Resume Writing 101

We’re getting in to the middle of the semester, and many of you may be starting to think about what comes after graduation! It’s peak season for applying to jobs and internships, and this can be very overwhelming. One of the first steps is creating the perfect resume! A resume is often the first thing a potential employer sees about you. It’s their first impression of you, so you want to make sure it wows them! We have compiled some tips to help you write a resume that stands out and shows all that you have to offer.

#1: Choose a format

There are 3 types of resume formats you can choose from.

  • Reverse-Chronological Format: This is the most traditional and common format. It starts with your contact information and a short summary of your career objective. Then, dive into your work history/experience (starting with the most recent position held). After this, you can highlight additional skills or honors and rewards you may have received. Finally, cover your education and any degrees or certifications that you have. This format emphasizes your work history and career progression, and is flexible for all types of job seekers.
Taken from Live Career
  • Functional Format: This format also starts with contact information. Then, list your strongest skills and qualifications. The work experience section should be concise, and does not necessarily have to include the time periods of employment. The purpose is to emphasize your skills and qualifications, not your experience. You should then include relevant skills you possess and examples of these. Finally, end with your education and awards/honors you may have. This is a good resume format if you do not have an extensive employment history and instead want to highlight your strengths and qualifications.
Taken from Resume Genius
  • Combination Format: This format combines the qualities of both chronological and functional formats. It focuses on both skills and work history/experience. This can be organized in a variety of ways, and include the same information as the above formats: contact information, skills and qualifications, work history (with dates and positions), education, and awards or honors. This format is great for applicants with a lot of experience in a certain field who want to highlight both skills and their job history.
Taken from Resume Genius

#2: Contact information

You’ve chosen your format, so now you can start filling it in! The first step is the contact information. Here is a general idea of what to put in this section:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Mailing address
  • You can add other things if you would like, such as a personal website, a LinkedIn profile, or a current job title.

#3: Introduction/resume objective

This is at the top of the resume and is a short introduction or objective/summary that showcases why you think you are qualified for this job. It needs to get the attention of the employer by emphasizing your strengths and experience.

This is a space for you to list what makes you qualified, with specific examples of jobs you have performed that show these skills. You don’t want to list generic qualities: make it unique to you and show your voice. The summary should be short: 2-3 sentences maximum. Here is an example of a concise, powerful, specific resume objective:

Marketing Manager with over eight years of experience. Proven success in running email marketing campaigns and implementing marketing strategies that have pulled in a 20% increase in qualified leads. Proficient in content, social media and inbound marketing strategies. Skilled, creative and innovative.

#4: Relevant work experience

This is the meat of your resume! You want to list any relevant jobs or experiences you have had that would aid you in the position you are applying for. Remember to list them in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent position.

For each position you held, include a heading with the company’s name, location, job title, and dates of employment. Underneath each heading, list a couple of responsibilities you had with the position. These should be short bullet points that summarize your position.

#5: Education

This is a short section that simply shows any degrees you have received. This is what you can include in the education section:

  • Name of the school/university you attended
  • Location
  • Date of graduation
  • Degree(s)

#6: Skills

You want to quickly recap a wide range of skills that you possess. This can be formatted creatively, but needs to be short and sweet. Many resumes simply use bullet points to list each item. The point is to show that you have a diverse set of skills, both soft skills and technical skills.

Soft skills are personality-based qualities such as organization, teamwork, time management, or trustworthy. They are not quantifiable, but are skills that are necessary for working in any job. Technical skills are tangible and concrete, such as knowing different languages, being proficient in certain computer programs, or public speaking. A good resume will include both soft and technical skills to stand out to an employer.

#7: Awards or honors

Finally, your resume can end with a short list of relevant awards or certificates you may have received. This section is not necessary, but if it is relevant to the job then it would be good to add. This can be a wide variety of things:

  • Awards/honors: competitions you may have won, scholarships, student achievement awards in college, any published material, etc.
  • Certificates/licenses: this is more specific to the job you may be applying for. For example, if you are applying for a job in a health-related field, you could include that you are CPR Certified or a registered nurse.

#8: Finishing touches

The hard part is over! You have all the content you want for your resume. Now, you can work on formatting and styling it to be eye-catching and unique. You want your resume to be a single page, so you may need to play with font styles and sizes to make it appealing but also concise. Choose an easy-to-read font, and use the same font throughout the entire resume.

You may want to add some lines or borders to break up parts of the resume and keep it organized. A strategic way to add in lines are after the contact information and resume objective, and between each of the major sections.

There are many ways to make your resume unique and appealing to an employer. Be creative and add character! This can be a daunting task, so there are tons of online templates for resumes are websites to give you ideas. Here are a few free resume template websites:

Good luck with your resume writing and job hunting!

