SIUC Dept. of Communication Studies RSOs
What do you include on a resume other than work experience?"
The last step in writing a great resume is to include the extras that make you, you!
The previous blogs that we have covered--header, professional profile, education, and work experience--highlight the most common items on a resume. However, miscellaneous items, especially when they are specific to the job application or culture of the organization to which you're applying, can be very powerful. If used strategically, miscellaneous items can showcase your uniqueness and distinguish from other candidates. Used unthoughtfully, of course, you could end up having the opposite effect. When in doubt--leave it out! Best to use precious resume real estate for work history.
In previous blogs, we provided a “Before” and “After” of our resumes; however, this post will focus on general advice becaise we did not make any changes to our sections. We will provide our final overhauled resumes in the next blog post.
As with previous posts, we relied on resumelab to assist us and they have advice for "other materials."
According to our advisor, Dr. Craig Engstrom, who owns his own resume and career coaching business, another place to identify the kinds of items to include on a resume is LinkedIn. In the profile update menu for "Accomplishments" they list Courses, Publications, Patents, Courses, Projects, Honors & Awards, Organizations, Test Scores, Organizations, and Languages.
Because this series is focused mostly on early career professionals, we have provided advice, links, and examples for the following items: volunteer work, languages, certifications & licenses, awards & honors, conferences, hobbies & interests, and memberships.
Volunteer experiences is probably the most valuable asset that an early career professional can put on their resume after education and work experience. Volunteering can provide useful knowledge, skills, and abilities. In addition, volunteer work can show higher purpose.
Important: Recruiters and hiring managers may not know what an organization does or what your work entailed, so consider adding contextualizing details.
Get more advice from resumelab.
Probably the best place to list languages is in the profile section. Noting that you're bilingual or trilingual in the profile can distinguish you from other candidates.
Languages can also include coding languages, such as HTML, Java, C++, and so on forth. So if you know how to code--this is one place you can list this expertise.
Certificates & Licenses
Certifications, badges, or recognized licenses can show that you're qualified or committed to the profession. It's unlikely you will have certifications or licenses immediately upon graduation, though Dr. Engstrom notes that some student do earn things like insurance licenses on internship. After graduation, it is helpful to start planning certification as part of your continuing education strategy. Some notable certificates to look into, especially as communication professionals, are APTD, SHRM, PMP, aPHR, and NAPO.
Get more advice from resumelab
Awards & Honors
Awards and honors is a great way to highlight recognition by others for your outstanding service or skills. "While it may be tempting to list every award, it's best to summarize or highlight your top three to five awards," says Dr. Craig Engstrom.
For example, the Dean's list, while an accomplishment, is not necessarily that impressive to recruiters. Summarizing this honor could have more impact:
Conferences attended, especially if they are in the professional area of interest or specific to a job role, can be very valuable. For example, if you attend a regional Society for Human Resource Managers conference as a student, listing this would make sense when applying to HR roles.
Conferences where you present work should absolutely be included.
Hobbies & Interests
Hobbies and interests are over used. So use these sparingly and make sure they are relevant to the job ad. Relevance can include cultural fit or added value. For example, if you are applying to a social media position, photography as a hobby makes sense. You might be able to contribute to content creation. However, cycling may not be relevant unless you're applying to New Belgium Brewing Company or a position with the UCI.
Get more advice from resumelab
Memberships, especially to exclusive or relevant roles or associations, can convey a lot of information in a single line of detail. For example, being a member of SHRM when applying to HR roles makes sense and conveys your part of the profession.
Important: If it is unclear what the memberships is about be sure to offer some commentary and contextualizing details. Do not assume the recruiter will now that your membership is exclusive or limited to a small group of people.
The above commendations are the final tweaks of polishing up a resume. If standing out from others is important to you, we recommend giving these expert tips some thought!
I am excited to note that our next blog is the final in this series. In that blog, we will be doing our “Before” and “After” reveal! We will also comment on what we learned through this process. So stay tuned!
About the Author
Monika Fudala is currently studying Communication Studies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She also holds the position of Human Relations Lead of the Communication Career Council. She hopes to become an HR generalist after graduation in Summer 2021.
Dr. Craig Engstrom is an associate professor of business communication at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the owner of Communication@Work LLC