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Lessons Learned at Resume Gallery

Browsing dozens of resumes hung on display taught me several things about what makes a good resume stand out. Here is what I learned from the Lehigh students who shared their resumes to demonstrate the importance of a well formatted document and pursuing experiences that prepared them for life after Lehigh.

Resume Gallery is an event that displays real Lehigh student resumes like an art show. The resumes are from Freshman - graduate students and demonstrate a wide range of experiences, skills, formats and organization. Students are invited to come browse the show to see examples of the best ways to showcase Lehigh talent, diverse experiences and career prep.

Resume Rules Vary by Industry

An accounting resume and a graphic design resume shouldn’t look the same, that's because the industries are significantly different and therefore prioritize different things. So when it comes to color, organization, skills, and content a good resume aligns to its industry norms. This also means there is no one best way to make a resume but instead a resume should be designed for the audience reviewing it, including industry specific buzz words.

But the 1 page Rule Applies to Everyone

The general rule is until you have 10 years of related experience, your resume should be a single page document. That means undergrads and even most graduate students should only have a single page resume, which is highly preferred by recruiters. A resume is not everything you have ever done, but instead it should feature the most recent and related experiences. If you need more room LinkedIn allows you share more details and information and you can include a link to your profile in your contact information at the top of your resume.

Its Gotta be Easy to Read

Did you know the average time a resume gets on its first review is only 6-10 seconds? A few things make a resume easy to scan. First is consistency: Font, font size and formatting. Most students will add to or edit their resume every semester, but it should still feel like one consistent document. Limited use of bold to draw the eye to job titles but avoiding italics (because it's harder to read during a quick scan it may be skipped completely) help pull you to the important details. Second, white space is important. Breaking up the page with empty lines that seperate sections and experiences helps the eye read through the entire document quickly. Resumes with every line in use and/or tiny margins make the page feel overwhelming.

Errors Can Cost You an Opportunity

Simple typos, inconsistent formatting or missing information jump out at the reader and can be a deal breaker for recruiters. Taking time to have your resume proofread by the Career Center or a networking contact is a great way to make sure your document is error free.

GPA is Only 1 Line on the Page

While GPA is important, it's also only a single line on your resume. Lots of other things like related experience, relevant skills, research, study abroad, leadership, campus involvement and other experiences also have value. You do need to prioritize your education, but you also need to fill your resume with experiences, especially getting hands on experience that is related to your career goals.

Related Experience Comes in Lot of Shapes and Sizes

Speaking of related experience, keep in mind it doesn’t have to be limited to an formal summer “internship”. Research, job shadowing, study abroad, part-time positions, volunteer roles, academic projects and lots of other experiences can build experience that will prepare you for a career after graduation. It doesn’t matter what your job title was, the value of a position comes from the experience, skills or learning you gained. If you need ideas on the type of related experiences you should pursue explore the job board on Handshake, talk to a mentor on Lehigh Connects, ask for suggestions from your professors or meet with the Career Center to identify experiences that align to your career goals.

Want to check out the Resume Gallery for yourself? This program is offered every spring and the details are found on Handshake. In 2020 the resumes will be on display from Feb. 6-14th outside the Career Center in 500 Maginnes.

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