Around campus, folklore abounds about unorthodox methods for landing jobs. Students swap stories about how one woman got her job with a major pizza franchise by having her resume delivered in a pizza box, while another guy fresh out of college took the George Costanza approach—lying his way through the interview, even faking his age. Another one I’ve heard is that a software company had hired a skilled hacker, impressed by his ability to access the company’s confidential files.
Whether these tales are fact or fiction, I attribute them partly to wishful thinking—we want the hiring process to happen easily, almost magically, without having to do research or traverse hoops. We want the task of landing a job to be as simple as calling in a favor from Aunt Julie, or exchanging a chatty e-mail with an alum who knows of an opening. Mostly, we want to avoid having to write in order to get a job. But the fact remains that a perfect resume is usually essential for getting your foot in the door. Happily, lots of advice is available to guide you as you tread.
No one expects you to invent your resume from thin air; in fact, employers reading your resume expect you to know and follow the accepted conventions. Remember, you are often competing with hundreds of similar documents at a time, so you want yours to fit in yet stand out for the right reasons. Further, you must treat your resume as a living document that you will revise for the rest of your life. Most professionals change jobs five or more times, so their resumes are always in flux. So begin well by studying the conventions and basing your resume on a good model. And recognize that plenty of options and variations are available within the conventions. This chapter will help you to study the conventions, work within them, and write a winning resume.
Clearly, as a user of this handbook, you understand the value of using online resources to educate yourself. To educate yourself further about finding a job or an internship, I highly recommend the sites below.
- Learn How to Become's "15 Best Job Search Sites," which compares popular job search sites ranging from LinkedIn to Monster to Glassdoor.
- Learn How to Become's "How to Personalize your Hunt for Jobs Online," with questions and recommended websites to help job seekers whether they are recent graduates, vets looking for civilian work, or executives.
- Learn How to Become's "A Guide to Internships," which educates website visitors about the value and types of internships and provides resources about how to find them, both in the U.S. and abroad.
There is no shortage of resume writing advice on the web. Here are two recommended sites: