I want to extend a hearty shout out to all those who completed (or will shortly complete) “micro internships” via organizations such as theforage.com or parkerdewey.com. These budding professionals are already updating their resumes to showcase the projects they worked on this summer and the skills they deployed to benefit notable companies. Some received offers from these companies to work for them during the school year or post-graduation. Others used the opportunity to discover more about the world of work and the type of area they may enjoy pursuing.
Special note: In the next few days, applications close for an exceptional remote government internship program that existed long before “work from home” (WFH), became part of our pandemic lingo. It’s called the Virtual Student Federal Service program – vsfs.state.gov – and it enables you to choose from a plethora of federal agency projects that you have interest in working on during the academic year. Whether or not you pursue a career with a government agency, these internships are highly prized by both interns and prospective employers that subsequently view their resume.
Speaking of resumes, a couple of weeks ago I wrote of my volunteer work on an Institutional Review Board (IRB). To gain a sense of the primary investigator’s medical and research experience, we standardly request that they append their Curriculum Vitae (CV) to their study submission. A CV is an extended form of resume that is largely confined to the world of academia. It is a diary of sorts that lists presentations, posters, and publications in addition to experience. Recently, a 69-page submission delineating every aspect of the research protocol was accompanied by a 19-page CV. By the time I got to page three of the applicant’s CV, I was more than convinced that she was capable of quality research, and I must confess that I barely glanced at the remaining 16 pages.
Unless you are in academia (and even then), this week’s key takeaway is that less is more. If your resume is more than one page and you have less than five years’ experience in the workforce, examine each section. Is it repetitive? Does each position present the potential employer with new information that they could not have gleaned anywhere else? If not, consider deleting it or merging it with another position. Don’t make your margins too thin or the font too small. (If someone more than 10 years older than you can’t read it without squinting, then it’s too small.) Use a professional recruiter or career coach to help you.
A colleague of mine likens a resume to a movie trailer: include several of the most action-packed scenes from your work history, and leave the reader wanting to see the entire movie. There’s so much more I could write in this column regarding resume do’s and don’ts, but I need to stop somewhere and as mentioned, the more I write, the more I risk the reader losing interest or not being able to identify the most salient points. Resumes are similar: you don’t need to list every single detail and accomplishment. Be selective. Leave the reader wanting more.