Once you enter university, the first thing students think about is building their resumes. Students learn very quickly that in addition to their professional qualifications, they require some level of experience, certification and extracurricular activities. Even if a student is able to do all of these things, without a coherent and correctly formatted resume, they will be unable to secure great job offers.
Below we have listed 10 resume tips to help you get the attention of any recruiter and fast.
1 Format Your Resume Correctly
Recruiters will accept or reject your application with a quick glance at your resume. Your resume format needs to be clear so that they are able to see your skills and experience immediately within just a few seconds of skimming your document. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Highlight your most recent experiences first and then work your way back in your experience timeline. Recruiters want to see what you have done most recently to see your current progress and growth.
Organization and Segment Headings
Each segment of your resume should be clearly highlighted with appropriate headings. Segment titles such as “contact details”, “education”, “experience”, “achievements”, and “skills” are the most important to identify. Do not restrict yourself to specific headings; use segmenting to compartmentalize your qualifications and areas of expertise.
This is a very basic formatting issue that several students overlook. Choosing a simple and readable font is incredibly important. Fonts like Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica, Verdana are among the best fonts to use. They are easy to read and are professionally used.
Selecting the right format for your resume is important especially when you need to submit electronic copies of your application. PDF is the most recommended document extension to use as it cannot be edited. Do not submit word documents. Some recruiters will specify their resume requirements in their job posting, so make sure to read the description for any indications of that. Depending on your profession of choice, video resumes are becoming more popular with several recruiters especially in the design and interactive job professions.
As a student it is unlikely that you will have a lot of experience and achievement. Try to limit your resume to a single page. If you do not have enough content to fill more than half of the second page of your resume, cut down your content to a single page. Two pages of your resume should be used only if you can utilize the space thoroughly. Don’t resort to increasing fonts to obscene sizes. Be wary of negative white spaces on your resume.
This is a simple but very necessary task at the end of formatting and editing your resume. Several recruiters are incredibly unimpressed by the lack of grammatical skills applicants have. Make sure your resume is error free before submissions.
Use Action Verbs
Using the right terminology will go a long way in attracting your future employers. Here you can find a list of really great action verbs you can use in your resume. Don’t include all of them! Use them only when appropriate.
Highlighting your experience is the most important task when it comes to building your resume. Even with the least amount of experience, the way you are able to express your growth and learning from these opportunities will attract the recruiter’s attention.
Recruiters want to see how your skills were an asset to the company. Highlight specific achievements you were able to accomplish during this experience. For example if you took part in a marketing internship you should use statements such as “planned and implemented monthly digital marketing strategies”.
The second important thing to highlight in your experience is about the skills you were able to learn while partaking in this opportunity. Following the marketing internship example above, you can include statements such as “acquired knowledge on SEO marketing tools”.
3 Hobbies and Interests, Achievements and Volunteering
These headings are important to include in your resume. Recruiters these days want to receive a well rounded impression of who you are as a candidate. Including these sections will give them an insight into what you are like outside of the office and how you will fit into the company’s work culture. If you have specific achievements and volunteering experience, employers would like to see this to see how you contribute to your community as well.
4 Professional Email Address
As a young kid, we all enjoyed creating a funny or catchy email ID. However recruiters are more than unamused by our childhood theatrics. Stick to professional IDs that include your name and have a limited use of special characters and numbers.
This is probably the most problematic section of most resumes. Students are mostly unaware of which skills to include. Generally, an ideal resume will include a balance of soft skills and technical skills. Soft skills are skills that express your emotional and social intelligence. Technical or hard skills are the skills you’ve learnt over time and that are quantifiable and easily measured. Only include skills that you have and not skills that you wish to acquire.
Highlight Skills according to Job Descriptions
Since every individual has a large amount of skills, it is very difficult to list all of them. Hence, based on job requirements you can highlight specific skills that match the job description. If you are applying to be a software developer intern, your skills as a photographer are most likely irrelevant to the job scope. This applies to your technical skills. Most soft skills you have are beneficial so be sure to include your best ones.
If you are applying for positions that are very technical, it is incredibly important to show your knowledge in the softwares and programs they require. If you know how to use specific software, applications or marketing tools, be sure to list them. These are your biggest assets. Just make sure they are used appropriately and also state the extent of your proficiency with these programs.
Students often forget that experience comes in all forms. That classroom project or coursework you worked on for a long time is considered a valuable asset. If you lack in non-educational experience, don’t be afraid to highlight these other projects you’ve taken on during your college years.
Some students will be able to build a proper portfolio highlighting their projects and designs. This portfolio can be attached alongside your resume to give recruiters a chance to see the application of your knowledge and skills. If you don’t have enough to put in a portfolio, don’t feel the need to attach one with your applications just yet.
8 Cover Letter
A lot of jobs will ask you to attach a cover letter with your resumes. The cover letter should expand on the skills and achievements you include in your resume. Since your resume needs to be short and concise, you can use the cover letter to clearly explain how your experiences have contributed to your overall growth.
9 Do Not Lie: Make Do With What You Have
When your skills and experiences are limited, it is really important to fight the urge to lie on your resume. This will be detrimental to your own success. If you are selected based on the skills you don’t possess, employers will quickly find out and you won’t remain employed for as long as you hoped. Employers provide training periods when you are on-boarded, so if you don’t have specific skill sets, they are more than willing to teach you these tools and software that you require to carry out your responsibilities.
10 Industry Compatible Resumes
On a final note, it is wise to remember that you don’t have to create one resume for all your job applications. As several skills are transferable between industries, it’s likely that one of your job applications will vary significantly from another. In fact, an application to a big MNC IT firm will vary from a laidback IT startup. Hence you must make sure that your resumes match the job you are applying for. Create multiple resumes or edit your resume before submitting an application to ensure you receive the best chance at getting seen and selected.
These tricks have not been listed in a particular order of importance. They are all incredibly important and must be incorporated when you begin drafting your resumes. Once you have completed it, it is also very useful to show a professor, parent or mentor your resume to see if they can provide you with any critical feedback. Enjoy building your resume! It is a profile on who you are. We recommend using Canva – a web application that offers you a wide variety of resume templates that you can easily edit according to your career profile.