Resume preparation meets technology in the OptimalResume Program.
OptimalResume provides students with an online software alternative to more traditional methods of resume creation.
Rather than using templates or the freehand process, OptimalResume guides students through a step-by-step process. Associate Director of the Smith Career Center Sandy McDermott said the program is a “resume builder.”
The career center introduced the software in September 2007, and its popularity has grown rapidly. There are 616 registered Bradley accounts, with around 300 newly created or updated since Sept. 1 of this year.
OptimalResume is not exclusive to Bradley, and the program services schools such as William and Mary College, Vanderbilt University and Dartmouth College.
“It emphasizes important information,” McDermott said. “One of the advantages of OptimalResume is that, unlike many resume templates, this program is designed specifically for college students. It also gives you more options to tailor your resume to your specific career search.”
Some specific advantages of the resume builder include a variety of layouts to choose from, easy changeability and reduction in formatting effort. OptimalResume also provides a wide variety of tools to assist students in compiling the actual content of resumes as well.
Sophomore entrepreneurship major Stephen Colbert said he thinks OptimalResume is a helpful tool.
“The program allows you to work on more than one resume at a time,” he said. “It’s so flexible. I found that I could create any look I wanted. It’s very professional.”
However, OptimalResume may be too general for some students.
“Although the formatting options were nice, I was frustrated with the lack of variety in the samples,” senior accounting major Michelle Chrenen said. “The program didn’t really have what I needed.”
After attempting to complete her resume with the software, Chrenen said she resorted to freehand and a Word template.
“I wouldn’t have felt comfortable turning that resume in to a potential employer,” she said.
There may be a way around some of these issues as more features are customized.
Rick Smith, director of career development for the Smith Career Center said, “We will be working with the program’s features to make the format more specific for the specific majors.”
McDermott also said, “We don’t want OptimalResume to replace the personal assistance we provide at the career center through the Overnight Career Service, and resume critique days.”
But while supplements are still needed in the resume creation process, OptimalResume does provide students with a strong framework, and they are using the software to showcase experience and talent.
Senior international studies and political science major Sarah Shadnia said she used OptimalResume to build her resume for applications to law schools.
“I would recommend the OptimalResume Program as a springboard for any type of resume,” she said.