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"Help! My Résumé is 60% White Space."

April 3rd, 2017 at 2:00am
"Help! My Résumé is 60% White Space."

By now, I’m sure you’ve researched enough résumé examples to know what a résumé is and what it’s supposed to do, right? No introductory definition needed here.

So, if you’ve played around with your font size, stated the obvious just to fill up that extra space, and currently have your side margins set wider than your actual text portion, here are a few things to think about before pulling your hair out over this whole résumé ordeal.

You’ve Done More Than You Think

What if you never got “experience” because you’ve never had a job, so now you feel like you can’t get a job because you never got experience?! A psychologist, professor, and career counselor at the Fashion Institute of Technology suggests: the only way to break this ironic cycle is to redefine experience. Any volunteer work, class projects, clubs you’ve joined, recent college coursework, and even internships thus far are all relevant and should be listed! Can’t remember what you’ve done? A scroll through old planners (or even old emails) may help to jog your memory.

Market your skills, not your experience in chronological order!

A huge reason your résumé seems blank and lifeless is because you’re probably formatting it in a way that forces all of your experience into one section of the page. Rather than organizing it chronologically, try breaking the page up into categories like “Leadership,” “Social Media,” or “Administration.” Check out this guide, which helped me discover organizational formats I hadn’t been aware of before.

You Never Know What They’re Looking For— Nothing’s Too “Irrelevant” to Include!

Don’t omit certain skills just because they don’t fit the job description. It’s the wording you should tailor to the audience, not the entire skill set you list, because you never know– Once a company sees your skills, that clerical position you applied for could turn into you being selected to help them revamp their social media pages (True story.)! When using the same résumé for multiple applications, use different industry buzz words and action verbs to show how “irrelevant” experiences helped you gain knowledge that appeals to several different positions.

Don’t lie, or what ever you call it.

Your professors and parents may have called it “exaggerating” or a “half-truth”, but my advice is to beware. Being our age means that our employers are on the prowl for employees like us with knowledge that doesn’t come as easily to them. If you boast that you’re “adept with Microsoft’s operating system”, you better believe they’re going to assume you are Bill Gates’ Gen Z protege. Making up or overestimating your current experience and skills will lead to one thing, and one thing only— embarrassment.

Take Action

What’s the absolute easiest way to fill a résumé? Get out there! Not all volunteer opportunities near you involve senior citizen’s birthday parties (as adorable as they may be). Getting involved in the industry you’re interested in is just a Google search away, and will make your résumé building a breeze. Didn’t think your classwork could be important outside of the classroom? Start putting your all into it! Any college clubs or organizations that catch your eye? Join them! Not a Style Guru for CollegeFashionista yet? Apply to be one!

The best solution to that feeling of inadequacy that résumé anxiety brings is to make yourself into the type of well-rounded individual employers dream of. And once you have more experience than you know what to do with, check out this article for a few more imperative tips. Good luck at your future interviews!

(All photos via Pinterest)