How to Make Your Resume Stand Out
by Gabi Bourn
Production Manager at Wunderman
When looking to fill a position, I prefer to have met a candidate rather than simply gathering resumes via an online application. Unfortunately, many recruiters make their first-round interview decisions based solely off the information on your resume. Here are a few ways to make your resume stand out to recruiters.
School is Your Job
When you are a college student, your job is to do the best you can in school. I’m not saying that you must have a 4.0 GPA, but you definitely need to work hard and prioritize your school work. School teaches you how to learn, and by making good grades, you show recruiters that you can learn new skills and information. School exists for a reason and will teach you valuable skills that you will use in the future. Beyond learning specific concepts, school also teaches you how to learn and deal with challenges and obstacles. By having a strong GPA, you are telling recruiters that you can push through these challenges to accomplish your goals.
Get a Job
Unfortunately, having school as your job is not enough. Building experience through a job is crucial. Internships are great and provide valuable office experience. I’ve heard many students say that they’ve never had a job and they’ve just waitressed. If you’ve said this to me, you’ve probably heard my speech about never using the word “just” when speaking with a recruiter. Remember, every experience is valuable experience. Waitressing, lifeguarding, and even short summer jobs all teach you different lessons and skills. For example, waitressing teaches you valuable customer service skills. Think about how your experience fits with the job you are applying for. Think of outside of the box applications for your experience – working in a kitchen teaches you how to organize and manage priorities. Recruiters love to see that you’ve had the experience of getting up and going to a job that you may or may not have enjoyed. If you’ve done well in that position and received a promotion, that’s even better.
Fill It Up
Your GPA and job experience are only part of your resume. Remember to be prioritizing community involvement such as volunteering. Get involved in activities on campus. Better yet, get involved as a member, join a committee, and then become an officer. Seek out leadership opportunities. It goes back to the idea that every experience adds value.
There are many different ways to format a resume, and I’m not going to say that one specific way is the best. What is important is that you are consistent. If the dates are supposed to be right justified, make sure all of your dates are all the way to the right. Fonts and font sizes should all be consistent. Remember to be clear and concise with your formatting. Unless you are applying for a job in graphic design or something similar, recruiters probably do not care to see very artistic, unique resumes. Focus on making your resume consistent, clear, and easy to understand.
Over the years, I’ve seen several resumes with no contact information or inaccurate information. I’ve seen multiple people misspell their own names. I’ve reached out to candidates to bring them in for an interview and received a bounce back email that the user does not exist. Don’t be that person.
When you create your resume, save it, and come back in a few hours or days with fresh eyes. Think of it from the perspective of a recruiter. If they like your resume, how will they get in touch? Do you have accurate contact info? Ask a family member or friend to take a look at your resume. Companies like to hire candidates who they can trust to be error free and detail oriented. If you make errors on your resume, that can sometimes automatically disqualify you from a position.
Having a great resume is a mixture of content and details. You must pay attention to the little formatting details, but you must have content to be formatted. Start reaching out to your university’s career center to get their help with crafting your resume. They will usually have a sample resume with formatting standards to help you fit all your information on one page.
A strong resume doesn’t just happen overnight. Start thinking now about the job you want, and think about what skills and experience would make you successful in that job. Begin working on those skills now. When the time comes to apply for a job, you will have the content and will only have to worry about the easy part – formatting.
This article originally posted on LinkedIn, reproduced with permission.