With the beginning of the semester comes the renewed hunt for The Perfect Internship and The Life-changing Job you’ve been waiting for. But every semester I get the same questions from terrified students with no idea where to start. The biggest of their concerns is always The Resume. Which goes first, my experience section or my education section? How about my high-school experiences, are these still relevant? Read on for what one writer has to say, specifically to communication students. Good luck!
Here are six tips on how to effectively create an academic resume for communications majors that will impress employers and help you land that coveted internship with the NBC Page Program or a position in Ogilvy & Mather’s Associates Program.
1. Do not place your education section at the top of your resume.
Communications professionals are impressed by your experiences and how the skills gained from these experiences will translate to your future career. Your experience section should always be first. The work you did using Final Cut Pro and Avid in your TRF 255 class is much more relevant and digestible to employers than stating at the top of your resume that you are a Journalism major graduating from the Medill School of Journalism.
2. Tailor your resume towards your major.
If you’re a graphics major, show your creative side by displaying a creative wordmark or include a design or layout that is consistent throughout your resume. Be sure to include this design across all aspects of your personal brand, including cover letters, your blog and personal website.
3. Quantify and Qualify Your Experiences
Nothing paints a blander picture than saying that, “you oversaw all social media marketing platforms and SEO strategy.” This tells employers that you were involved in these two areas, but beyond that does not tell them what you did or if you accomplished anything while in this position. Avoid using words such as, ‘assisted,’ ‘managed,’ or ‘oversaw.’ These do very little in describing your experience at a company. Instead, show that you are results-driven and demonstrate this by quantifying and qualifying your experiences.
4. Lose the high school experience!
As a first year communications major, keep the relevant high school experiences that represent your leadership, cooperative skills and skills related to your major. After your first year, begin to remove these from your resume as you replace these with relevant coursework, internships and extracurricular involvement.
5. Ensure that your paper resume is not a static document.
Include links on your resume to personal websites, blogs, online press releases, your LinkedIn profile and any other social/professional networks where you maintain a marketable presence. The days of the paper resume being the beginning and ending point are over. Resumes are just the first point of communication. Give employers more information to get to know you. The better they know you, the more likely they are to develop a relationship with you and the better chance you have of getting hired.
6. Include something interesting about yourself in your resume.
Your resume is essentially an abbreviated, bulleted, paraphrased bio of your life during the past few years. Include items that will jump out at the page to employers. Here’s a great story:
a girl who graduated last year received an offer after including at the end of her resume that she had traveled to 11 different countries. This one tidbit launched her into a 20-minute conversation with her future employer and one that she asserts was a huge factor in landing her that job.
The communications industry is finicky and opportunities come and go in a moment’s notice. Be prepared to seize the opportunity with a professional academic resume tailored towards your major that will impress prospective employers.