It’s Time to Update Your Resume

photo of hands typing on a laptop
Published: Friday, March 3, 2017 by Kate M. Spaulding

On Wednesday, SJSU Career Center liaison extraordinaire, Jill Klees, held her monthly workshop via Collaborate. Her presentation – “It’s Time to Update Your Resume” – was timely for those of you preparing to graduate, students thinking about doing an internship in the summer or fall, recent graduates, or any of us who want to get a job. So, in sum, it was useful for everyone! 

Jill began by stating, “The main purpose of a resume is to get an interview, not the job.” This may sound surprising, but it also takes some of the pressure off, right? Basically, your resume needs to pique the interest of the employer enough that they want to talk to you face-to-face.

So, how to write one of these rise-to-the-top-of-the-heap resumes? Well, it’s just a few steps:

  1. Find a posting that makes you think, “I can do that!”
  2. Determine what specific elements of the job posting make you believe that. Which of your skills and experience spring to mind?
  3. Figure out how exactly you fulfill the required elements. Pull together the specifics.
  4. Create an organized, concise, and targeted resume; that is, the resume you send to a job posting should be unique and crafted to match what the employer is seeking.

In a nutshell, that’s it!

Of course, it’s easier said than done.

All Experience is Good Experience
One attendee asked, “How do you do that if you only have academic experience?” Jill pointed out that academic experience is experience. For example, the projects you’re working on in your courses count. Include relevant projects on your resume. Perhaps they prove you can make a LibGuide or create a website from scratch; group projects can highlight collaboration and leadership skills. If you’ve worked in any kind of student assistant role – a Collaborate Assistant or Peer Mentor, for example – that is great experience, too. 

Acomplishment Tips. Ask yourself: What did I accomplish in this position? and How does it relate to my objective? Demonstrate what you did versus simply listing duties or responsibilities. Start with an action verb. Think about what you did or what you were involved in? Think about how you performed the action. What skills did you use? When possible, conclude with the result, outcome, or learning of your action; quantify with numbers or percentages.

Are you someone who thinks you have irrelevant jobs in your history? That might not be true. Consider what skills you used or experience you gained in those jobs. Jill suspects you actually have quite a few that will transfer over to the LIS world. For example, if you worked in retail, you honed your customer service and communication skills. Those are both highly sought-after skills in libraries and beyond.

Can you quantify any of your skills? Demonstrate results? That’s fantastic. If you oversaw social media for one of the iSchool’s student groups, for instance, maybe you can say that the total number of likes increased 30% or the account gained 100 followers in the first two weeks. Those numbers prove that you can do what you say.

Jill also provided several examples of real-life resume reworking. Included in these were samples from non-LIS resumes that she transformed so they were applicable to an LIS position. Are you worried about having mostly or only non-LIS experience? You’re not alone, and seeing Jill demonstrate how to refocus resume language was eye-opening.

Jill covered all this and so much more during the workshop, including resume formatting and tailoring. Links to past sessions are posted on the iSchool's Career Development website section, so definitely check this one out when you are ready to give your resume a facelift!

Presentation slide courtesy Jill Klees

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