How to Build Your Resume – The Basics

Filling out a simple application may have been enough to snag that part-time summer job at the ice cream store during high school. But now that you’re in college, it’s time to graduate to a more advanced job-finding tool: the professional resume.

Creating your first resume can seem daunting, especially since your professional experience may be limited. But the sooner you master this skill, the sooner you’ll have a document you can easily send out whenever you happen upon an internship or employment opportunity.

When starting out, don’t be intimidated. No one expects a student resume to contain long lists of accomplishments, but you should have at least one or two. It should also convey your interests, goals and potential — all within one page. Use short, declarative phrases and action verbs instead of full sentences and try to keep the tone positive and upbeat.

Start by including your name, city of residence, email address and phone number — typically centered at the top, with your name in larger, bold font. If you have a LinkedIn account, you can include that, but be sure to leave out any other personal social media accounts. This is a professional document, not a showcase of your social connections.

You can also include a summary statement outlining your goals, but it isn’t necessarily required. Perhaps you’re an art major looking for a chance to develop your graphic design skills, a computer science major interested in work as a programmer or a marketing major seeking a chance to work on marketing campaigns. The key here is to demonstrate you already have some knowledge in a given field and are looking to expand it by gaining practical experience.

Stick to a traditional resume format, using a commonplace font such as Calibri or Arial. Save the crazy, hard-to-read fonts and wild colors for your art projects. Sure, you want your resume to stand out, but you want it to stand out for the information it contains, not its oddball appearance.

Next, add an education section. Make the entries reverse-chronological, beginning with your current studies. Be sure to include your degree objective and your planned date of graduation. Don’t forget to add your extracurricular activities, particularly teams and clubs. Employers want to see how you have been involved and what you do with your free time. Skills and accomplishments aren’t the only reasons people get hired. Employers also want to connect with their employees as people with talents and interests, not just robots to do a job. You can also add a bullet point about projects you completed at school. Don’t feel like you need to include every single one, but try to include projects that show specific skills you have acquired that are related to the job you are applying for. Maybe you led the planning of senior prom, or maybe you did market research for a local business. Those are examples of the accomplishments that set you apart and show what you can do if you professional experience is limited.

After education, add the professional experience section. This is the place to list any jobs you’ve had, even if they were babysitting or summer jobs. Include the beginning and ending dates and briefly list your main responsibilities. The idea is to demonstrate that you’re responsible, conscientious and can follow directions.

Including an accomplishments section can help paint a fuller picture of who you are. This is the place to note any awards or distinctions you have received. You can also include any high grade point averages, projects you completed at school or volunteer experiences. Basically, list things here you’re proud of or which would reveal aspects of your character to a potential employer. Try to use quantifiable support whenever possible. If you increased sales by 4% for your sales team over the summer, be sure to add that concrete, quantifiable number.

You may also include a skills section if you think it’s warranted. This is the place to list any computer software proficiencies you’ve used or office skills you’ve developed. Make sure the skills you list relate to the types of positions you’re seeking. For example, forklift driving would not be a useful skill for a sales position unless you’d be selling forklifts.

Finally, take time to edit and format your resume. A resume filled with typos and formatting errors does little to convey that you’re careful and conscientious. Have a friend or your parent proofread your resume to make sure you didn’t miss any typos and to get their opinion.

View your resume as a work in progress. It will remain an important professional tool throughout your work life, evolving and growing as you graduate college, get your first full-time job, and progress in your career.

Share Button

How to Build Good Credit in College

Credit - 1MB

You have most likely heard people talk about the importance of having good credit. It’s also likely you were never taught what “credit” even means or how to improve it. Let’s face it, you probably didn’t learn about it in high-school, and you probably didn’t learn it in college either!

Simply put, credit is your ability to buy things now, based on the trust that you will pay for it later. Of course, you can cross your heart and hope-to- die that you will pay for that 70-inch TV later, but without a proven track record, no one can believe you.

Credit is developed by consistently fulfilling that obligation on time (like your monthly credit card bill, car payment, mortgage payment, etc.).  Credit is expressed on a numerical scale from 300 – 850 (850 being a perfect score).