Dorm Decorating

Your first year of college is going to be full of excitement and new adventures. While you might not be home anymore, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make it feel a little like home by giving your dorm some color and style! You should think of your dorm walls as canvases waiting to be brought to life. 

Before we dive in, keep in mind that your room should be a place you find comfort in. Your room should be inviting even if it’s just inviting to you. You’re going to be living here for about a year, so you should consider what kinds of things you want to surround yourself with. Think about what kind of space you want to spend your study, sleep and free time.

Color scheme

The first step into bringing your dorm room to life is determining what colors you want to be surrounded by. This is an opportunity to start fresh in the decor department so consider these questions: Do you want colors that stand out? Do you prefer neutral colors? Do you prefer more earth tones? Do you lean more towards pastel colors?

There may be an aesthetic that you gravitate towards. There are so many styles: Minimalistic, Boho, Preppy, Artsy, etc. Look up different styles online to get a feel for what you might like. Who knows, you might be leaning towards something you’ve never tried before! 

bedding

As mentioned, this is an opportunity to start fresh. This statement also stands true with your bed sheets. By now, you should have settled on a color scheme or aesthetic you want to pursue for your room. Using those, consider if you’ll be wanting bed sheets or a comforter with solid colors or patterns. You can also try accent pillows and throw blankets: they’re not only stylish, but they also serve a purpose!

lighting

You can never go wrong with some fairy lights! They can be hung above your bed, around bookshelves, or along the wall. They can even be hung around your study area. Studying may not always be fun, but fairy lights can make studying less dull. Even if you don’t place fairy lights over your study area you will definitely be wanting to place some sort of lighting equipment there. After all, you may be pulling all-nighters at some point!

Another good option is an adjustable desk lamp. This will allow you to adjust the lighting according to the brightness of the room.

maximizing space

If you’re looking to maximize the space in your room, you should definitely consider using storage bins. You’ll want to take advantage of the space under your bed by using bed risers to keep all your bins accessible and organized. Also, if you’re looking to maximize your closet space you may want to use hanging organizers. These will increase the space for both your clothing and shoes.  

wall art

Like we said earlier, your walls are a canvas waiting to be brought to life. You can bring them to life with mementos such as your favorite pictures, movie posters, motivational boards, or even school banners to get you into the school spirit! If you want to fill your walls with something new you can also create a new art piece to hang.

Your decor can have more than one purpose, like cork boards and whiteboards. These will allow you to track your schedule and school events as well as a means of communication between you and your roommate (if you have one).

furniture

Your room will most likely not be the same size as your room back home. You should be cautious of the size of the furniture you bring into your dorm area. Consider bringing in furniture that will serve more than one purpose. This will allow you to take advantage of the space in your room. A good example of multi purpose furniture is a storage ottoman: they are both chic and useful in more than one way.

One last thing to consider is that you’ll most likely be sharing your room with a roommate. If you are, try reaching out to them to see if they will also be decorating their side of the room. Should they also have the same thoughts the two of you can coordinate to have one specific theme for the entire room. Your roommate(s) will be one of the people you interact with first in your college journey. Some people stay close friends with their roommates even after college, maybe you will too!

We hope these dorm decorating tips help you out. They have definitely helped us!  

Texas A&M Football Calendar Wallpaper

Happy Monday! As the new college semester approaches, that means we are that much closer to college football! Our very first Textbook Solutions location was founded in College Station, TX – the heart of Aggieland and Fightin’ Texas Aggie football! We love our school here and to show our Aggie pride, we have created a desktop and cell phone wallpaper with the A&M football schedule. The beautiful photograph for this was taken by Rebecca Griffith Photography, and her website can be reached here.

Click on the image above to save and download the Desktop Wallpaper.
Click on the image above to save and download the Cell Phone Wallpaper.

Summer Wind Down: Last Minute Vacations

It’s the end of July…can you believe it?? 2 months have gone by and you feel like you’ve done nothing all summer! There’s still time to book that last minute vacation that will lift your spirits and won’t leave you feeling bummed out. Here are 4 cheap, last minute vacation ideas!

Hiking and Camping

What better way to spend your last weeks of freedom than by enjoying beautiful nature? You can find some amazing sites near the mountains, water, or wooded areas – whatever fits your style! There are so many camping grounds and hiking trails that you can find for incredibly cheap prices for a couple of nights.

