4 Ways to Polish Your Resume During Winter Break

By Alicia Geigel on December 9, 2017

After a long and challenging fall semester, winter break is an absolute blessing. There is no greater satisfaction than circling the final answer on that last exam or typing the last phrase on your final paper and being able to take a break from school for few weeks. Winter break is a great opportunity to catch up on some much-needed rest, spend time with family, earn some money and even apply for jobs. Because school is no longer occupying your attention, there is more free time to accomplish things you wanted to during the months of the fall semester. One great way to spend your time off is to update and polish your resume so you can have a fresh one to give to potential employers! You may be asking yourself, “Alicia, it’s my time off, why would I want to spend it doing something boring and dreadful like dealing with my resume?”

Well, winter break is a great way to make your resume up-to-date and fresh because there may have been accomplishments and achievements from the fall semester that you may want to include. Perhaps you gained some work experience or picked up an internship, that’s definitely valuable information to include in your resume! Regardless of what you may have to add, updating your resume can be tricky, but if you follow my four tips, I guarantee you will have a solid resume that any employer will want to get their hands on!

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  1. Highlight Relevant Elements: A resume is a document designed to make you stand out and shine to employers. Some people tend to crowd their resume with all of their work experience, all of their accomplishments, and all of their skills. While employers are interested in reading about who you are, they are more curious about who you are within the context of their company and the position you are seeking to fill. Because of this, be sure to only include relevant experience and background that relates to the position you are applying for. According to Nancy Collamer, a contributor at Forbes, “The key is to give heavier emphasis to the credentials, experiences and accomplishments that relate to your objective and less to things that don’t.”
  2. Integrate Employer Keywords: One important element that can help improve your resume is to integrate important and frequently used keywords and lingo used by the employer/company. Not only will doing this make you stand out, but it will also demonstrate to the employer that you are interested in the company/your position. Collamer adds to this crucial step by noting, “Nearly every company and recruiter uses keywords to identify qualified candidates. If you don’t use the right ones, your resumé will be overlooked by the electronic applicant tracking systems — even if you’re the ideal candidate.”

    Image via Pexels

  3. Change up the Formatting: An important element to a great resume is how it looks. Though this may seem superficial, think about it. If something is visually appealing, you will be way more inclined to look at it and want to read it! Using bullet points is a great way to break up the text in your resume, making it easier to read. According to Katherine Hansen, Ph.D., of LiveCareer, “Given that employers screen resumes for as few as six seconds, they will find your resume a lot more readable if you use bullet points instead of paragraph style.” Though this is minor, it can change how employers review your application. Additionally, do not worry about trying to make your resume one page long. This is a general rule that many follow, but at the end of the day, if you have to cut some of your experience and achievements to fit everything on one page, it’s not worth it, go on to the second!
  4. Check for Silly Errors: This may sound well, silly, but because grammar and spelling mistakes are so small, they can be easily overlooked, which can end up hurting your chances of getting hired. Before sending your resume in, revise it for grammar errors, spelling mistakes, etc. This shows employers first and foremost that you care about your image and you aren’t lazy about applying. Additionally, Penny Loretto of the Balance notes, “Not only does correct spelling and grammar portray an educated candidate, it also shows the employer that you seriously want this position and that you are willing to take the time to do everything possible in order to get it.”

Though spending your free time polishing your resume instead of watching “Elf” on repeat during winter break may not be the most exhilarating idea, it will definitely pay off! When the spring semester comes around and you’re overwhelmed with work, you’ll be happy to remember that updating your resume isn’t something you have to worry about! Instead, you can simply search for jobs and send it in. As always, good luck!

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