Resume advice: Keep it simple, emphasize your skills, check for grammar errors

By Paul Biasco

Many seniors are working to finalize the finishing touches on their resumes as their last semester of classes gets fully under way.

These resumes could be the make or break decision for a future employer looking to hire students preparing to graduate.

According to Careerbuilder.com, a job search Web site, creating a resume helps job applicants prepare for interviews by establishing their goals and skill set.

Fortunately for seniors and other students looking to get a head start in their job search, the Career Center, 715 S. Wright St., has many services available. A helpful resource is the center’s resume and cover letter review service, a drop-in service which does not require any appointment. The drop-in service is available Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. If this time is not convenient, the center accepts appointments throughout the day.

“We have student workers specifically trained to help with students’ resumes,” said Damian Lay, assistant director of the Career Center.

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Some of the main points the counselors stress on a student resume are work experience, credentials and skills you have learned through previous employment and education.

“The most important thing we stress is to get down on paper the skills you have learned. Employers really want to see this,” Lay said.

Organization and clarity are two of the most important parts of a resume. The Career Center likes font, format and layout to be a personal issue.

“We don’t want every student to have a cookie-cutter resume,” Lay said.

Job recruiters look for certain crucial aspects of a resume as well.

“You look if it’s neatly organized and the information is easy to read, easy to understand,” said Ata Burukan, senior vice president of human resources for the First Federal Savings Bank of Champaign-Urbana. “Brevity on a resume is important. We like to see a concise resume that is not full of fluff.”

A major point of emphasis for students is to make sure all spelling and grammar is correct, Burukan said. Any misspelled words or a misused comma on a resume could mean a lost opportunity for an applicant.

“It certainly is a factor, it shows that someone didn’t look over their own resume. It may not eliminate the applicant, it certainly will play a role in our minds,” Burukan said.

An important part of the resume, which is often forgotten, is to state job-specific career goals, according to Monster.com, a job search Web site. The goals need to be clear and specific for the job being applied for.

When it comes down to it, the resume could make or break an applicant’s opportunity.