Resume Taboos to be Broken [Students]

A number that consistently blows students’ minds is the fact that they only have six seconds to grab a recruiter’s attention. That’s how long, on average, a recruiter or employer will initially spend perusing your resume before sorting your internship application into a given pile. Before sending off your resume, read these common taboos and how to overcome them on your resume.

Taboo #1: Over-designing your resume

Although it might sound a little boring to do so, you’ll really be helping yourself out by keeping your resume simple. Now’s not the time to crack your knuckles and put your creative writing and design experience to extravagant use.

resume crumpled

Subscribe to the right resume format, use plain language and make sure that you use a easy-to-read and consistent font. It’s surprising how many students tap their inner Van Gogh and opt for multiple colors or fonts on their resume which makes it difficult to read. Use any bold or italicized text sparingly: Remember that if everything is emphasized, italicized or highlighted then, in effect, nothing stands out. View resume templates online for ideas on what works and doesn’t work.

Taboo #2: Using complicated language and vocabulary

When preparing your resume, you should convey your merits – what you bring to the table personally, academically and professionally – without getting bogged down in technical titles and terminology.

Put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes and bullet point the reasons that you feel you’re qualified for the internship, while keeping in mind common classes employers look for in students. This should entail reading over the internship’s requirements, checking out the company’s website and, if the opportunity presents itself, speaking with former interns to find out their experience. This can clue you into what to de/emphasize in your application.

For example, let’s say that you held a previous internship in which you increased a company’s brand awareness with customers by making social media posts. Let’s also say this was an IT company. Instead of saying that you were a “social media IT manager” explain in one or two plain-English bullet points what you did day-to-day.

Taboo #3: Making your resume too long

You should keep your resume to one page and make it absolutely clear to what position you’re applying. You’d be shocked how often recruiters say some variation of, “geez, that’s great, but what internship is this person applying for?”

Again, remember you only have 6 seconds to capture attention. Don’t add so much fluff that your resume extends into a second or third page. Something important may be missed.

Taboo #4: Keeping your resume generic for all positions

Your objective statement on your resume should be short, concise and tailored to the internship that you’re looking to fill. With your objective statement, you want to imagine the most concise way to summarize your previous experiences.

Suppose you’ve spent the last two years as an editor for your college’s newspaper, contributed two political features for the paper, majored in political science, canvassed for local political candidates, and want to intern with a nationally syndicated political website.

A fine objective statement might read, “Political science major with journalism background seeks to contribute as local politics commentator.” You’re really trying to roll years of previous experience into one digestible chunk for time-strapped recruiters.

Finally, after reading through the company’s website, if you notice keywords popping out left and right, and you feel it’s appropriate to do so given your background, feel free to pepper those into your resume to hold the recruiter’s attention.

Remember, six seconds.

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Bridge is a program that focuses on connecting employers and students in Rhode Island. The goal of Bridge is to match Rhode Island employers with talented students looking to gain valuable professional experience. Applying knowledge and skills acquired in college to a professional setting is a vital component of a student’s college education. Students who gain relevant internship experience are better prepared for full-time employment after graduation. By hiring interns, employers gain qualified, career-driven young professionals as employees. Student bring with them exposure to cutting edge practices and technology, new insights and philosophies, flexibility and a thirst for knowledge. bRIdge has a particular focus on connecting students and employers from specialized fields such as Business, Science, IT, Technology, Health, Design, Engineering and Manufacturing. The bRIdge website allows employers to post paid or unpaid internships online and directly reach out to a vast and talented pool of students. College students and recent graduates can sign up and start looking for an appropriate professional learning opportunity in minutes. bRIdge is a program of the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) and RISLA’s College Planning Center of Rhode Island. RISLA has joined up with Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island (AICURI), the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education (RIBGHE) and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce to bring together academia, business and community. If you have any questions about this program or if you need any assistance, please feel free to contact us.

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