College of Media | News

Brad Karsh Gives Students a Resume Reality Check

Rachel Caulfield
3/1/2012  8:00 am

Students filed into the Greg Hall auditorium Friday Feb. 24 for expert advice at the College of Media Resume Workshop.  The presenter, Brad Karsh, is a resume expert and the author of “Confessions of a Recruiting Director: The Insider’s Guide to Landing Your First Job.”  Karsh said he’s very experienced with evaluating college students after spending 15 years at Leo Burnett Advertising in Chicago. As a recruiting director there he read over 10,000 resumes and interviewed over 1,000 college students. 


Market Yourself

Karch encouraged students to make their resumes the best they can be, or they will end up in the trash.  He said that when he looks at a pile of 500 resumes he only spends about 5 seconds looking at each. “About 50 percent of the resumes go in the trash,” Karsh said. “Later another 30 percent are thrown away because they aren’t as good as they could have been.”


Karsh advised that to keep their resumes out of trash bins, students should treat them like advertisements for themselves.  They should catch the reader’s attention and be relevant to that reader.   “To write a great ad, know your target and focus on showing them the benefits of hiring you,” Karsh said. 


In order to attract your target, Karsh recommended organizing resume from most to least important, starting with education and ending with interests.  He also said that like an advertisement, a resume should focus on benefits of selecting the student.  Karsh said a good resume should quantify accomplishments and show improvements. “It should be a rare instance when a bullet point doesn’t have a number in it,” Karsh said. 


Do’s and Don’ts

Karsh also listed some of his pet peeves to students; the things they must or should never do. Karsh said that to be considered for a job, college students need to watch their online profiles carefully.  He gave examples of Facebook photos that could hurt a student’s chances of being taken seriously by a potential employer. 


Karsh said students must be as clear as possible in their resume writing. “Explain things,” Karsh said. “No one outside of the U of I knows what a James Scholar is, so tell them.”


Karsh also said that a resume must be limited to one page with no periods and no mistakes.   “Any typo is going to hurt you.” Karsh said. “One letter can give a phrase a totally new meaning,”


Karsh encourages creativity to make a resume unique, but not too much. “I once received a resume on pink construction paper with ribbon sewn in the side – don’t do that,” Karsh said. 


After the presentation, Laura Carroll, sophomore in English, said the talk was “super informative” and inspired her to want to change her resume formatting. “Now I’m going to review my resume, put it in order, and double check my Facebook to make sure their’s nothing bad on it.”


Haley Soehn, sophomore in News Editorial Journalism, said that Karsh was entertaining in his presentation. “He was able to put a twist on it and made it interesting and relevant,” she said. 


View photos from the event.