7 Tips to Make Your Resume Stand Out

Image by Gangplank HQ, flickr

Image by Gangplank HQ, flickr

In school, you’ll see plenty of opportunities to apply for jobs – full time, part time, internships, co-ops – even an application to attend a conference or be a club executive may require a resume. Use the beginning of the school year to freshen up your documents so if something does come up, you’re not rushing to complete them. Here are a number of tips we’ve compiled from @wisebread‘s weekly #wbchat – this one on modern tips for resumes.

  1. Eliminate the Objective
  2. This one will come as a surprise to those of us (myself included) stuck in our standard resume format ways. Look at the objective on your resume. Chances are it says something along the lines of “To use my skills to help your company succeed.” If everyone applying for the position has the same cookie cutter sentence, it won’t help any of you. Remove the redundancy and use that space for more important information. Perhaps, add in a section with your unique skill set.

    objective

  3. It’s Okay to Brag, But Be Honest
  4. Your resume is one of the only places where it’s deemed acceptable to brag about yourself. This is your time to shine. List all the qualities that will tell an employer why you’re amazing at what you do. That being said, keep them accurate and honest. Don’t exaggerate; if you get to the interview stage, you’ll spend more time trying to cover up your little white lies than talking about the job. If there is a gap between jobs in your resume, explain what you did during that time. Chances are you weren’t on the couch day after day (we’d hope) – were you volunteering? Writing/blogging? Travelling? Be sure to include these – they might be just as interesting as another job to your interviewer.

  5. Eliminate the Fluff
  6. Bragging about yourself is great, but no one wants to read a five-page resume. Cut out anything you’ve added as filler. Keep it simple and concise. If you can get your resume down to one page (without eliminating important information), do it. Instead of writing about your job description, include accomplishments and numbers wherever you can – here’s an example:

    Written as a Job DescriptionWritten as an Accomplishment
    Responsible for promoting the conference to peersPromoted the conference to peers, resulting in a 25% increase in attendance

    quantify

  7. Tailor Your Resume
  8. How many resumes do you have? Is it necessary to have more than one? It depends on the job you’re applying for. If you’re applying to anything and everything, yes, you may need different resumes for each industry. The majority of people have one; but as standard as a resume might seem, it should always be tailored to the industry and the job you’re applying for. Highlight different skill sets and add descriptions that may apply to the specific job. Consider creating a LinkedIn profile; it can be updated more easily than a resume and you won’t forget new job responsibilities when the time comes to refresh your documents. Remember though that a LinkedIn profile is not a replacement for a resume.

    tailor

  9. Proofread, Proofread, and then Proofread Again
  10. A number of hiring managers have mentioned that if a resume has a spelling mistake on it, it immediately goes into the trash. As harsh as this may seem, the logic makes sense – if you don’t have the time or care to proof your resume – a document that could essentially start a new career for you – how do they know you won’t be as careless with the work you’re given at their company? Always proofread your resume. Send it to a peer to make sure that not only are there no mistakes, but that the content is applicable to the job you’re applying for.

    relevancy

  11. Stand Out, But Keep it Professional
  12. Everyone wants their resume to stand out. But is printing it on pink paper with a spritz of perfume (Legally Blonde style) really the way to do it? Always look at the type of company you’re applying to first. If you’re applying to a law or accounting firm, you’re best to use a standard black and white format. If you’re applying to an ad agency or web design firm, you can probably afford to be more creative. If you’re not sure, play it on the safe side.

    format

  13. Critique It As If You Were the Hiring Manager
  14. Our last piece of advice, and a very important one, is to take a step back. Read it with a different mindset. If you were a big shot hiring manager and you could pick anyone to work for you, would reading that resume sell you? Would you be excited for an interview with this student? If not, try to figure out what would entice a hiring manager to talk to you. Do you need more facts and figures? Do you need to talk more about your accomplishments? Ask family or friends if there’s a better way to word your skills.

    hiringmanager

    If you need more assistance, check out your school’s career centre. The counsellors will be more than happy to review your resume with you and provide suggestions for improvement. Once your resume is finalized, you’ll need to start your interview prep. Here are some tips to get you started!

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