Whether you are beginning your first year of college or getting ready to graduate, having a solid resume on hand is important for any opportunity that comes along. For employers, however, a lot of resumes begin looking the same. The question then turns to how one can make their resume unique. If you are hoping to land that dream job or be considered for that internship, be sure to check out our tips on how to make your resume stand out.
Different Resumes for Different Jobs
You should never have just one resume prepared. You have one small piece of paper to highlight all of your professional and academic skill sets. Not all of your prior work experience may be relevant for each specific position you are applying for. Having different resumes does not necessarily mean that you have to have ten different resumes that are already prepared. You should, however, customize each one based on the skill sets required for the position you are seeking.
For example, if you are applying for a freelance writing job, your summer waiting tables in high school may not be entirely relevant. If, however, you are applying for a customer service position, indicating that you have worked in a restaurant shows that you can deal with a lot of different people in a fast-paced environment. Be mindful and really consider your past experiences. You may never know what will grab the interest of your future employer.
Include Certain Important Headings
There is a lot of information that can be included on one’s resume. This can make it difficult to determine what information is necessary and what can be cut out. There are, however, some important headings that should be included without a doubt on your resume. You should always include your basic contact information. This should include your name, phone number and email, so that employers know how to get in touch with you. It is also important to include your educational background. If you are currently working toward a degree, you may even include your expected graduation date to indicate that you are in school.
Once you have provided your basic information and educational experience, you should include any prior work experience. Work experience includes far more than just paid positions that you have had. This is also where you may include any internship or volunteering that you have done. In fact, your internship and volunteer experience may be even more important than any paid jobs that you have worked. For each position, you should be sure to include the company name, the position and the dates that you worked in that position.
If you are a part of any professional or campus organizations, you should include all relevant affiliations on your resume as well. External organizations show what you are passionate about and where your interests lie. Greek life, honors societies and clubs are just a few examples of the organizational affiliations you should include. If you have held a leadership or board position within these organizations, you should highlight that as well. These affiliations can be interesting to include because they indicate how you spend your free time when you are not studying or working.
When considering the headings that you include on your resume, it is also important to consider references. If you have worked, interned or volunteered, you more than likely have many mentors and supervisors who would be thrilled to act as a resume. However, resumes are typically not where you should include references. You should only include references on a separate document when asked for each individual position. With that, however, having 2-3 professional references and 1 personal reference available. Your references should include your supervisor’s name, job title, company or association, email address and phone number.
Keep it Concise
Another tip on how to make your resume stand out is based on the content within each heading. Once you add a work, internship or volunteer position, you should describe the tasks and responsibilities that you performed. As contradictory as it may sound, you should be sure to provide sufficient details while keeping the information concise. This is surprisingly difficult to do. However, if you use bullet points to describe your positions and only include the most relevant information for the job that you are referring to. Try to limit your entire resume to just one page. Even if you have more information and require more than one page, try to adjust your margin and font size in order keep your resume as concise as possible.
The 2 Ps – Presentations & Publications
In addition to providing future employers with your education, work experience and professional affiliations, there are a couple of additional headings that indicate valuable skills. Many employers want to see that you have writing and public speaking skills. This means that if you have any publications or presentations, you are golden! Even though presentations and publications are excellent additions to your resume, you may not be in a position to include those at this point. If you have not published or presented any research at this point, you should try to look for opportunities to do so.
If you don’t have any presentations or publications that you can include at this point, there’s no need to fret. You probably have more experience with writing and public speaking than you currently think. If you have contributed to a blog or have one of your own, you may consider including the hyperlink. This will allow employers to view a writing sample at their convenience.
Just as important, showing that you have experience presenting is incredibly valuable to include on your resume. Be sure to consider any academic presentations you have done with your school. If you have presented a paper or a project with one of your classes that is open to the public, that is important information that you may put on your resume!
Make Your Resume Active & Emphasize Your Skill Set
A second content tip on how to make your resume stand out refers to the language when describing each position. It is not necessary to use complete sentences. You should make each job description active by starting each bullet under a job position active.
Ex: Hogwarts School of Wizardry, Graduate Assistant, January 2018-Present
- Assist Dr. Umbridge in research against dark arts
- Teach classes when Dr. Umbridge is traveling or out of the office
- Grade assignments and evaluate student’s preparedness
By beginning each bullet point with a verb, you are showing action within your job. Keep in mind though that if you are no longer working or interning for a particular organization, you should describe each of your roles in past tense.
How to Make Your Resume Stand Out
Even the most mundane jobs can sound impressive if you find the right angle. When you are applying for a job, consider the skills required to be successful. Try to emphasize those skill sets within each job or internship that you are describing. For example, if you are applying for a job as a teller, be sure to emphasize any sales and customer service experience that you have available. Language skills are also unique and becoming more important when looking for a job. If you are an international student who’s non-native language is one besides English, you will be able to emphasize bilingual skills.Job hunting is not easy and having a solid resume is important for your present and future success. Be sure to implement our tips on how to make your resume stand out to grab the attention of your future employer. If you are struggling with how to put together a successful resume, your school and additional online resources may be hugely beneficial to you. Your college or university may have a career services office that can help you build your resume!