Resume building, like most professional development activities, is a skill that you learn over time. It comes from asking lots of questions, seeing many examples, and getting help, advice, and personalized feedback from others. As a senior in college, my resume looks much different from how it was in freshman year. It took a lot of time and many revisions, but here are the main ways that I’ve built and improved my resume at USC.
Using other students’ resumes as examples has been the biggest help I’ve had in constructing my resume. Whenever I met an accomplished upperclassman or a successful peer, I would ask to see their resume, and if they could provide comments on mine. At USC, most students pursue internships as early as their freshman and sophomore years, so giving and getting feedback on resumes is something that happens frequently. From looking at the resumes of my good friends and successful peers, I was able to learn what format, wording, and content was best.
Another useful resume building tip was attending resume-themed events. Especially in the month before a career fair (usually, September in the fall and February in the spring), student organizations will host resume workshop events, where company representatives or professionals will give resume tips and one-on-one feedback on a student’s resume. In the months that these events aren’t happening, visiting the Viterbi Career Connections center and getting resume feedback from an advisor there has also been a great help.
Finally, the best resume advice I could give is to make sure you always have an updated resume. Whenever you join a new organization, learn a new skill, receive a new award, or start a new job, be sure to edit your resume and save it as an updated copy. This saves a lot of time later down the road, when surprise opportunities may ask you to submit a resume in an application.
Overall, my resume has really developed over the years, and is now a good professional document that reflects my accomplishments, skills, and goals well. It takes a lot of work to get to a strong point, and I’m sure I’ll still be making many edits in the future, but know that resume building is something that you’ll continuously learn about, work on, and get better at. If you ever need professional development advice, reach out to upperclassmen or adult figures you trust and look up to for help! Mentorship is a great tool to receive personalized feedback and advice in your professional pursuits. Good luck this application season, and fight on!