Techniques & Strategies that Will Take Your Resume from Student to Professional:
- Focus on relevant experiences on your resume.
There are a number of ways to organize a resume but one of the most effective practices is to list all of your relevant experiences toward the top of your resume and then you may include an Additional Experience section farther down on the page. By organizing your resume in this way you will ensure that the employer will get to the most relevant information first. Since employers typically scan a resume in 10 to 20 seconds, as an applicant it is important to use this information to your advantage.
- When drafting your resume be sure to acknowledge that previous experience counts.
Whether you participated in an internship, service learning experience, community service project, or volunteer work; it's important to document these experiences as professional as if they were a real job. Developing strong leadership, communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills through these types of experiences is really the same as if you gained the experience while working at a job.
As a job applicant, it is your responsibility to prove to an employer that you have the ability to be successful on the job; and initially this can be accomplished by creating and submitting a professional resume and cover letter. It is also your responsibility to make sure that you submit the most professional documents when applying in order to boost your chances of being selected for an interview over the many other competitive job candidates that may apply.
- Review job ads and qualifications to ensure that your documents contain key words and phrases that are currently being used in the industry.
By using professional jargon correctly in your documents as well as in the job interview you will illustrate to the employer that you have done your research and have a professional handle on the field. These same key words and phrases included in your resume and cover letter will also make your documents stand out should the employer use key word searches when selecting resumes for consideration out of the many they receive on a daily basis.
- Base your resume on your career goals and design each section with this in mind.
Fill your resume with experiences that relate directly to your career goals. Although showing a breadth of interests and previous experience may look impressive, leaving out key information that's directly related to the job is a mistake since employers are consistently seeking to find the best person for the job. Again by carefully reviewing the job description and qualifications for a particular job, you will get hints as to what types of experiences the employer is looking for when evaluating candidates for the job.
- Acknowledging what you've learned previously is also important to include on a resume.
In evaluating previous experiences you may think that there' s not much that you can write. It may be that you shadowed one or more professionals or attended several meetings where important decisions were being made. It is these types of experiences that provide exposure to a field that will enable applicants to make informed decisions on which to base future important career decisions.
- Use numbers to quantify your accomplishments when describing previous positions.
A key strategy in illustrating your accomplishments is by quantifying your results. For example:
- Wrote two weekly articles on local news and entertainment for college newspaper.
- Raised $50,000 for local charity to buy medical supplies for orphans in South Africa.
- Exceeded annual sales goal by 100%.
- Be sure to illustrate how you contributed to the bottom line of an organization where you've previously interned or worked.
Although boasting is never attractive, a resume and cover letter are two places where you will want to illustrate your strengths and contributions to get an employers attention and spark their interest enough to get them to call you to come in for an interview. Using words carefully is important when describing your contributions and giving credit to any team involvement that you participated in is just as important as well.
- Create a portfolio to demonstrate your skills and accomplishments.
There are many ways to demonstrate your personal attributes and creating a professional portfolio is one of them. Many professionals including teachers, advertising executives, and artists frequently develop portfolios to document their work. A professional portfolio can be used for other career professionals as well. You may also include certifications, awards, and other documents to substantiate your job qualifications.
Summary: Creating a stand out resume and cover letter is necessary when applying for jobs, especially in a competitive job market. You don't want to have just any resume submitted in the process, but you want it to be the best resume possible that reflects your uniqueness and personal attributes that you can bring to an organization.