Your Resume: From Job to Career

Published on Oct 16, 2013

Your senior year is usually a major turning point in the development of your career. You’re in advanced classes, so your skills are more polished. You’re creating more workbetter work. And you may have completed an internship, started freelancing, or both.  All in all, you are a much different person than when you started at Columbia, so you shouldn’t be using the same resume you did in your first year. Make sure you've made the top four changes that differentiate a part-time job resume from a career-launching resume. 

Erase high school. As you gear up for graduation, cut your high school from the Education section. If you’re still listing jobs and involvement from high school, phase these out as well.  Ideally you will fill a page with jobs and accomplishments from college only.  An ideal resume is one pageno more, no less. So, if it feels a little light you still have time to add some relevant internship, freelance and volunteer experience.

Highlight skills. Make sure your resume communicates a clear skillset. Your job descriptions should prove some of the transferable skills you’ve built over time. Things like communication, organization and time management are important to being a successful employee. Technical skills, like computer and language skills, should be listed in a separate "Skills" section in your resume. And don’t neglect important job functions you have learned in internships and classes. Knowledge of media plans, music theory, GANTT charts, etc. can help show you have a growing knowledge of your industry.

Emphasize relevant experience. If you can fill a resume with work related to your career, cut everything else. This does not need to be a comprehensive work history. If your experience is a mix of related and unrelated experience, you are not alone. Consider splitting your experience into Related and Other sections. You might call them Marketing Experience and Office Experience. Or Industry Experience vs. Customer Service. Try to choose meaningful titles, but splitting up sections helps you present the most relevant info first.

Brand it. Step away from the Word templates and create something unique to you. You can work with a Career Center designer to integrate a logo, or personalize it yourself by changing the font and add an accent color. Just be sure that it stays readable, and that you save it as a PDF before sending.

Learn more at the Career Wednesdays event on Resume Writing 10/23 @ 4:00 pm, or come to Grad Race on November 22 for a Resume Spot Check.