Letâ€™s take a quick quiz:
1. A resume should be no more than one page.
2. It is important to put references on the resume.
3. Listing specific classes is a waste of space.
Well unfortunately, the answers are not black and white. But, it is important to dispel the notion that â€œone rule fits all.â€ As with most things, there are several factors you should consider when writing, designing and distributing your resume.
First is length. Letâ€™s be frank. Itâ€™s hard for some graduating college seniors to fill up one page. And, thereâ€™s no reason to list Beer Pong as an extra-curricular activity. Or suggest that scooping ice cream at the student union is a â€œteam-buildingâ€ experience.
Instead, here is my rule: Your resume should be as long as necessary to properly and fully tell your story to a perspective employer. If youâ€™ve got great stuff (internships, special awards and cool qualifications), then the length of the resume isnâ€™t important.
Question two is an interesting one. References are very important to list if it is, a) Someone known by the potential employer b) A well-known leader in the field.
Iâ€™ve called references before and got a big surprise. Who would list someone that gives a lukewarm response? It happens. References should have e-mail addresses. Itâ€™s much easier to deal with than hard-copy correspondence. If you are listing uncles, aunts and college roommates as references, Iâ€™d leave them off.
Question three is something I find very curious in college resumes. By NOT listing classes with specifics, you are â€œassumingâ€ we know the college and their degree programs. This is usually not the case. Listing specific classes, such as writing for broadcasting, is specific experience. If you simply put, â€œBS in Communication,â€ that tells me nothing. List some representative classes that are geared to that specific employer. If you are applying for a job with a telecommunications firm, you should list telecommunications classes.
Overall guidance is simple: Tell your story completely. Give details that are customized to that specific employer or business line. If itâ€™s a non-profit job, show the volunteer work you did for the animal shelter, etc. Give employers a reason to hire you.