You don't need to be a college grad on the job hunt to know the resume writing struggle. Though fewer companies are asking for full-on cover letters, a resume is a standard requirement for any application -- college, internship AND full-time job apps.
Now's the time to dust off your old resume and update it with all the awesome stuff you've accomplished in the last year. We like to think your fave fictional Disney Channel stars are boarding this struggle bus along with you, so we came up with a few ideas about what their resumes would look like. Here's some inspiration and tips from Lizzie McGuire, Raven Baxter, Louis Stevens and more:
Don't list every single thing you've ever done
List your biggest accomplishments and leave the less important stuff out. Adjust the margins and font size so that the one page -- you only get one page, so use it wisely -- isn't super cluttered.
What Alex Russo would do: Alex's resume would def include that time she defeated her brothers in the wizard competition and became the official Russo wizard in "Wizards of Waverly Place." It likely would leave out her years helping out at her fam's sandwich shop -- unless, of course, she decides to pursue a career in customer service. In that case, it's good to include experience that demonstrates her people skills.
Don't use full sentences
How do you maintain blank space AND still have enough room to record all your badass achievements? Don't write in full sentences. Bulleted lists with phrases get the point across in fewer words.
What Raven Baxter would do: The "That's So Raven" star would write "Predicted [insert teenage catastrophic event here] and collaborated with others to stop it" or something along those lines. Sentence fragments are OK here.
Don't use Times New Roman
Times New Roman is like "wearing sweatpants to an interview," Bloomberg wrote in their interview with typography experts earlier this year. Use an easy-to-read font, but stick out from the masses (in a good way) by using something slightly different. Arial, Calibri and Helvetica are some options.
What David Gordon would do: Does Gordo from "Lizzie McGuire" look like someone who would use Times New Roman to you? That's what we thought.
Use active verbs
Start your phrases with an active verb -- for example, "managed", "analyzed", "designed," etc. -- to articulate clearly what your role was in the position. Here's a handy list of active verbs that will help you craft the perfect wording for your resume.
What Suga Mama would do: The "Proud Family" badass grandma would write, "Twerked in an award-winning team" on her resume. Even though you likely won't use the word "twerk" on your resume -- or maybe you will, we don't know you, we don't know your life -- it's still an active verb.
Include updated contact info
You probs already know to list your email, phone number and address. Before sending out your resumes, make sure your voicemail is set up and that your greeting is professional in case you miss a call from a potential employer.
If you're applying for jobs outside of your current town, list your future address (if you know what it'll be) on your resume so that the employer knows you intend on moving in the near future. If an employer in New York glances at your resume and sees a California address, they may discount it simply because they have no way of knowing whether or not you're ready to relocate immediately (even if you are).
What Marnie Cromwell would do: If Marnie's applying to jobs in "Halloweentown" -- and duh, of course she is, she's a Cromwell -- she could list her grandmother's Halloweentown address on her resume instead of her mom's place in the mortal world.
Include a link to your portfolio if you have one
If you're applying for a creative position, include examples of your work. You don't need to shell out tons of cash to build an online portfolio. Sites like Tumblr, Weebly and Clippings.me make it easy to showcase your work for free. If you want something fancier, SquareSpace offers a 50% discount for students who want to create their own website.
What Teddy Duncan would do: Teddy from "Good Luck Charlie" has been chronicling her family's crazy antics for years so that her baby sister, Charlie, doesn't miss out on the fun. It would be easy for Teddy to upload her vids to YouTube so that employers can see her mad vlogging skills.
Include social media or press links if they're relevant
If something you did gained a viral internet following or a lot of positive press, include that info. Link to the coverage or your social media accounts.
What Lizzie McGuire would do: Uh, Lizzie casually sang with a world-famous pop star on stage in front of thousands of people in Rome, Italy. There's def a YouTube video of that, and we bet that's more than enough to get her into a performing arts school like the one from "Raise Your Voice." (See what we did there? Hilary Duff FTW.)
Back up your experience with numbers
Yes, we know numbers are boring, but they're concrete evidence of your success. Use numbers or percentages whenever possible. Saying you increased fundraising efforts at your school sounds cool and all, but saying you raised that number by $10,000 is way more impressive.
What Sharpay Evans would do: OK, so Sharpay lost the leading role in "High School Musical" to Gabriella Montez. But Sharpay has been performing since she was practically in diapers! That counts for something. She should mention the ratings behind all the productions she's been in -- starring role or not.
Be careful what you name your resume file
If you're emailing your resume in or uploading it somewhere, make sure the file name is something simple like your name. If you're writing up multiple resumes tailored to specific companies, double-check that you don't attach a file with some other company's name on it. Oops.
What Zenon Kar would do: She would not mention the lingo "zetus lapetus" or "mondo fab" unless she's interviewing with her BFF Nebula Wade.
Listing your GPA isn't mandatory...
...unless you're applying to grad school. If your GPA is stellar, good for you! Stick it on there. But if it's not quite where you'd like it to be, leave it off. Employers care way more about your real-world experience than your grades.
What Miley Stewart would do: We assume Miley's grades weren't so hot given the fact she spent most of her time jetting around the world singing at sold-out "Hannah Montana" shows. In this case, her awesome experience speaks way louder than her grades do.
Proofread, then have someone else proofread it again
This one's self-explanatory. Don't rely on spellcheck. Spelling errors are a stupid reason to lose out on a job opportunity.
What Louis Stevens would do: He'd definitely ask his older, crazy-smart sister Ren to proofread his resume -- or, you know, write the entire thing because he's too busy kicking back in his ultimate lounge chair.
Tell a story
Your resume should document how your professional experience has grown and developed over the years. Even if you've worked a bunch of odd jobs here and there, find something to tie it all together. Maybe they all involved working with people. Maybe they all involved the media. Whatever it is, find a concept that makes reading your resume feel like a cohesive experience.
What Zack and Cody Martin would do: Even though they were exact opposites when it came to studying, these twins both shared the experience of growing up in a hotel and attending school on a boat. That's far from an average thing, and their resumes should reflect what they've learned from their unconventional lifestyles.
Be honest about who you are
If there's ever a place to brag about your accomplishments, your resume is it. Don't be humble, but don't go overboard, either. Don't exaggerate your responsibilities or skills, because employers will hire you based on what you write. If you say you're proficient in Spanish when you actually only took two classes, you'll be in serious hot water when your future boss asks you to translate something from your Spanish-speaking client. Busted.
What Hannah Montana would do: She'll reveal the truth -- that she's actually Miley Stewart IRL. When Miley applied to her dream school, Stanford University, she didn't get into because she didn't have enough extracurricular activities. Of course, the reason she didn't participate in clubs was because she was too busy being her alter-ego, Hannah Montana. In the final season of "Hannah Montana," Miley decided to stay true to herself and reveal her big secret. Stanford then let her in -- not because of her fame, but because she was finally honest about her passions.