Our How to Get Hired series exists to help you land your dream job. After you’ve wowed your potential employer with a quick-witted and impressive cold e-mail, the next thing they’ll take a look at is your resume. We’ve asked around the MTV and Much offices—the actual people who interview and hire our digital interns—for their Dos, Don’ts and Nevers of resume writing.
Resume writing is tough, especially when you don’t have a lot of relevant work experience to brag about. Keeping in mind that this advice comes from a team that primarily deals with editorial and digital content (We deal with media and marketing. Depending on what kind of job you’re applying for, the rules might change), here’s our advice. There seems to be three main components of a resume. They are:
Your Personal Information
A personal profile or quick blurb about yourself is more valuable than a job objective. Job objectives are almost never executed correctly. Additionally, if your objective reads “to gain a position at COMPANY NAME” and nothing else, you’re in trouble.
Including your home address is becoming more and more unnecessary (is your potential employer really going to MAIL you a response? In the MAIL? On PAPER? The chance of this happening is less likely than the chances of Zayn returning to One Direction). It’s more relevant (in our field, at least) to include your Twitter or Instagram handle.
Exclude experience that doesn’t apply. Put bluntly, no one cares about anything you achieved in high school. The fact that you were a barista for two years probably won’t impress anyone (coffee slingers, don’t take this personally, this is coming from someone who is still a barista).
Include the most relevant parts of your employment/volunteer history within the last five years. Be specific about what you accomplished and contributed to achieve an end result. Use verbs. Quantify your accomplishments if you can. For example, instead of saying you “wrote articles”, say “wrote articles that averaged 250 views”
Education, Skills and Qualifications
Stop adding “proficient with Microsoft Word” under your list of skills. No one past the year 2001 considered this to be remarkable. Put skills that are relevant to the job. In terms of education, don’t include your high school. It’s assumed you graduated from high school if you were accepted to and graduated from a college or university. In some cases, it might be appropriate to include some coursework outside your major that is relevant to the position. For us, that could include graphic design courses, advanced marketing courses or coding classes.
In terms of ordering the information, Brooke, who works in brand partnerships on the corporate side of FORA, advised: “You basically have 30 seconds of the readers’ attention, so make the first thing they read make sense for who they’re looking to hire.”
Other things to consider
Like skirts and ads before YouTube videos, when it comes to resumes, the shorter, the better. The general consensus states one page as the ideal. If you really need it, two pages maximum. Especially if you’re still in school or have just graduated.
Make sure that formatting is consistent with your corresponding cover letter if you’re sending one as well. Don’t have page breaks in awkward places (if you have more than one page)(which you shouldn’t). Fonts are important. Pick a good one. Adding visual elements such as a logo is great way to spruce up your resume and to stick out in someone’s mind.
The file itself
Save your resume as a PDF. Especially if you’re applying for a digital job. Formatting can get out of whack when sending to different screen sizes or from Mac to PC/PC to Mac. Include your first and last name in the file name for convenience.
It’s a convenient way to provide the person screening your resume more information about yourself should they be interested.
It’s not necessary to list that you have references available upon request. It’s assumed that if an employer requires them you’ll be able to provide them.
Showing instead of telling
A well-written, visually pleasing resume can let the employer know that you have strong writing skills, a keen eye for design and an organized way of thinking. And this is a lot more convincing than a boring bullet list of words.