Resume is cornerstone to success

Shelby Schroeder and Shelby Schroeder

Students looking forward to graduation have a lot to worry about – mostly whether they’ll be getting a job after the drudging work they’ve committed themselves to for at least the past four years.

Many fall short of recognizing that the ticket to getting one’s foot in the door may be more powerful than their degree or experience itself – it might just be their resume.

In fact, dozens of Web sites, organizations and instructors feel that the ideal resume can land students the job of their dreams.

But how much does the resume make the job-hunting grad?

And, if 72 percent of students and recent graduates polled on say their resume is either non-existent or in need of an update, should they be worried about reaching their career goals?

Soon-to-be graduates, like Kate Freedman, a communications major who will receive her degree in December, often wait to create a resume until graduation is in sight.

She began by compiling information from friends’ resumes that had similar work history and group involvement before approaching BGSU’s Career Center for help.

‘Resumes are the cornerstone of the job search,’ said JoAnn Kroll, director of the Career Center.

Kroll has 28 years of experience handling resumes and sees around 200 of them per year.

Increased competition through advancements in database and corporate Web site postings, as well as newspaper ads, means the resume and cover letter, as the first impression, must be perfect, Kroll said.

Victoria Ekstrand, an assistant professor for the department of journalism, said sloppiness is often the first reason resumes are sent to the shredder.

‘The first order is who you can eliminate,’ said Ekstrand, who worked as part of the senior management team at the Associated Press and sometimes sifted through hundreds of resumes for a single position.

She understands the competitiveness of the job market, and infuses resume and portfolio creation into some of her courses, but said, unlike popular belief, there are only general rules to creating resumes.

The key, said Ekstrand, is knowing what the field requires and using the resume to respond favorably to those particular employers’ wants.

Tammie Hechler, the Human Resource manager at Behavioral Connections of Wood County, said their hiring philosophy is to determine first whether the applicant meets the minimum requirements for the position.

‘Color, quality or presentation don’t matter, as long as you fulfill the requirements,’ Hechler said.

She is responsible for skimming through resumes and applications to identify the educational, work-related and license criteria necessary to proceed with an interview – the step Hechler said is the real determinant of whether the applicant will fit in with the company.

Kroll reiterates that the interview is vital in influencing favor among employers, which is likely why the Career Center’s Career Search Guide features guidance on interviews as the second longest topic – behind resume creation – in the 96-page manual.

Kroll said the combination of having a stand-out resume, being an intrepid job hunter and nailing the interview are all part of the involved process of career attainment, and students shouldn’t count out the Career Center as a valuable resource.