In the beginning of college, it’s exciting, fun, and you’re not really thinking about responsibilities, other than going to class. However, when junior year comes around, or ever the end of sophomore year, you’re going to be thinking about a life after college: a career. Before you can even get to that part, you have to get an interview. To get an interview, everyone needs a resume filled with education, experience, skill sets, and activities. Different degree fields like to see different things on resumes, so I asked different department heads and the head of career services what they wanted to see from potential candidates and students.
A resume is packed full information about yourself, but do you know what your departments want to see with your information? Ms. Joan Schneider, the head of career services says it’s good to see the “skill sets for a position,” their “level of technology,” and if they would “fit in the work environment.” Dr. Michael Steiner, the associate provost and dean of the college of art and sciences department said the same thing. A resume should fulfill the position description. He would like to see what the candidate has done and what skill sets they have used in their work experiences. Usually, a resume touches on education, work experience, and other things, but you should look into the position you’re applying for, and customize your skill sets towards it.
Something students wonder about is if they should put their GPA. Dr. Steiner says “it’s useful overall, if you don’t want them to look at your transcript, putting your GPA is a good idea.” If you have a couple classes that you’re not proud of, then it would be best to put your GPA, so the employer doesn’t have to look at your transcripts. Ms. Schneider says it’s fine if “3.0 or higher, [but] is it a reflection of your ability? Companies are interested in people making mistakes.” She’s saying if you have a 4.0 in college, that’s awesome, but it doesn’t show your skills or that you have made mistakes and learned from them. Dr. Matt Walker, the head of mass media and communications department, says if it’s “3.5 or higher, but it isn’t a big deal [because] it has less to do with getting an interview.” For education students, Dr. Wall says it’s up to the district. It really depends on your department, and they care more about your studies or what your skill strengths are.
Personally, I was having a hard time trying to appeal to employers for an internship since I haven’t any experience to do with my degree. So is it a good idea to include related coursework to give an employer an idea what you’ve done? Ms. Schneider and Dr. Wall believe you should. Dr. Wall thinks, “It would give you an advantage.” Nevertheless, Dr. Walker says, “It would be a last resort,” but if it is a practicum, it should put on your resume. Dr. Steiner believes if it’s “coursework for a specific job or unusual things like undergrad research,” it should be included.
Since there are always hundreds of applicants for all jobs, you want to make your entry-level resume stand out. Dr. Steiner says having “clear information, [and being] straight forward [and] predictable” is a good way to catch an employer’s attention. Ms. Schneider and Dr. Wall think it’s good to have balance between education and activities. Dr. Wall also thinks having a “degree from a high quality college, [and] deep partnerships” catches his attention while looking for teachers. Dr. Walker agrees with Ms. Schneider and Dr. Steiner about addressing all things in the job description. It would stand out in the mass media and communications degree field.
As you can tell, all departments and fields want to see different things on a resume. Career services gives you an idea of what you should include in your resume, however it isn’t geared towards a specific field. It would be a good idea to talk to a professor or your department head to perfect your resume for the career you want during or after college.