Hope you’ve been having a stellar week. Since graduating, I’ve emerged into the struggle that millions of twenty-somethings like myself are going through: finding a job. More importantly, making yourself seem cool/smart/funny/amazing enough to get said job. We live in a world where we are judged in milliseconds, and when it comes to building a professional career, every impression matters.
Fortunately, I’ve had guidance from several good mentors, professors, and other life coaches in helping me tell my story in the best ways possible, even when it comes to something as seemingly unglamourous as a resume. Today, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite tips to all of you fellow and future job-seekers out there!
Tip One: Choose a job-appropriate format. The overall look and feel of your resume will depend on your field of work. For example, a more traditional business role might have an industry standard, whereas a more creative job may benefit from a resume with a pop of color or unique design. Give these 41 free templates a look to get those juices flowing!
Tip Two: Brainstorm, then condense. Think about any and every experience you’ve had that a job interviewer might want to know about. Put them down on a sheet of paper—dates, locations, job descriptions, etc. Even if these don’t make it to the final version of your resume, they may be valuable experiences that you can mention in your job interview. Then comes the hard part: condensing. Pick the top 3-5 skills, professional experiences, and accolades that you want to share. As I’ll mention later, this may vary by the job you’re applying for, but in general, your resume should be no longer than a page.
Tip Three: Maximize (but don’t hyperbolize) your strengths. Okay, so you’ve narrowed down your resume to your best work. Rather than simply listing your job description, focus on the unique things that you contributed to that organization while you were there. What areas did you improve or pioneer? Using action words like collaborated, created, led, etc. help the job interviewer know that you’re someone who actively does things, not just shows up. Focus on 2-3 per position held, but remember: lying (or overly exaggerating) will NOT do you any favors when you’re in the interview room.
Tip Four: Customize your resume to each new application. This may seem like a lot of work, but trust me, it’s worth it! If you’re applying to jobs in a lot of different fields (as I am!) some of your work might be more important than others. For example, if I was applying to work for a nonprofit, some of my volunteer experience with similar organizations would be more important than an unrelated professional role. If you’re really trying to hit a home run, read the job description for the position you’re applying for and try to alter your resume to fit the lens of that description. If the job is looking for someone who enjoys working in a fast-paced environment, talking about your role at the school newspaper where you were expected to produce daily content matches up with that description. When someone is only spending 1-2 minutes glancing over your resume, you need to be in persuasion mode, not simply introducing yourself.
While these are just a few tips that have really helped me, there are TONS of resources out there for helping you create the perfect resume, including Forbes and Entrepreneur. Good luck, try not to stress too much, and let me know some of your other favorite resume tips in the comments!
Here’s to finding the jobs of our dreams!