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Last week I had the privilege of being a part of an interview team here at work. I got to sit in while a recent graduate showed her work and answered our questions. I was so pumped from the experience that I’ve decided to write a three-part series about what I’ve learned just from my short time as an interviewer. Granted, my insights are purely mine and may not reflect the other talented individuals in my field. Feel free to edit/add to this advice as you see fit.

Part I in the series is The Resume. This is what gets you in the door. I’ve written a bit on this subject before, but I wanted to get a little more detailed and list the DOs and DON’Ts of creating a resume. Keep in mind this list is for mostly for recent graduates, but experienced professionals need to remember a few of these bits as well.

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DO put your contact information where the viewer can see it without really looking. That means your name (yes, people will forget this), phone number, email address and web/blog address. 

DON’T put every way to contact you ever on your resume. Including your twitter name and myspace page won’t help you any and will probably annoy your reader.

DO list your skill set, including which programs you are sufficient in and which you have a working knowledge in. Many people have gotten into trouble by stating on their resume that they know Flash, when in fact they know very little. Be honest about how much you know. It will allow an employer to properly assess your abilities and you will avoid a very costly mistake.

DO make sure your skill set is up-to-date. If you still have Photoshop 5.0 on your resume, it’s time to update. And make sure your skills are relevant to the position. Just because you know how to throw knives doesn’t mean everyone has to know.

DON’T include every course you’ve ever taken. Your employers care more about what you know presently and not how you’ve learned it. In fact, I wouldn’t (and haven’t) listed my coursework at all, because it is reflected in my skills. 

DO use a visual hierarchy. It’s a good idea to use a typeface with a lot of options. I use Helvetica Neue and am able to bold, italicize, extend and compress my positions held, dates, headings, etc. It helps your viewer categorize and find what they specifically need. If everything is the same size and weight, information runs together and is harder to read.

DON’T go crazy with your typeface. Don’t use more than two (one is ideal) and stay away from any face that can’t be read in Word/Acrobat. These are two of the most common programs used to view resumes and if your viewer doesn’t have the typeface you used than you can kiss all your formatting goodbye.

DO keep your job descriptions short and to the point. And make them original. Every designer has created logos. What have you done with logos that makes you different?

DON’T be afraid to show a bit of your personality. I have an “extras” section in my resume where I’ve listed things about me that may not pertain to the job but provide more information about my overall well-roundedness. As long as it doesn’t over power the rest of your resume, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to branch out a bit.

DO keep it to one page. You may think this is difficult, but it’s not. Keeping your resume to one page makes it less cumbersome to anyone who views it. Would you like to flip through 5 pages of exhibitions? Keep it short and simple.

DO spell check. And have others you trust look at your resume before sending it out. Make sure you’ve adapted it to the most popular formats (.doc and .pdf). 

DO update it often. It will help keep your resume skills sharp and it will help avoid loads of work when you really need it.

Next in the series: The Portfolio.

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