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The Quality of Your Resume Matters. Even for a Volunteer Position.

The Quality of Your Resume Matters. Even for a Volunteer Position.

A few years ago, I interviewed a student who didn't put much effort into making their resume a professional document.

As they were only a second-year student, I didn’t expect their resume to be packed with awards and accomplishments—after all I knew that an in-depth research experience would give them the opportunities to do just that. But I did expect a basic level of professionalism.

This student, unfortunately, fell short of that when they pulled a crumpled, hand-written list of activities out of the bottom of their backpack while stating, “Sorry, I was in a rush this morning.” (It's worth noting that the resume was on the back of an advertisement as well. I think> it was a pizza menu but I can't recall.)

As you can guess, this interaction did not make a favorable impression as there was a two week gap between when the interview was scheduled and when it was held.

Your resume or CV represents more than the information you have on it. It represents how much you value the opportunity you’re interviewing for and how much you value details. And in research, all the details are important.

Because it’s relatively easy to craft a high-quality resume or CV from a template, a poorly constructed one sends the message that you were either too busy (not a good sign) or too lazy (even worse) or unable (yikes!) to do so. As tempting as it is, don’t cut corners here.

Although a less-than-perfect resume won’t prevent you from getting an interview, a well-crafted one will give you the advantage over all students who submit a subpar one.

Fortunately, you don't have to figure this out on your own. Check in with your campus career resource center or, if you have it, office of undergraduate research. Whether you have a polished resume and need an experienced person to spot errors, or are having trouble getting started and need guidance on picking a template, connecting with the professionals on your campus will help you get it done.