Creating a customized resume for your career goals

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Developing a solid resume can be difficult. During my freshman year at AFA Leader’s Conference, Jim Emanuel, then of Water Street Solutions, offered feedback on my resume and told me it was “too artsy.” As a freshman agricultural journalism student, I was proud to display my graphic design skills within my resume. Initially, I was insulted by his comments.

Emma likensEmma Likens However, after some reflection, I realized he was right. My resume wouldn’t fit the needs of perspective employers. Most employers prefer a clean resume they can skim quickly and access the applicant’s skill set. At that point, my skills and abilities were caught up in the graphic elements. These elements might be more suited to a design position application, but not for a sales and marketing position. I needed to learn how to customize my resume for the position I was applying for.

Leslie Svacina, internship coordinator at the Career and Internship Offices at the University of Minnesota, recommends young professionals consider their career goals when developing their resume. You should also tailor your resume for each application by highlighting relevant related experiences, community involvement and organization involvement. “Customizing your resume to what the position is asking for under applicant requirements can help set your resume apart,” Svacina said.

Part of this customization includes choosing how much and what type of experience to use. Svacina said to include experience relevant to the job field, which can include: internships, class projects, studying abroad, on campus involvement and professional associations or communities. These experiences can be accompanied by bullet points with action verbs to demonstrate skills and accomplishments that show initiative to go above and beyond, Svacina said.

Depending on the type of position you are applying for, you may want to include work examples with your resume. Svacina said depending on the organization’s hiring process, work examples might not be considered until later on in the interview process. Regardless, she said work examples should be relevant and demonstrate skills. Work examples can be included as a PDF email attachment, website link or tie to LinkedIn.

“LinkedIn is a great tool to help showcase experiences and continue to build your professional network,” Svacina said. It can help young professionals develop their online presence and personal brand. Svacina advises young professionals to treat LinkedIn similarly to a resume, and use it to showcase skills and experiences.

She also said to join relevant groups within your professional field, university and alumni groups to continue to expand your network and increase the potential to connect with other professionals. These groups can be as valuable as face-to-face interactions if you are “involved in discussions, asking questions, being engaged and demonstrating knowledge and interest.”

Is your resume “too artsy”? Or have you learned how to best customize it for your career goals? Please share your thoughts with us using the comment section below.

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