How To Make Your Resume Stand Out, According to HR
At the beginning of your career, your resume is crucial.
Often, whatever you're uploading to your dream company's recruitment site is your only chance of even being considered for your first position.
As someone in HR, I have people tell me all the time that they apply to tons of jobs online each day, and fear they're sending their resume out into a deep, dark internet abyss where it will never be reviewed.
And if you don't do it right, that may be where your resume ends up.
Yes, an interview is an important step in the hiring process. But you have to get an interview first. And how do you get here?
You got it: Your resume.
Just upload anything and wait to really shine in the interview, right? Wrong!
Now that I'm on the other side of the recruitment game, I've noticed a few things that make a big difference. Had I known these things earlier, maybe I wouldn't have 48 versions of my own resume saved to my computer's desktop.
Format properly and pay attention to details.
This is really basic but many people overlook it. Formatting is important. Make it easy for the person reading your resume.
No one wants to break out the magnifying glass to read your GPA. I always recommend staying at a 12 pt font.
Make sure all of your formatting is consistent: be thoughtful about whether you're using past or present tense, format all dates the same way, and start your bullet points with a verb.
And please, list your experiences in chronological order with the most recent first.
Be organized in the way you highlight your strengths.
In order to highlight, you need to organize.
People typically structure their resumes into subsections; education, employment, skills, etc.
But there's more you can be doing. I once had a career counselor tell me that my resume looked like I "puked out everything I've ever done on one sheet of paper." (supportive, right?) But really..if you can identify a common industry or role and then fit your experiences into those categories, all the better.
Example: If you're applying to an HR position and only have one previous HR employment experience but two other previous employers, split the employment section up. Make one section for HR employment experience, and group the other two positions as fit.
Make the relevant information the focus of your resume, providing the most information and detail in this section.
Edit, edit and re-edit. And then edit again.
Once you've reviewed and edited and proofread and re-edited your resume and you feel it's perfected, congratulations--this is just ONE of your final resumes.
Carefully edit your resume and tailor it to each job you apply for. Your most impressive accomplishment might not be relevant to the position, in which case you should considering leaving it out.
But don't fear! Just because you removed "assistant to director during production of blockbuster film" from your resume when you're applying to that finance position doesn't mean that's not awesome. It's still your accomplishment and you can save it for more closely related positions in the future.
At the end of the day, your resume is your story. Although I'm offering this advice to my fellow job-seekers, your resume only has to open the door to an interview and a job that makes YOU happy.
Don't get too caught up asking everyone you know to give their opinion because each person will point you in a different direction.
The most important piece of advice I have is to make it your own. When you do make it to the interview, you're the one who has to stand by that sheet of paper and sell it. So make it yours.