Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Creating a Standout Resume

After explaining to students that there will be huge competition for jobs, especially if the posting is online, we are often asked “Well then how do I make myself stand out?”

This is a completely valid question. The answer? Well, unfortunately, there is no clear cut answer. Primarily, I would suggest calling the organization that you are applying to just to ask a couple questions. Doing this will allow the company to know your name which may subconsciously (sneaky, I know!) have them review your document more closely. I would also encourage you to network, network, network (it's super important). It is so much easier for employers to hire if they know you first. In fact, if you network enough, and an employer likes you, they may offer to chat with you about the position, foregoing the whole application process in the first place. You are making it so easy for them, if you do that right!
But... if you have decided  to apply to online postings, which, don't get me wrong,  is something you should totally be doing as well just to cover your basis, then I can offer you a couple of suggestions about what to include in your resume to make it stand out. Additonally, I can tell you things employers look for specifically and things that they hate to see.
1. Personalization- the more tailored you can make your resume (and cover letter for that matter) the better. It will show that you took the time to research the company which shows them that you are motivated and seriously interested in the position.
2. Achievement Statements- this format really makes it easy for them to see how you can impact their company by showing them obviously what you achieved in your past experiences. The achievement statement consists of three steps. They are:

  1. Action verb: Presented in past tense
  2. Steps or actions taken: These are the steps/actions you took to achieve something
  3. End result: This is the impact/results of your action(s)
3. Relevant Experience and Skills - the most important thing you can show on your resume are the experiences and skills (technical/language) that you have which the employer is looking for. This will be different for each profession so do your homework and know what is necessary for the positions you apply to.
4. An easy to read layout - come on in to the resource centre located just inside the Library Learning Commons and we can show you what this looks like.
1. Bad Grammar and Spelling Mistakes- this may seem like and obvious one, but it happens more times than you think. This goes for e-mail correspondences as well. Proofread!
2. To whom it may concern!  -This is a cover letter bugger, but this salutation is a huge no no. Try and find the name of the person doing the hiring or address the letter to the hiring comittee or human resources manager.
3. Too little or too much information- You want to try to avoid only stating your duties or overstating your accomplishments with paragraphs. Strike a good balance with the use of clear and succinct bulleted achievement statements.
These are some basic tips I can provide you with. Remember to do your homework on each of the employers and positions so that you can really be as specific as possible.
I hope that these tips can assist you in writing an awesome resume which employers will love to read. Whether you are applying online, in person, or giving in a resume at the interview (benefit of networking) employers will be able to see that your resume hits all the right things.
For a more extensive look into your resume come by the centre and we can help answer your questions.
Rosemary Tamburini,
Senior Career Assitant

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