First off, congratulations! Regardless of your circumstances, updating your résumé after earning your online degree and applying for jobs can be a fulfilling and, honestly, fun experience. What’s better than listing out all your achievements and scoping out your dream job? The only real downside of updating your résumé (if you could call it that) is trying to figure out how to get your résumé right.
There is a lot of conflicting advice floating around the internet to sift through. So, it can be challenging to get it done right. Don’t worry. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about including your online degree on your résumé and provide tips and tricks for everything else.
What to Include on Your Résumé
The best way to ensure that your résumé is properly formatted is to ensure that you have a clear idea about what it should include (and not include!) Not only will this help you avoid having your super long résumé skipped over by prospective recruiters, but you will also be able to create a basic outline from which to work. Here is a breakdown of everything you need to include on your résumé.
This one is simple. Any employers that you apply to will need to contact you to move forward in the hiring process. Be sure to include your name, email address, and a phone number where you can be reliably contacted at the top of your résumé.
Check and double-check this information. You do not want to lose out on a job because you missed a digit on your phone number.
If your email address is humorous, consider updating it to something more professional. For example, “email@example.com” is probably not helpful when it comes to getting an interview. “firstname.lastname@example.org” is a little better, but not much. Try “email@example.com”. For example, “firstname.lastname@example.org”. (That’s not Michael’s real email, by the way.)
Your Online Degree
Your online degree demonstrates your qualification for the positions you apply for and should be included in your résumé in the same way you would include a traditional degree.
There is some debate surrounding whether you should include the date of completion of your online degree. However, you should include this information. It is not something to be hidden; but rather, celebrated. You went back to school, put in the hard work to complete your coursework, and earned your degree.
It is a major achievement. Potential employers should see it as a mark of your tenacity, perseverance, and dedication alongside your qualifications for the position.
You do not need to include the word “online.” Just include the official name of your school and the official name of your degree earned. For example, “Institute of Medical and Business Careers, Associate of Specialized Technology – Veterinary Technician.”
Job History Dating Back Fifteen Years
The bulk of your résumé will be dedicated to your job history. This information is valuable to your future employers. Job history demonstrates your work ethic, your reliability, and any related skills you have gained through previous jobs. Try not to include anything beyond the last fifteen years.
This will keep your résumé concise and give you plenty of room to include multiple jobs, if applicable. Including 1-2 sentences describing your responsibilities at each employer, as well as any major accomplishments, is always wise.
If you have not worked yet, that’s okay, too! You will be highlighting your skills, certifications, and more.
Relevant Skills and Certifications
In addition to your online degree, if you have earned additional certifications or hold hard skills relevant to the position you are applying for, be sure to include them. It may seem like a hat-on-a-hat, but it can highlight your dedication to the field and bettering yourself.
This section is not necessary but can help you avoid having your résumé skipped. It provides the hiring manager with a summary that explains who you are, why you are qualified for the job, and why you are applying for it in a few short sentences. In short, it is what makes your résumé skimmable.
What to Leave Off Your Résumé
Now that you know what to include on your résumé, it is a good idea to run through the things that you should leave off. Here’s what you need to know.
Soft Skills Using Fluffy Words
It is great to include your best and most marketable skills on your résumé, but that does not mean you should fill a section with soft-skills using fluffy words. They take up valuable real estate on your résumé, and there are better ways to express these skills and better skills to include. Stay away from these common filler skills which all employers will expect you to possess:
- Willingness to Learn
Do include hard skills, such as additional certifications, computer literacy, and typing speed.
It may be a good idea to include a note such as “References available upon request.” However, if you are sending out numerous applications, it is best to leave references off your résumé. If you move further along in the hiring process and references are requested, that is the time to share them.
Just be sure that you actually do have references to produce upon request and that you give those references a heads up when you are actively being considered for a position. This way, your references will be expecting a call from an unknown number.
Ideally, you will have three references, including at least one former manager or supervisor, and one former co-worker (or subordinate if you were a manager). Family members are not qualified references.
If you do not have work experience, you will likely use your instructors and school administrators as references. This is why it is so important to maintain good relationships with these folks. They can be a huge help in this department.
Your Full Address
Everything is digital nowadays, including the job application process. If you applied to a position online, expect responses digitally, as well. Unless you are asked for your full address, a simplified address, including your city/town, state, and zip code, will suffice in most situations.
Any non-essential information that brings the length of your résumé over two pages should be removed. In fact, your résumé shouldn’t be over a page in length. However, if you have an extensive job history relevant to the position you seek, it is alright to include up to two pages.
Getting your résumé right can be challenging, but it is not an impossible task. However, it helps if you have the right resources to help guide you in the right direction. Generally, graduates who have earned their online degree have access to career development aid offered through their school’s student services. Use the career development department to help you craft your résumé.
IMBC is a school that cares about your success, even after you graduate. Our commitment to student post-grad success means that students have access to tons of resources including internships and résumé preparation. Want to learn more about what IMBC can offer you? Get in touch today!