Everyone wants a killer resume - but what really makes a resume killer? How do you choose what to spend your time on, and how are you going to showcase it the best way possible on your resume? If you’re like millions of other college students and millennials, you’re probably quite confused on what to write, how to write it, and understanding why you are writing it in the first place. Here’s a quick guide on how to choose the right positions and activities so you get the most out of your resume.
1. Take every opportunity with an open mind.
Whether you’re networking at a career fair or just having a conversation with a family friend, it’s important to keep an open mind. Often, many recruiters like to see a broad range of valuable experience, so take that into consideration when looking for something to work toward. For example, take the old-fashioned club fair. Imagine you’re walking inside - why are you there? What are you looking for? Probably nothing in particular. Walking the aisles, you’re most likely going to sign up for something that you’re interested in, or something you’d like to hear more about.
Now, take this mindset into searching for jobs. If you’re in a position where getting a job as fast as possible is extremely important, then I don’t recommend even finishing this article - go look for jobs! But, if you’re not really sure what you want to do with your life like most of us, step outside of your boundaries a little. Unless you don’t have the required skills or metrics, don’t be afraid to apply to an outlandish job. Startups are always looking for bright, intelligent people, so reach out to them! It doesn’t hurt to learn more about their company or make a connection - if they’re in the area, set up a coffee chat with them, or talk over the phone just about the company and about who you are. You’d be surprised what a simple 15-minute chat can turn into.
Think about every and any meeting like you’re meeting with a friend. Often times the best way to make a great first impression is to think nothing of it. Remember that the person you’re talking to is actually a person - not some robot whose only purpose is to evaluate you. Yes, the recruiter is paying attention to who you really are, but they’re people too, so connect with them - ask them about their lives, what they’re passionate about, and how they find their work connects with that. Not only will you be catering to that person’s interest, but you’ll be making a great impression, and hopefully, a friend.
2. Give your best effort - constantly.
Along with your overall experience, detailed bullets set your resume to the next level. The only real way to get great bullet points, packed with awesome credits and statistics, is to try hard. And I don’t mean telling people that you’ve been working hard - I actually mean doing it. In a resume, there’s not a lot of room for making stuff up - either you did it or you didn't. So, what would you rather have?
If you think about it, the least you could do is put your best effort in. If a recruiter can’t tell by your resume that you’re a hard worker, then you might struggle getting further in the recruiting process. I personally like to put my mind toward learning new things, whatever I do. When I’m working, I constantly think about what new things I can learn within what I’m doing, and with that attitude, I’m able to put my best effort in.
Find a common trend between your hobbies and daily life and use that trend to motivate you in your work. For example, I’m an avid Rubik’s cube solver and chess player - so I use my love of problem solving and strategy to push me forward and produce the best results possible. Use your open mind to do more - at work, if an opportunity comes by, even if it seems like more work, take it to get more experience (it might just add a bullet or two to your already-great resume).
3. Be different.
Think about what recruiters see throughout everyone’s resumes. What’s something that your experience has in common with your friends/coworkers? If you have common skill sets, find a way you can differentiate yourself from your competition - for example, if you’re proficient in graphic design, you could make your own website showcasing your skills and major projects, something unique that recruiters could reference outside of your resume.
Also consider what traits really make you who you are, then try to showcase that through what you’ve accomplished. For example, if I’m naturally a creative person, I’m going to include a lot of metrics that showcase my creativity, like specific projects I’ve worked on, as well as include hyperlinks to everything, so someone viewing on a device can access it.
Overall, don’t think too hard about your experience. The biggest key to success is being who you are and exuding a positive and constructive attitude that’d be accepted by most employees in the workplace. Remember, recruiters are essentially looking for people they want to work with every day, so try to fit that bill, but within the confines of your identity.
Also, take this advice with a grain of salt - take some time to think about what’s really important to you. Having the best resume possible regardless whether you like your work or not might be your top priority. But, keep in mind that you’re in control of what your recruiters see, so you can describe your accomplishments to the top of their potential, while doing what you really love.
If you find that you have great experience, skills, or the full package but are struggling to write it down effectively, check out our service Backlight Resumes. We optimize resumes at an affordable price through the utilization of a custom artificial intelligence algorithm and professional copy editors. We realize that proficient resume-writing skills and capable career services aren’t things that are guaranteed in college, so we’re looking to provide them at a fraction of the competitors’ price. Backlight was founded by students for students, so we know exactly your struggle whilst writing professional documents, networking, recruiting, amongst the struggles of succeeding in class, extracurriculars, and life itself.