills as well as their coursework related to the job.

Sticklen says that he looks at what prior jobs the applicant held; credentials, qualifications and references must be in line.

“It would be good for people to know that when they’re applying for a job, their history of jobs in the past gets looked at,” Bute said. “It’s kinda hard for someone who’s been a gas station attendant to jump into insurance next. It would be the same with anything else, I’m sure.”

Bute said it does not hurt to add some campus involvement into the resume. Extracurricular activities could help expand an applicant’s professional experience as well as show leadership potential.

Start writing your resume early. Bute said that a student can start their resum‚ as early as freshman year, and should go back at the end of every semester to add to it.

The Career Center offers a number of programs to assist students with their resumes. This includes a Winning Resum‚ Workshop, which provides the starting points for those looking to write a resume.

The Career Center also provides resum‚ critiquing hours all over campus. Students can even come into the Career Center to talk one-on-one with a counselor.