Resume Writing & Resume Maintenance

Hello Tigers,

Let’s start off this new project with a discussion that I’ve been having a lot with many of you:

RESUMES

Too much? I think it’s important to bold and capitalize the word to show how serious I am about the importance of a proper resume, especially for college students. In our ADJ internships, resumes are a required component of the application process, and I am surprised how many of my students do not have a current resume or have never created one for themselves. Your resume is often the first thing that future employers see - you do not show up in person to apply for the job, and before they get to meet you or talk to you, they first are going to review your resume, so it has to be done well and it has to reflect your competitiveness as a potential employee.

I’ll let you in on a secret (not really; I feel like I bring this up a lot and many of you are probably sick of hearing it, but, anyway…) YOUR RESUME IS VERY IMPORTANT. I’ve had a lot of students in my office questioning why they never received a call back from the dream job they just applied for and they are not comforted by my answer once I see their application. A poorly done resume or incomplete application is the first thing a potential employer sees, and my recommendation here may seem harsh, but it is true - your potential employer does not care about your intentions, they care about the work you show them. Employers do not provide you the opportunity you have with professors; you cannot call Human Resources and tell them that you accidentally emailed the wrong document or that you missed the deadline because you’ve been stressed with all the other stuff in your life and you hope they will accept it late. These excuses may work with some of your professors, because as professors we realize you are balancing so many responsibilities and also (and perhaps the biggest factor) is that you do not work for us; we technically are here to work for you.

I have found an increasing pattern of behavior in my students where their job applications and resumes reflect the same level of quality of their assignments, and unfortunately this is not necessarily a good thing. Your resume and your job application have to be pristine and cannot have mistakes. You are competing for a position not just with yourself, but with every other person on the planet who may also be interested in that position, and within the criminal justice field, there can be a lot of competition. (This is especially true for crime scene investigation and criminalistics positions). The easiest way for an employer to immediately say no when receiving your application is for there to be glaring mistakes, misspellings, missed documents, or shoddy workmanship. Employers want to see effort, intention, and organization; your resume needs to reflect this.

So how exactly can an ADJ student accomplish this? Well, here are some basic recommendations that can go a long way:

  1. Format your resume so it looks clean and professional.
    This means to pay attention to the margins and spacing, as well as the font, the size of the text, and the order of information on your resume. Criminal justice jobs are conservative in regards to resume formatting - no colored text, no photographs, no fancy borders, and use a clean and clear font (nothing cursive or similar).

  2. Check your contact information.
    I appreciate a funny or clever email address as much as anyone, but leave it off the resume. In fact, create a separate email for business or hiring purposes, and try to keep it as generic as possible, such as lastnamefirstname01@gmail.com. There is no excuse to not create a new email - it’s free, it’s easy, and there’s no limit to how many you can have. (Just make sure you check it). This is much better than sending a resume to your dream job and asking them to email you a response to postmalonefan01 or sexyramsfan13.

  3. Take advantage of your resources.
    To be blunt, there is no reason a college student should have a shitty resume; there are literally thousands of free templates and examples available on the most basic Google search to learn from. This can help immensely and provide examples of what information you should or should not include on the resume; grammar errors and misspellings can be fixed in a much easier manner if the rest of the resume is solid, so even students who may not write well in English can still develop a strong foundation of a resume and seek revisions later.

  4. Leave certain info off.
    Some information does not or should not be on a resume; it’s not just what you do put on it, but also what you should leave off of it. Is your GPA low? Don’t include it with your educational information. Never put your age or date or birth on a resume; not only does it not matter, but it is illegal in most jobs for Human Resources to even ask your age, so putting it on a resume puts them in a difficult position when they’re reviewing your application. Do not include criminal histories on your resume, either. Your resume is not your background investigation, so keep it simple.

  5. Review it before you send it.
    Just like your assignments, you should be reviewing your resumes before you send them off for a future employer to read and consider; it is here where you may find a simple misspelling, extra spacing, a missing word, or another small but easily fixed issue. Remember that once you send it, you cannot pull it back and for better or worse, what you send is what is read.

I will be posting more recommendations about resume writing and resume maintenance in the upcoming semesters. I hope that, in reading this, many of you are at least inspired to check on your existing resume or look into creating one (if you do not have a current resume).

RESUME RESOURCES:

The Balance Careers - Resumes

Resume Genius - College Students

Zety - Student Resumes & Complete Writing Guide

RCC Career Center

An Introduction to a New Project

Hello.

This is meant to serve as an introduction to a new project that I’ve been working on for a while and I am pretty excited about it. I’m not necessarily a fan of the word “blog,” but that is what this technically is, and proper word choice is important (like I’ve lectured many of you on before), so this new project is, technically, my blog.

That does not mean this will be a blog that talks about me or my likes, dislikes, style (or lack of style), or food, like approximately 80% of most online blogs. This blog will also not contain any information important or specific to my classes, as that information can be located in Canvas and in the classroom content. No, the point of this blog is to find a place to provide students information that we don’t necessarily have time to cover in class, is not necessarily within the curriculum of our courses, or information that is not necessarily academic in nature, but still may be valuable for students to have access to.

This blog is just another way for me to share and disseminate information on topics that may include hiring processes, workshops, recommendations, community events, volunteer opportunities, or trainings. The criminal justice profession is vast, and a common challenge I hear many students express frustration with is the lack of accessibility or information sharing, along with the frustration of a lack of awareness. It can be difficult to get a foot in the door in the criminal justice field as a student, and I am committed to doing anything I can to assist my students in obtaining as rich and comprehensive an experience as possible while in this program.

There have been a lot of changes made to the ADJ program since I started here in 2015, and there are even more (bigger and better) projects coming down the pipeline as well, and the one thing all these projects have in common is to simply make the experience of being an ADJ student at RCC as beneficial and equitable as possible. We’re not here to make decisions for you or guide you into a specific profession or career path. We are here to make sure you are exposed to all the opportunities that do exist so you can make the best decision for you and your goals.

The criminal justice profession has incredible opportunity for all of you, and it needs you. The chance to be a public servant, to show up and each day do your best to serve a community and its residents, is a chance that many people never pursue or take advantage of. In the classroom, you will learn Constitutional and Criminal Law. In my classes, you will learn about civil rights, legal procedure, and the importance of being legal and ethical professionals, and then you will learn the specifics of criminalistics, investigations, and documentation. My hope in this new project is that, outside the classroom, this blog can provide you resources on hiring processes, professional development, community involvement, volunteer opportunities, and anything else to enrich you and your experience in my classroom.

I’m looking forward to this new project. I hope it serves you well.

Dr. Matuszak