You have more control in your career launch process than you think you do.  The first step to really feel in control is crafting a resume that reflects your hard work and attention to detail.  Putting it down on paper can be tough because you have to recall and prioritize achievements and accomplishments.  Where do you start?  What do you include?  How detailed do you need to be?  Take heart, because resume work doesn’t mean you have to be especially creative, nor do you need to show deep proficiency in a range of skills and experience areas right now.  All you have to do with your resume is show a hiring manager that you have potential, and that the work you’ve done demonstrates what you’re capable of doing for the target employer.

You’ll begin by organizing your experience into easy-to-identify sections.  You’ll see how to construct your resume through the details and examples on the following pages, but for now, here’s some rationale for you to use:

The best way to succeed with your resume creation is to visualize another person—a hiring manager—reading it.  Typically, industry professionals spend no more than a few seconds scanning a resume to decide if they want to read for details.  By dividing your resume into clearly defined sections and using words and phrases designed for rapid comprehension, you can grab a hiring manager’s attention.  You probably will never have a complete sentence on your undergraduate resume, and should rely on (technical) nouns and verb phrases only, often formatted with bullets.  Again, more on this later. For now we’re just hitting the highlights to help you get into a resume-development mindset.

What about length?  Here’s a simple rule:  confine your resume to one page until later in your undergraduate career.  By around your third year, when you’ve been engaged in class projects in your concentration, have acquired an internship or co-op, added to your skills, and been active on campus, it will be difficult to confine yourself to one page.  At that point, you’re likely to go to a two-page resume, and can sometimes squeeze in a third page addendum of project details if necessary, unless a company specifically calls for one-page resumes.

Finally, don’t try to craft your resume at one sitting because you might forget some important details.  Create a draft and go back to it as needed.

To learn more about the specifics of crafting your resume:

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