Not sure what to bring on a camping trip? REI has a great camping checklist you can use here! Make sure you check out what activities there are to do at your local campgrounds, such as hiking trails, kayaking or canoeing, or even rock climbing. Besides these fun options, you can bring your own entertainment! Outdoor games such as cornhole, frisbee, and other sports are always a hit. Board games and cards are great for some time outside of technology. And don’t forget the s’mores!!

Home Rental Sites

If you want to get out of your own house for a few days, home rental booking sites are always a good option to experience a new place in a cost-effective, welcoming, home environment! There are quite a few companies that offer this service, such as Airbnb and Vrbo. Just figure out where you want to visit, and search Airbnb or Vrbo for great deals in that area.

If you have never used a place like Airbnb or Vrbo before, it is a service where homeowners put their properties up for others to rent for a few days on vacations or trips of any kind. They have wonderful accommodations and provide a cheap alternative to expensive hotels! There are plenty available in most places nowadays and many of them are less than $100 a night! If you have friends that can chip in, you can stay almost anywhere for dirt cheap!

Beach or Lake Trip

There are not many places more beautiful than a beach or lake at sunset. Before heading back to school in August, visiting the water may be the perfect way to escape and have fun. If you live near a beach or lake, it can make for the perfect day trip and hardly cost anything! If you don’t live close to a body of water, grab some friends and make a road trip weekend out of it.

Some exciting things to do out on the water include kayaking, canoeing, riding jet skis, or attempting to surf – if you’re brave enough! Most beach and lake locations have rental spots where you can rent various equipment for a couple of hours. Bring a volleyball and have some games in the sand, and a cooler for your drinks and snacks. You’re all set!

Theme Park

Theme parks may not be the most relaxing getaway, but they sure are exciting! A theme park doesn’t have to be a huge tourist spot like Disney World – see if there are local water parks, go-kart racing, or other attractions in your area! A theme park, whether large or small, will have tons of activities for you and your friends and family to participate in.

Whatever you decide to do, have fun and go soak up your last few weeks of summer!

Stuck Indoors? How to Get Around Without a Car

Not having a car can be stressful and limiting for some people. Cars are convenient in many respects. You can go anywhere you want, any time that you want to go. However, cars are essentially an expense as soon as they leave the dealership/lot. There are car payments, car insurance expenses, gas expenses, maintenance fees, and repair costs among other things that make owning a car a little less desirable. And besides, it is easy to get around without a car nowadays. Here are a few suggestions if you find yourself indoors with a destination in mind but without a vehicle of your own. 

using uber or lyft

In today’s society, transportation services apps such as Uber or Lyft have become popular. While these services can be expensive at times, they are effective in getting around from place to place!

Uber and Lyft technologies keep an extensive record of who your drivers are and the route that is being taken so you feel safe and secure with every ride you take. Uber and Lyft also come in handy when you need to be somewhere in a reasonable amount of time. The apps match the rider with a driver within minutes of ordering so you are not waiting around to get to where you need to be. 

walking

In addition to using Uber or Lyft to get around, using your legs to get to where you need to go works wonders for your transportation needs. Walking is a rather healthy option to consider when you want to travel but do not have a car, especially if your destination is not far away. If you do not mind getting a little sweat going, walking may be the best option for you. And if you are worried about getting sweaty, you could always bring a change of clothes with you on your trek.

Walking also gives you the ability to look around your surroundings and appreciate the scenery a little more. You may come across gems that you oftentimes pass by when you are in a vehicle. It also costs zero dollars and zero cents to walk from point A to point B so you can save a little money in the process.

public transportation

Taking the bus or the train to where you need to go is one way to get around town. Depending on where you live, this option might be beneficial for you. However, this may be confusing to those who may not utilize public transit on a regular basis. A couple of tips to effectively use public transportation would be to download your local public transit apps on your mobile device and to buy a bus pass. The public transit apps let you know the bus/train’s arrival and departure times and where exactly they stop. These apps are also updated in real time so you are never questioning where your means of transportation are at a given moment.

A bus pass is beneficial for people who use public transit because it ends up being cheaper than using Uber or Lyft services and significantly cheaper than owning a private vehicle.

carpool with a friend

Riding with a friend who has a car is yet another way to get around without one of your own. Interact with your friends and learn their schedules so you know who is available and who is not. Be sure to give your friend a few dollars for gas every now and then so your friends will continue to give you rides when you need them. Carpooling is also eco-friendly because there are less cars on the road polluting the environment. Be friendly to the Earth and be friendly to your friends!

The next time you think you are “stuck indoors”, think again. Use Uber technologies, ride the bus, get exercise by walking, or carpool with a generous friend. You may find that these alternatives may actually be better for you than owning a private vehicle in terms of overall cost, your health, and the environment. It is not the end of the world if you do not have a car so keep your head up, go out, and explore!