A 'pretty' resume is not always a useful one
November 29, 2017
As a college junior I am continually looking for ways to better market myself to potential employers. For instance, during the second week of the upcoming spring semester, I will be in the Washington, D.C. area attending the Leadership Institute’s Campaign Management School.
A nice touch to my resume, yes, but more importantly to me, a great opportunity to learn from experienced campaign operatives, communications and finance directors and fellow peers attending the school. This, I believe, will make me better at my job, and I encourage readers who seek to better both themselves and their careers to seek out similar opportunities in their chosen field.
This desire to better market myself led to a recent resume experience. While causally party planning, I recently discovered that you can purchase downloadable resume templates from the online store, Etsy. I have no idea how I stumbled upon such templates while seeking party paper, but I nonetheless thought it was quite intriguing beyond the humorous aspect. I found it quite hilarious that you could buy a resume template. I thought resume template development started in your high school business class and, well, ended there. I thought that they at least got drier and drier as you continued reviewing example resumes from your college’s career service.
I decided I couldn’t knock it until I tried. Plus, I got lucky and found a template I liked that happened to be on sale for Black Friday! I spent $3.90 on a nice template that my friend remarked was very "legally blonde-esque" due to it’s pink color format. I don't know about you, but I’m not quite sure I want to submit resumes to potential employers with faint pink touches. I figured, however, that I could easily change the color to gray. This would also benefit me when potential employers print out the resume and add it to their endless pile.
When I actually dove in to edit the document, I came to find out this resume was not easily changed from pink to gray. That may say more about my Microsoft skills than the resume template itself, but it is definitely worth noting. Another disappointing factor was discovering that my email (a significant necessity to display on one’s resume) didn’t fit in the designated section. I needed to downsize the font considerably to make my email fit. However, the font ended up being an unacceptably small size.
After becoming frustrated with this resume but figuring that I only lost a few dollars, I decided to do a little more research and look for a different resume template. At this point, I was hooked on the idea of having a more creative resume but needed something that fit my needs more suitably.
In my review of Etsy’s additional options from different suppliers, I found a common theme. It looks as though most of the resume templates I could purchase include professional profiles, photo displays and bright, bold colors - everything I don’t need. And, again, back to the humor. All of the resumes seem to be directed toward a creative career professional. In my opinion, if you’re looking for a job in the creative field, I would assume you already have decent to extraordinary graphic skills and could easily design your own template.
Keeping in mind my desire to better market myself, this did not work for me. I am not sure who in fact would be best suited to purchase a resume template from Etsy. In hindsight I don't think this would help my employability or yours.
I believe most would be better off making an appointment with UWRF’s Career Services and focusing on what is written next to their bullet points. That is the most important part of your resume. After all, it's where you can sell yourself the most easily. The student employees in career services will be more than happy to lead you in the right direction.
After you knock out a solid resume with their help, I recommend sending it to older cousins, your siblings and especially your mentors. Let them review and critique it -- tear it to shreds -- then revise it from their comments. This will make you outshine the competing applicants without spending money on a “pretty” resume.
Melanie Meyers is a student at UW-River Falls.
Melanie Meyers on 29 Nov 2017: The bio is no longer accurate.