Creating a Stand-out Resume
There are a few times in your life when you truly want to put your best foot forward. No lies, no trickery – just your best self. It might be on the first day of school, the first date, meeting the parents; or, on your resume for a new job. That first impression makes a difference!
Finding the right fit is important both for you and for your potential employer. You want a position that is a perfect match for your skills, experience, interests, and needs.
So, you’ve searched high and low and found what you believe is your dream job. You are the product and your resume is your only advertisement. You need to get attention, but in a professional way.
- First, read the job description carefully.
- If you want examples to format your resume, look up business-style guides available online and in libraries and bookstores.
- List your work history in descending chronological order, starting with your current or most recent position.
- Keep it simple, to the point, and clear. List or use bullet points for your accomplishments.
- Tailor your strengths on the resume to match the job description. You can tailor words to match the job description, too. Is the employer looking for someone to coach and evaluate employees? Phrase your relevant supervisory experience as “Coached and evaluated over 20 employees.”
- Be specific and use factual details. Are you a top-notch salesperson? Instead of saying that you “increased sales tremendously,” say, “increased sales by 30%.”
- Keep graphics to a minimum, and keep the font readable. If an employer has a hard time reading or seeing words, they’ll skim over them and move on to the next applicant.
- It’s okay to be creative, but remember your audience. Professional-looking resumes are best for a professional workplace.
- Don’t list personal information like your graduation date and don’t include your picture unless it is pertinent to a specific job (like modeling or acting).
- Cover letter? YES! Create a cover letter specifically for each application. You want the recruiters and hiring managers to know you are interested in both the company and the position, not just any old job.
- Pay attention to detail; and, always check grammar and spelling. Don’t depend on the computer to do it for you. Review the document yourself several times and allow a friend or family member to make suggestions.
Good luck with your job search!
Thank you to Melayne Smith, Senior Coordinator, for providing much of the content for this article.