Following graduation, the goal for most students is to enter the workforce, and building a strong resume is the essential first step.
For many students, creating a resume can be stressful and confusing, as there is debate on what should be included and what is relevant to employers.
“Resumes are an employer’s first snapshot of a potential employee. The resume needs to showcase the person’s skills and clearly connect to the position,” Ferris English professor Sandra Balkema said.
Balkema has had experience in working with students on resume building for over 35 years.
“A resume needs to have the right information in the right design. The visual appearance is as important as the content, or the reader won’t find the information easily and quickly,” Balkema said.
Ferris construction management senior Logan Cook said that organization is the most crucial aspect of his resume.
“I know they say that employers will give you ten seconds or something like that when they first look at your resume, just a really fast overview, and then they decide at that point are they going to keep looking at it or just pass it on,” Cook said.
According to Balkema, common mistakes that students make include using the resume as a list of their employment history and including too many details from their high school career, which employers will rarely be interested in.
Fortunately, Ferris offers a variety of resources to teach students about career readiness and assist them in avoiding resume pitfalls. Career prep workshops are available on the university calendar, and students can schedule appointments for practice job interviews and review
of their resume, cover letter and portfolio through the Ferris website. Students can also learn about resume preparation in several
Ferris classes, such as English 321: Advanced Composition.
“I’m in it right now. The first two weeks is resume, cover letter and memos. It’s actually really helpful,” Ferris nursing junior Kassie Butterworth said. “We learned about the statistics. Every job gets like 200 resumes submitted for every job posting, and so if yours isn’t one that sticks out, it’s not going to be one they’re going to look at.”
Ferris HVAC sophomore Cole Weber said having a good resume shows your interest in the job.
“I feel like everyone needs a resume for applying for a job, and if you have a good one it shows how much time you’re going to put into it and how serious you’re taking the job,” Weber said. Before submitting a resume to an employer, Balkema said it is a good idea to get feedback from a professional in the field.
“It’s good, though, to get opinions from several people, especially someone from the student’s professional area. They’ll be more familiar with the skills that the field values and the terms or language the field uses,” Balkema said.
For students looking to improve their resumes, Purdue OWL is an online resource that provides instructions for nearly every aspect of a resume. On the website, students can find the necessary sections in a resume and how to organize each one. Tips on design, using two pages or more, and scannable resumes are also available.