I was a member of the CoSIDA Job Seekers Committee for a long time - five years, to be exact - and was the committee’s vice chair for six months. I’ve reviewed a lot of resumes and cover letters, prepped a number of folks for all types of interviews, and helped people find new positions.
So, how do you do it? Let’s break it down.
The Application Process
First things first: How are you applying for positions? Are you merely submitting an application through Teamwork Online and crossing your fingers that they’ll pick you from the hundreds of applicants? Or are you crafting a new cover letter, tweaking your resume based on the posting’s key words, and checking in with your connections to see if they’re somehow connected to the position?
Whether you’re just out of school or ready to make a change, the application process can be long and grueling. It’s easy to just upload your resume, your template cover letter and hit submit. But going the extra mile, reading every word of your resume and cover letter (and, for goodness sake, proof for grammar and spelling), and really proving that you want the position will put you leaps and bounds above every other candidate.
To start, I'm a firm believer that a resume needs to always be one page. As someone who has been involved in a few hiring processes over the years, resumes came in huge numbers. We typically ruled a candidate in or out upon first glance of the resume. I have a ton of experience in sports: I’ve interned with four professional teams, volunteered at numerous tournaments, was a graduate assistant and had two full-time positions. But my resume was one page. How? I only included my three most recent positions because they comprise nearly everything I’ve ever done in sports that’s relevant to athletic communications (my month-long experiment as a coach at the Niagara IceDogs summer hockey camp, i.e. being the Camp Mom, isn’t applicable to being an SID, sadly).
Does your experience overlap from position to position? Consider reorganizing your resume so instead of being organized chronologically, it’s organized based on categories (shout out to Danielle Percival for the idea). What categories should you use? Pull straight from the job posting. Are they looking for someone who displays leadership skills, takes initiative, or shows creativity? Easy: Have you been in charge of a staff of student workers? Leadership. What about designing a social media strategy or marketing plan? Creativity and taking initiative. If you highlight your varied experience, your diverse skillset will serve any employer well.
Also, think about moving your education to the bottom. To be blunt, where you went to school doesn't mean much in sports; it's all about who you know.