5 Last-Minute Tricks to Take Your Resume from Basic to Brilliant
As a soon-to-be grad, you’ve mastered Resume 101. You can glance at your resume right this second and go, single-page: check! Final GPA: added! Saved as a PDF to ensure proper formatting: done and done! But if you’re feeling the pressure as graduation nears—and are wondering, OK, what do other people know that I don’t?!—you need these expert tips in your life. They’ll give your resume that extra sparkle it needs to catch a hiring manager’s eye. (Make it rain, job interview gods!) Let’s get started, shall we?
1. Add stats. Numbers speak louder than words. Showing your impact on an organization—whether it’s through your involvement in college clubs or in your internships—can illustrate your abilities to make change and improvements more clearly than descriptive words. Marilyn Santiesteban, assistant director at Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government & Public Service Career Services tells new graduates to quantify their experience, education, or skills by using “accomplishment statements” (you grew your coding club’s membership to 200 students, or helped raise more than $100K for your university’s dance marathon) which show hard measures.
Sometimes, you don’t have a specific number or percentage to call out. In that case, Santiesteban recommends the soft measure route. For example, perhaps at a summer internship you “noticeably decreased the number of customer complaint calls by creating FAQ document that was shipped with each product.” Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
2. Give the design a second look. How many times have you heard the words “personal branding” lately? A lot, we’d venture to guess. Even though the phrase is most often associated with social media, your resume can also be used to help illustrate your personality, especially if you’re hoping to work in a creative field. Chad Reid, communications director at JotForm, says, “The biggest and most effective change I’ve implemented in my resume has been making my application visually appealing. I’m in marketing, so this tip really helps reinforce why I’m good for the jobs: I can differentiate myself.”
He’s not saying you should turn your job-hunting materials into works of art. He’s simply saying that small touches, like adding a secondary color or experimenting with a different font can help you stand out from the pack. “Humans are visual creatures and will remember a candidate who took the time to make their resume easy on the eyes,” Reid says. If you need help determining whether or not a new design element is distracting or complimentary to your resume, ask friends and mentors for their opinion.
3. Remove your address if you’re applying out-of-state. Most hiring managers know that college seniors are applying for jobs all over the country—not just in the state where they’re about to graduate from college. But if you’re worried your resume might get skipped over because of your far-away contact information, Santiesteban suggests including only your phone number and email address. And while you can always include a future address if you know where you’ll be relocating, “Since we’re moving toward leaving addresses off resumes in general, it’s never something you have to include,” she adds.
4. Edit your skills to match the job posting. Of course you want to tailor your application to meet the specific requirements listed by a hiring manager, so for each job you want to apply to, Santiesteban suggests creating a two-column chart, one with the job’s requirements and another with your qualifications for that job. Then, go back to your resume and tweak your skills and experiences to include as many qualifications that match the job description as possible. If your resume includes a lot of skills and experiences not mentioned in the job posting, Santiesteban recommends removing them. You want to target your resume as closely as possible to that specific job posting.
5. Try to identify an “in” within the organization. Santiesteban’s final tip is gold. Before you send off your application, Santiesteban says to double-check your network (LinkedIn, etc.) to see if you have a connection to someone within the company who may be willing to pass along your materials internally. “Most organizations pay some sort of a referral bonus to employees when people they recommend are hired,” she says. “This is a huge advantage to both parties—the referring employee gets a bonus, and the applicant can almost always be sure their resume will be viewed by a real person.” She leaves us with two compelling facts: Referrals constitute 6.9 percent of all applicants—and 46 percent of all hires at top performing firms.
Do you have any must-have resume tips? Share them with us in the comments below.
(Photo via CV Special)
This post was originally published on Levo League by Megan Broussard
Fall is right around the corner, and we're getting amped up for our next session of Selfmade, Brit + Co's 10-week interactive startup school. Designed to help you create a new business or grow your existing one, this course is personally led by Brit + Co founder Brit Morin and co-founder Anjelika Temple, and supported by more than a dozen of the top female entrepreneurs, creatives, and investors in the country. Students receive personalized coaching on everything from how to get out of your comfort zone to how to scale your business, and everything in between. And now, thanks to Office Depot, even more of you can join the course!
For the fall session, we're thrilled to team up with Office Depot to grant 200 FREE scholarship seats to the course. Scholarships are open to US residents, focusing on women of color, women from underserved and underrepresented communities, and women in need of support to help them trail-blaze. After all, we firmly believe that your support system is a huge part of how you achieve greatness, and we are here to cheer all of you on.
To nominate yourself or someone you know for a scholarship, head to our nomination form right here. The deadline for scholarship nominations is September 27th — it's time to take the leap!
Beyond the scholarship, Office Depot is all about helping you accomplish more. Whether it be the start phase, growth phase or keep businesses going phase, Office Depot offers a full suite of business solutions, including services and products, to help you work from anywhere, organize and save time and help build your brand.
So what are you waiting for? Take a chance on yourself and get yourself one step closer to truly being selfmade. Learn more about the Selfmade program, apply for a scholarship and prepare to be inspired :)