Right now, you’re probably thinking about possible internships and post-collegiate employment. One of the most important aspects of the job search is having a refined resume that makes you stand out from your peers. Here are 10 quick and easy-to-implement tips that can make your resume stronger:
- Highlight Measurable Results
Employers like to see concrete data … so quantify your accomplishments! What percentage growth/retention in membership did you lead your chapter to? By what percentage did you exceed your philanthropy/fundraising goal? Did you manage a budget? Use facts, numbers and figures to convey the impact you’ve made.
- Utilize Keywords
Many companies now use software to narrow down their applicant pool. In order to ensure your application is seen by human eyes, take a look at the job description of the position to which you are applying (you should be doing this anyway!) and identify keywords to utilize in your resume.
- Use Active Verbs
Start your bullet points with an action word that has the power to immediately capture a recruiter’s attention such as: innovate, accomplish, manage, create, navigate, rejuvenate, train, unite … etc. Active verbs can help your achievements pop off the page.
- Keep It Skim-able!
On average, a recruiter spends less than 7 seconds looking at a resume (aka — they are pros when it comes to skimming). Follow these tips to maximize readability:
- Keep experience recent and relevant (and listed in reverse chronological order).
- Resume should be one page.
- Keep bullets less than two lines.
- Don’t center any text.
- Bold important text to help achievements stand out.
- Ditch the Objective
Objective statements have become obsolete in recent years. A recruiter is looking to fill their position; they aren’t necessarily concerned with your career goals. Free up some real estate on your resume by eliminating the objective paragraph. (Speaking of obsolete … delete any mention of References on your resume. If employers need them, they will ask!)
- Emphasize Your Strengths
Highlight your strengths and accomplishments in each position that you’ve held. Employers don’t need to know the daily grind of every position you’ve ever held … what they do need to see is how you stand out above the rest. Win a chapter award? A genius when it comes to PivotTables? Tell your future employer why they should hire you.
- Devil in the Details
No need to include every little detail on your resume. Too many bullet points (and details) make it hard to find the information that is most valuable to a recruiter. Tailor your resume for every position you apply for and make sure details are relevant to that particular job.
- Share Your Leadership & Volunteer Work
Don’t be afraid to include volunteer work, community/school involvement and unpaid work/internships. Whether you are applying for your first job — or in the middle of your career — employers like to see candidates who are involved and give back to their communities and schools.
- Demonstrate Soft Skills
In today’s world, soft skills are just as important as technical skills. Are you an effective communicator? Great skill. But tell us how! Have you facilitated chapter workshops or retreats? Presented in front of large groups? How large? Don’t just list your soft skills — tell your potential employer how you leverage these skills.
- Convey your Passion
Help your potential employer understand what makes you, YOU! Leave the poetics for true poets … but don’t shy away from showing your personality on paper.
Emily Croak is the HR Specialist for HCR ManorCare – an industry leader of both short-term post-acute and long-term care with over 500 facilities nationwide. In her role, she travels the country facilitating leadership development courses; she also manages the Employee Satisfaction program for the company. Emily is involved with Leadership Toledo and the University of Toledo Alumni Association. In her free time, Emily teaches ballet classes at the Ballet Theatre of Toledo, and she is training to run her second marathon this fall. Emily is a 2012 graduate of the University of Toledo where she earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resource Management and Organizational Leadership and Management.