The purpose of a résumé is to market your skills and experience to ultimately secure an interview. In this competitive job market, employers may receive hundreds of résumés and so only spend a few seconds with each. How can you capture their attention? Put your most relevant skills, experiences, projects, volunteering, etc. in the top half of the résumé. And don’t try to cram in everything you’ve ever done, focus it on this job and what this specific employer is looking for. Learn more about making a great résumé below.
You may also need to create a curriculum vitae (CV), especially if you are applying for academic, education, scientific or research positions. A CV, which includes more detailed information on your education and career, is also commonly used when applying for scholarships, fellowships and grants.
The purpose of the cover letter is to introduce yourself to the employer in a way that makes a positive first impression. A cover letter should make it clear to the employer why you are interested in the position and what value you can bring to the organization. Review these resources for details on what to include in a cover letter.
Use these guidelines and resources to create a winning résumé that will help you get the job, internship, service opportunity, etc. you really want. Whether this is your first résumé or your fiftieth, there is always something you can do to make your résumé more effective.
VMock, a 24-7 online résumé review tool available to Oregon State students, uses machine learning and natural language processing to provide you with instant personalized feedback on your résumé or CV.
VMock is designed to work with résumés from many different fields. Once you receive the detailed feedback, make relevant changes to your résumé and re-upload it to improve your score. (Tip – Getting a 100% score on Vmock is not the goal. Focus on improvement toward the green zone.)
Check out the VMock User Guide to learn more and then begin the review process for your own résumé. Once you are ready to share your resume for feedback, you can share it with your advisor or instructors in VMock. The Requesting Feedback Guide shows you how to share your resume with others. (Note that a virtual résumé review may be all you need or just a starting point. You might want to work with the Career Center for an in-person conversation or have someone from your field review your materials.)
How you present your involvement with LGBTQ-related organizations or groups on your résumé is up to you. You may choose to include names of organizations, job titles and your specific involvement with LGBTQ+ organizations in your résumé (e.g. “Internal Coordinator, OSU Pride Center: Created four engaging presentations and workshops about the LGBTQ+ community for incoming students”). Or, you may choose to use more general language, such as, “developed four trainings for a campus anti-discrimination group.”
Prioritize experiences that show transferable skills for the opportunity you want. A previous job in bookkeeping could show the organizational skills and communication with clients needed for a career in marketing. Also consider using a functional style résumé that tailors your headers to highlight such skills (e.g., “Communication Skills,” instead of only listing job titles under “Work Experience”). If you weren’t working for a time, fill gaps in your résumé with unpaid experiences, like running a committee for the PTA, showing leadership.