Resume: The paper ambassador

Even for those who just recently set foot on a college campus, the concept of life after college looms in the distance. After getting that diploma, choosing a career seems to be the selected path of most students.

However, there is more to getting a job than just a college degree. Getting a job requires time, hard work and, equally important, a resume.

Just as getting a college degree was not easy, building a resume appears to be no simpler. Because a resume is a paper representation of a job applicant, quality is key.

There are people and organizations to help with resumes. Companies throughout the United States offer services like resume critiques, although some charge hefty fees.

“I am in my junior year of college, and I needed to get a resume started for my future career,” Erica Drake, a USF student, said. “I called a few places around the area to see about help, and the prices were just outrageous.”

The Internet is always a good place to start looking for resume tips. For a fee, sites such as offer extensive help in components, do’s and don’ts, as well as samples of resumes.

A little closer to home, the USF Career Center offers assistance in building resumes for students, and the fee for most of the services at the Career Center is minimal or nonexistent. According to Drema Howard, the director of the USF Career Center, even most part-time employers expect and appreciate when applicants have a resume.

The Career Center offers free resume workshops throughout the semester. According to its Web site, the remaining workshops of the semester are on April 5 and 20.

According to Howard, students are encouraged to bring a rough draft of their resume with them when coming to the workshop.

“It would be a disservice to the student to just tell them to fill in the blanks,” Howard said. “We want them to understand how to develop a resume the first time.”

For those who have trouble starting a resume, there are plenty of remedies. The Career Center offers resume books in its Career Library; students can view sample resumes and draft one according to the model. There are also Web sites and programs about developing resumes, such as Resume Tutor, that can help one build a resume from scratch. Templates are available that explain their components, such as education, experience, objectives and optional information.

“Our goal is to teach students how to write a resume,” Howard said. “The three steps are very important: draft, critique and polish.”

According to Howard, a good resume needs to reflect and market what the student will bring to an employer. The Career Center helps with just that. They take the student from where they are at and offer advice.

As far as a resume’s components, there are certain attributes that should and should not be included. According to, education should be used as an advantage. For graduating or recently graduating students, education should be used as the centerpiece if minimal related work experience is available.

“I worried about having a resume that was too short and didn’t have enough information,” Drake said. “All that I have relating to my field in accounting is my school work.” suggests showcasing academic achievements, extracurricular activities, special projects and related courses. The company advises against providing too much personal information if it is not relevant to the job, but says sometimes this information can serve as a conversation starter.

Most resumes include an objective. This objective, according to, should include a career summary that is hard-hitting. They offer tips such as conducting research on the ideal job, assessing credentials, focusing on the goal, and relaying possessed value that can be brought to the position. also suggests adding graphics to a resume to grab the attention of an employer.

Once a resume is drafted, it is important to know what to do with it. The Career Center offers rewrite sessions once each semester. According to Howard, an employer-relations team runs a four-day seminar in which professionals and employers drop by and critique student resumes.

“It’s a real advantage for USF students to be able to have their resume critiqued by professionals and employers who know exactly what to look for,” Howard said.

The Career Center also offers a database for students with completed resumes. Within 24 hours of registering with the service and initializing an account, a resume can be uploaded on Career Connections. Through the database, according to Howard, students can access a job listing service with part-time, full-time, internship, and co-op positions. According to the Career Center Web site, employers can access students’ resumes. Students can also e-mail their resume to listed employers that accept electronic resumes.

Career Connections also coordinates on-campus interviews, said Howard. Students can arrange to have their interview videotaped and their responses and behavior critiqued by professionals.

Building a resume, just as anything else in life, can have a great impact on a person’s professional future. For those who have trouble, help is offered in many different ways and places. To contact the Career Center, visit , call 813-974-2171 or stop by the Student Services Building.