Writing a resume is tough. After graduation, I traveled North America as an Alpha Gam Leadership Consultant. But when it came time for me to move on, I hadn’t the slightest notion of which way to turn and not a clue how to articulate all the useful skills I had learned. 

This led me down a rabbit hole of articles and YouTube videos to help me perfect my resume. My experience inspired me to help other students translate their undergraduate experience into tangible descriptions of their skills and achievements, helping them get those first jobs post-college. There is no right or wrong way to write a resume, but the tips below are simply my best practices and methods I have seen work. 

Whether you participated in the chapter as a general member or served as Vice President–Member Experience, your Alpha Gam years are rich with experiences to include on your resume. You might not have known at the time, but every philanthropy event you assisted with, every hard conversation you navigated and every meeting you participated in were all translatable learning experiences. Now, you just need to figure out how to put it into a one-page document. Here are my biggest tips when it comes to building your resume:  

Formatting is key 

Your resume is unique to you, your skills and your industry. Start out by determining what you should share on your resume by listing all your experiences, jobs, volunteer positions, awards and certifications. 

Once you have the content, move on to the layout. If you aren’t a Microsoft Word whizz, there are plenty of easy, affordable templates on sites like Etsy to purchase and get started. Just be mindful of how your content will fit into the template; your resume should not be longer than one page (until you have 10+ years of experience). 

It’s not all about the resume, though. Cover letters are necessary and are a great way to show personality while explaining what value you will add. Use the same fonts on your cover letter and resume for a cohesive look. 

Cut the fluff 

Sections about objectives, references and skills are redundant and do not belong on your resume. 

The objective is obvious—you want the job. References are often requested on an initial job application, but if they aren’t, employers will often ask for them later in the interview process. Soft skills such as teamwork and time management should be highlighted through your experiences, but hard skills like computer programs or specific equipment could be listed in a skills section. 

You are your own content creator 

The bullet points under each experience are the most valuable part of your resume. When writing your points, focus on highlighting your experience instead of trying to guess what the employer wants to hear. Your most relevant experience to the role you are applying for should have the most points. Explain what you did, how you excelled and what you learned. 

If you need more content, use a project from school! Thoroughly describe what you did: Did you sort and distribute incoming mail? Or did you optimize daily inter-departmental communication through organized and efficient mail distribution? 

Describe, quantify and translate 

With the limited space on a resume, each word has a purpose. Under each experience, be sure to highlight not only your transferable skills but your most unique skills as well. Employers want to see what you have that they cannot teach. Quantify wherever you can: any dollar amounts you worked with, number of patients/clients and significant amounts of time. 

This is just the beginning 

Your resume is a living document that should be modified to fit each role you apply for. Large companies will use automation to sift through resumes for key terms that match their job descriptions, so use key terms on your resume in ways that make sense for you. 

Once you have made your resume, ask friends, family or mentors to proofread it. Speaking of friends, always use your network! Having someone pass along your resume will always be more powerful than a cold application. You have lots of former classmates, family friends, and of course, Alpha Gam sisters of all ages to help you get where you want to go.  

Graduating and entering the workforce is daunting, but always remember to be authentically you. You do not have to change yourself to be a great asset to a company. If you have questions about resumes and job applications, or you just want to be friends, feel free to add me on LinkedIn and reach out! I hope these tips help you continue to grow and move Onward and Upward, and I cannot wait to see what the newest group of Alpha Gam alumnae bring into the world!

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This blog post was written by Victorina Jeffers, Delta Iota–California State University, Chico. Victorina served as a 2015-16 Leadership Consultant and currently works as a Legal Assistant at Davis Bengtson & Young.

Connect with Victorina on LinkedIn

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