Your resume is an especially important document during the selection process for internships and jobs. A resume includes a description of your education, experience, and of course extracurricular activities that might be relevant to discuss with an HR manager. In short, a resume provides the reader with an overview of your life, your knowledge, capacities and personality.
Capturing the Interest of Recruiters
Generally speaking, recruiters are more interested in the most recent information on your résumé, as it is the most accurate indication of your level of knowledge. Therefore, a resume should always be compiled anti chronologically; the most recent information is at the top followed by experiences from the past.
Why Are You a Suitable Candidate?
Firstly, structurally displaying the content on your resume helps a lot. The key is to make sure that your resume remains clear and is not too chaotic.
Secondly, your resume shows recruiters how suitable you are for certain positions by giving them information on relevant knowledge and experience. The order of the included elements can be changed according to how relevant a given experience is. Make sure that the most important parts are most noticeable.
This includes a brief summary of your personal information such as contact information, date and place of birth, and whether or not you have a driver’s licence, for instance.
If you’re applying to internships or entry-level positions, this part of your resume may be the most crucial. Make sure to include the level of the programme(s) you completed and where you have completed them. If you have completed a Bachelor or a Master with an obscure or exotic title, it might be useful to provide a brief description of the programme.
This part of the resume allows for all the experience that you might have gained through internships, entrepreneurship and part time jobs. Make sure to clearly illustrate your tasks and responsibilities during each experience. For part time jobs it might be useful to add your weekly amount of working hours.
Multinational companies often appreciate candidates who have gained experience abroad. Exchange programs and international summer schools are examples of this. Also, if you’ve spent a significant time travelling abroad you may include this as well.
Special activities that you have conducted during your studies are worth including in your resume, like athletics, board or committee experiences and fraternity/sorority memberships. Recruiters are often highly interested in this type of information because it gives them a good impression of what kind of person you are. For each activity you should describe your individual tasks, responsibilities, attained results and the amount of hours a week that you devoted to the activity in particular.
Language and computer skills
Certain skills like language and computer skills may be mandatory for certain positions but they may also serve to distinguish between yourself and other candidates. Make sure you only include relevant aspects though. For instance, proficiency in MS Office can no longer be considered as something ‘special’ in this day and age.
Including your hobbies and personal interest can be a tough endeavour. Graduates often wonder what the added value of hobbies is to the resume. However, this part of your resume allows you to show recruiters a bit of your personality. Mutual interests between you and the recruiter can greatly enhance the recruiter’s interest in your resume.
Answers to frequently asked questions
Over the years of giving job application trainings to study associations, Qompas has gained a lot of experience with respect to students’ and graduates’ insecurities concerning their resumes. The below highlights some of the most frequently asked questions.
Make sure you don’t include long lists of irrelevant tasks in the description of your experiences. Try to think in responsibilities instead and make sure there is a clear theme to the tasks and responsibilities you mention. It’s important for your future employer to know what kind of responsibility you can handle.
Full names and abbreviations
In naming programs, organizations, diplomas etcetera it’s important to be thorough and to use the official names of everything. For instance, you should prefer to write down ‘Masters of Science’ rather than MSc. The same thing goes for the name of the institution you completed your studies at. Moreover, it can be beneficial to mention the names of the cities where you studied. This emphasizes which choices you made and how studying in a certain place contributed to your personal development.
Some students include a list of competencies, skills or a brief description of their personality in their resume. This is quite unusual in the Netherlands and experience teaches us that recruiters prefer to judge you on the basis of their own selection criteria rather than on the basis of descriptions included in your resume. Do you still want to mention your skills? Make sure you include them under the header of an activity which contributed to the development of the skill in question. This way you provide grounds for mentioning them.
Qompas is a digital publisher for educational and career guidance tools and personal development for higher educated people (ages 14-39). With the several online Decision Tools Qompas helps its users through different phases in study and career orientation.
For more information on Qompas and the online Decision Tools go to www.qompas.nl.
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