It’s been some time since you’ve received your college degree, and you haven’t heard back from anyone after months of job hunting. Does this sound familiar? If you’re actively seeking employment in this competitive job market, you need to stand out from the pack. Let’s start with your first point of contact with employers- your resume. You might not have updated it since you were enrolled in classes and realize it needs a more competitive edge now.
Getting back to basics
A resume has a few components, such as look, flow, and length. All of these factors are considered when someone looks at your resume for the first time. Think about how you currently present yourself. Start by re-organizing your resume and put the most important tangible items on the top. If you have relevant previous job experience and technical skills, you should put that higher up, where education can sit at the bottom. Remove outdated items or items that aren’t immediately relevant to your field. No one needs to know what high school you attended. As always, make sure you proofread your resume diligently. Any egregious spelling or grammatical errors will cost you the job.
Focus on your strengths
Think carefully about your best traits. Once you have those down, use these traits to sell yourself on your resume. Start by quantifying the items on your previous job descriptions. Did you increase sales by a certain percentage at your previous employer? Or maybe you reduced the amount of paper you used in your department? Put that in your resume. Are you good at something that others struggle at? Maybe your forte is in copywriting, or editing? Make sure you include these skills. Did you win any awards or have any notable accomplishments? You guessed it, put that in. Consider including a section of your resume that lists your interests. But be careful here. Sometimes an interest could work against you if the employer deems them odd, so be mindful about what you include here. Maybe list interests that promote your skills or a creative characteristic. Ask yourself; what is your most valuable skill or distinction? By including these, this will make the person reading your resume say “I have to meet that person.
Show, don’t tell
It’s very easy to put “innovative” or “Proficiency in Microsoft Office” on a resume. The question is, what is going to show the hiring manager how hard working you are? It might not hurt to add a link to your portfolio or website to your resume. Find creative ways to show your work on a resume. This creative example by a woman named Nina Mufleh shows an innovative report that resembles the website of the company she wanted to work for. It proves not only that she did her research on the company, but shows her computer and technical skills as well. Thinking outside the box may work to your advantage, with the dozens or even hundreds of applicants looking for the same position you are.
Get out there!
Now that you’ve learned some useful tips, it’s time to apply them and find a job. Remember, there is no one way to write a resume. Resumes exist to get your foot in the door, and also to make an impression. A strong cover letter and interview are also vital to landing the job. Every aspect of the job search and hiring process should reflect how you present yourself professionally. I challenge you right now to spruce up your resume, and get some feedback from an expert. Show it to either a colleague or a former college professor. The differences you make now could land you the job in the future.
-Spencer Price, VP of Unbanking