By: Caroline Nimnicht
You’ve been in college for four years (hopefully), and now, the inevitable end is embarking. That means you’re about to be faced with job searching, networking, interviewing and most importantly, building a resume recruiters will notice. Your resume could either help or hurt you. Following are a few ways to construct a pre-eminent resume.
1. Think of your resume as a marketing tool
It’s typical to think of your resume as a synopsis of your work experience, but it’s actually so much more than that! It’s really a strategic tool for marketing your own personal brand.
Think about it… a recruiter who is seeking a candidate to fit a certain job description and bring value to an organization isn’t going to want to decipher your resume to figure out who you are; you must connect the dots for them!
While building your resume, think strategically. What have you accomplished in the past? What can you offer in the future? Make sure your resume is a clear outline of who you are as a professional.
2. Tailor your resume to each new job
“One of the most common resume mistakes … is creating one single resume and sending it out to every hiring company they can find,” said career expert Jason Hill, founder of Sound Advice. “I call this the ‘shotgun approach.’ Do not do this.”
Okay, so we want to take Mr. Hill’s advice. Before applying to a specific job, research the company and read the job description carefully. Determine what the organization wants, and reflect those qualifications on your resume accordingly.
I know this sounds time-consuming; especially if you’re applying to a multitude of jobs, but I promise it is well worth the effort.
3. Curate a sleek, uncluttered design
If you’re trying to impress a recruiter by showing how many different colors, designs and fonts you’ve mastered on Microsoft Word, don’t. That is a surefire way to get your resume a one way ticket to the trash.
Just use a simple font such as Times New Roman or Arial in a 10, 11, or 12 point size. Utilize bullet points, short paragraphs and quantifiable achievements to your benefit. If you’re really wanting to be creative, you could subtly incorporate a personal brand you’ve designed for yourself. Otherwise, stick to a simple yet elegant design.
4. Incorporate major key words
Every recruiter is looking for specific keywords when they first review a resume. Sometimes it’s not even the recruiter, but a computer that’s doing the reviewing. If you’re missing certain keywords, this is a perfect way to get eliminated in the race for a job. So make sure you have the perfect keywords that match the job description you’re applying for!
5. Say goodbye to the personal objective statement
The personal objective statement is a dying trend that used to be a statement having something to do with what kind of job and organization you’re seeking. Recruiters don’t really care about what you’re looking for, but rather what they’re looking for.
Among other things, personal objective statements take up a ton of space… which leads me to my next tip.
6. Limit it to one page!
You should definitely be able to communicate every point of why you’re perfect for a job position on one page. No recruiter wants to read anymore than that, trust me.
7. For the most part, leave out your GPA
Unless you had a 3.0 or higher, leave out your GPA. No job recruiter really cares about your GPA, they only care about whether or not they’ll be able to mold you to fit the right job for their organization.
8. Highlight your accomplishments rather than your responsibilities
When building your resume, you’ll provide necessary bullet points under each job title you’ve held. But beware: do not use this space to describe the responsibilities you held. Instead, focus on what you achieved while at each job.
For example, consider each statement for someone who was an account manager:
- Handled accounts for the PR firm.
- Managed 20 accounts in excess of $7 million annually and came in under budget by 15%
The second statement is clearly better than the first because it highlights an accomplishment in a quantifiable way. By providing data, you’ll leave a memorable impression.
9. Use proactive action verbs
Beyond quantifying your areas of success, also strive to use proactive action verbs. Instead of worked, use supervised or managed; instead of made, use developed or created.
Side note: make sure to use use present tense for current positions and past tense for former jobs.
10. Ask for help!
Whether it’s a parent, friend, coworker or mentor, another set of eyes to look over your resume cannot hurt. When you stare at a document for too long, sometimes you lose the ability to see the strengths and weaknesses it may have. Having a fresh and objective perspective will always help identify areas for improvement.