Pre-Event Preparation & Resources

Pre-Event Preparation & Resources

Attending Companies and Fair Map

SCF is being held in USC’s McCarthy Quad on 11/10/22. Check out attending companies here. A map of where each company’s booth (and our resume review and headshot booths) on the day can be found below.

How to prepare a resume for startups

Preparing a resume for startups involves many of the same skills that you would employ when writing a resume, but here are the high-level tips from our resume reviewers.

Use action verbs and show, don’t tell.

Illustrate your skills and impact by describing the work you did in detail, using concrete action verbs. Avoid words like organize, develop, coordinate. They can be very, very vague. You want to use sentences that help your resume reader visualize you doing the work itself.

If you organized a school-wide startup career fair, what actions did you take to do each of those things? How many companies came? How did you get the companies to come to campus? How did you get students to attend and how was the event designed?

Courtesy of
Courtesy of USC Marshall
Quantify everything in digits.

Most things can be measured. If you worked with small business to improve your local recycling rates, how many small businesses? How much did recycling rates improve? If you developed an app, how many people downloaded it? If you worked on a UI flow, how many screens did you design?

Also, use digits, even if <10. It’s easier to read during a quick scan.

Place the most relevant work at the top of your resume

School can go at the top. Projects and work experiences should come next, but prioritize whichever one has the most relevant work and skills to the job you seek. Skills should go at the bottom.

Divide your technical skills into proficient and highly proficient.
  • Highly proficient should denote anything you’re comfortable wielding and/or have used to execute on some specific work.
  • This organizes your skills into two digestible groups, rather than leaving them in a scattered list.
If you’re an engineer, link your Github and portfolio. If you’re a designer, link your portfolio.
  • Link your work so that people can explore it for themselves and see your commits.
Use consistent formatting across sections
  • Use consistent verb tenses. Pick present or past-tense, not both.
  • If job titles are bolded and positions are italicized, make sure that holds across all sections.
Leave out what’s unnecessary
  • Your interests are cool, but if irrelevant to the position you’re seeking, cut them.
  • Skip the GPA if you’re recruiting for startups unless your position is inherently or culturally academic (research, consulting), or if your GPA is under 3.50.
  • We generally advise leaving out coursework and emphasizing projects you did for courses instead.
  • Any soft-skills are fluff unless you can substantiate or quantify them.
  • “Collaborative & supportive” doesn’t provide any meaning.

    “Can facilitate collaboration in teams of 25+” is a lot more concrete.

  • Never list your skills as percentages. There’s no such thing as 20% of a skill because there’s no real 100% of a skill.

If you have questions for Spark’s resume reviewers, email us! Otherwise, we recommend reaching out to the career center at your major school.

Why should you work for a startup?

Startups are small companies that have a lot of needs and problems to solve. Most people who work for a startup early on will have more agency and responsibility than they would at a larger company. This means that if you haven’t been recruited by a big, famous corporation, you haven’t lost out. At a startup, you can actually access more opportunities to impact more of your company or product, learn and exercise more skills, and dictate your own projects.

Starting a personal portfolio website

There are a lot of ways to create a personal website, but this blog post should set you up well to get started. It is possible to create a free, high-quality website—it just takes a little more time, effort, and patience than it would to use a site builder.

Why should I start a personal website? A personal website or portfolio website can help you showcase independent projects that showcase the initiative you’re taking to improve your skills. If you’re an engineer or a designer, these projects will be technical and creative documentation of your work. (Here are some examples.) If you’re in marketing or business development, these projects may look like a case study or a consulting report.

Resources from Spark SC members

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