I love to cook. But that goes without saying, I’m from Louisiana.  Cajun men cook!  Seriously, there was even a cookbook put out by a civic organization in Lafayette with that title (  When I was in college I honed my cooking skills by volunteering to cook for the offshore crew that I worked with and then leveraged my newfound talents as a way to woo potential sweeties.  I guess you go with what ya got, eh?

Anyway, to learn to cook I watched a LOT of people work in the kitchen. I’ll bet I’ve seen gumbo made almost 100 different ways.  But each time I’d take a technique or ingredient and add it to my process.  I’m now happy to say that I’d put my gumbo up against the finest example you can get in any of South Louisiana’s restaurants (yes, that’s mine in the picture!)  It took a lot of trial and error to get there.  I would get lots of opinions.  Some I used, like adding potato salad when you serve it.  Others didn’t work for me…like adding okra!  But over time I was able to develop a signature dish that was all mine.

The same can be said of your resume…

This week UCFs Career Services team is hosting “Career Readiness Week.” They’ll bring in employers to look over your resume, do mock interviews, and other stuff to help you get ready for the Fall Career Expo on September 28th.  Students will ask, “But if I get my resume reviewed here, can I get it done again?”  To this question I offer a resounding YES!!

Just like my gumbo, your resume should be the product of MANY , MANY meetings with people to go over what you have. I won’t talk about the content or structure of your resume here, check out your books for that.  Instead, I want to make sure you get it reviewed effectively:

Do you have a resume? – If not, you need to gather the information that will become your resume.  Write out your employment history in chronological order.  Write out your duties at every job.  Then write out the results of your work.  What did you actually accomplish?

Go visit Career Services – They can help you take all this stuff and put it into a usable format.  Something that you can play with, adjust margins, play with wording.

Have your Career Coach look at it – Once you have it on paper, set up a Career Exploration meeting with your Career Coach.  Talk to them about what you want to do and have them mark up your resume to target that career.

Have visiting employers look at it – Career Services and student organizations do a great job of bringing people in to review resumes.  Attend lots of these.  Ask what they look for.  Don’t just sit therte quietly, show interest in the marks they make and try to learn how an employer will be reviewing your resume.  Thank them profusely for their time.  Get their name.  If you see them at another event (like a Career Expo) go up and thank them again for reviewing your resume…the one you happen to have a copy of!

Have your manager look at it – Your manager can give you input on what an operational hiring manager will look for.  They aren’t recruiters and don’t have an HR background, so they’ll be looking just for the facts.  Are you saying what you need to say in a way that someone wants to read it.

Have other professionals look at it – Now that you have a pretty good basic resume, start tailoring it to different jobs, different industries, different employment objectives and have professionals review your resume.  Your goal here is two-fold; first you want input on your resume, but you also want them to possibly see something in your background that makes them want to help you!  Maybe refer you!

You can’t accomplish all this in the two weeks before the job fair. This is a long process that probably will never end.  But if you keep working at it, you’ll have a resume that makes employer’s mouths water!!