Don’t worry, no one is perfect, but the optimal score that banks and credit unions want you to have is about 720-740. The higher your score, the more a financial institution can trust you. What this means for you is higher trust equates to better benefits.

You might be tempted at some point to simply ignore the whole credit game altogether and go through life on your debit card. I know I was, and sometimes I still am! However, poor credit scores can make health, car, and life insurance more expensive. It can become difficult to get a cell phone contract or even an apartment!

Good credit is important to avoid problems while moving through life, but it is absolutely necessary to progress financially. You don’t want to live in your parents’ basement for the rest of your life or drive that beater multi-colored Honda Civic your dad drove while he was in college. Good credit is necessary to make big purchases like a that 70-inch TV, a new car, or a house.

Okay, so it’s important, but what should you even do?  Here are 3 things college students can do to build good credit.

1. Get a credit card. 

Get a credit card and stay on top of it. Getting a major credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover) helps get your credit score into the 700’s and enables you to apply for car loans, house loans, and others.Try to find a credit card that offers no annual fee that also has a low interest rate.

Use your first credit card to pay for small, frequent purchases like gas and groceries instead of big purchases like a mattress or the TV. Using the credit card for the frequent little purchases makes it easier to pay off every month because that is money you would spend no matter what.

What if your credit is too low to even get a credit card? Don’t worry, there’s a way out of that.

Most banks and credit unions offer secured credit cards. Secured credit cards are low limit credit cards meant to help those with bad credit recover. They are similar to prepaid credit cards – you pay a certain amount to open the card, that amount is now your credit limit.

Then you pay off the balance like any other credit card, allowing you to rebuild your credit. That amount you paid to open the card in the first place is the collateral the institution holds in case you fail to make payments. That is how the institution protects itself.

Utah Community Credit Union offers a special “Build Good Credit Loan” for those looking to recover from bad credit or strengthen the credit the already have. To learn more, come into to any of the 15 locations

2. Keep debt low 

When you have a credit card, keep the balance well below the limit. Most financial institutions recommend staying below 70% of the credit limit, but staying around 30% of the credit limit is optimal.

You may have heard the term “maxed out my credit card.” Maxing out a credit card means using your credit limit, and this can make it very difficult to pay off. It can also get the credit card locked, which will deny any further use until it is paid off.

Keeping the balance low (by paying it off frequently) shows that you are living within your financial means and that you could handle more responsibility (like a car). Credit Cards will have a minimum monthly payment required on all standing balances. Be sure to pay more than the minimum amount in order to pay off debt faster.

Tip: If you are unable to afford the minimum monthly payment, you have taken on too much debt and need to curb your spending.

If you already have a credit card, you are paying it off, and you are keeping the balance low, the next step is to get another credit card. Two credit cards working to improve your score is better than one. The same principles apply to the second credit card as the first. Keep the balance low and pay it off every month on time.

Don’t become a credit card collector- don’t get a second credit card and then never use it, an inactive credit card can actually push your credit score down.  You could buy a pack of gum, then pay it off that next day and the credit card will stay active and keep building your credit.

Many credit cards offer special benefits like miles or points for airline ticket purchase and other products; shop around a bit to find the best one. Start your search by visiting the UCCU credit card page here:

3. Stay consistent 

Stay at the same job for longer periods of time. Financial institutions want to see reliability and stability. If they see that you change jobs every couple months, you will look too risky. While still in school, it is not uncommon to change every 5-6 months. After college, however, it is best to stay for at least 1-2 years.

Stay in one place. Again, the goal is stability and reliability. Moving apartments every few months looks risky. You could be moving for perfectly legitimate reasons, but the creditors won’t know that. Frequent moving could indicate inability to pay rent, as well as other financial irresponsibility.

Of course, the most important way to stay consistent is to pay all bills on time and in full. Late payments on things like utilities, phone bill, credit card, and other loans can all negatively impact your credit score.

Your turn: What are some other tips and tricks for building good credit? Be sure to share this article with your friends and family so they too can progress financially!

By Kelby Gatrell

Kelby Gatrell is the Social Media Marketing Intern at Utah Community Credit Union. He currently attends Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and is double-majoring in Business Marketing and Russian Studies.


How to Build Credit

Share Button