There are about a dozen articles about resumes on the internet for every one person looking to write a resume, but unfortunately, not all of them are created equal. Most of them cover the bare bone basics of putting together and formatting your resume. Many don’t address ways to make your resume stand out in a good way and land you that job of your dreams. I’m here to change that today. It’s not enough anymore to do the bare minimum on your resume and expect a job offer. As someone who has seen and made a lot of resumes in her life, and had to pass some harsh criticisms on to higher management, I’m here to give you some secret tips and tricks that will make your resume stand out and highlight what is best about you and your experience.
Only include your GPA if it is impressive
As a college student or recent graduate, you might feel inclined to include your GPA on your resume along with your educational history, but take a moment to think about what that GPA looks like. We all know grades aren’t everything, but if you’re going to include your grade point average for all your future employers to see, make sure it represents you well. The running rule is not to volunteer your GPA unless it is above 3.5, no matter what school you attend. If a certain employer asks for your GPA, you should tell them, but if it doesn’t make you look as strong as you are, leave it off.
Once you’re in college, stop including high school accomplishments
We all did great things in high school. That’s how we got into college. Now that you’re in college, or beyond, you shouldn’t include your freshman year of high school debate win or your presidency of the Key Club or National Honor Society. If you have an achievement from high school that was nationally recognized, weigh how it will affect your resume. Otherwise, start fresh with a new resume for college and beyond. Employers don’t care about what you did five years ago in high school. They want to see what you’ve done in college.
Your contact info is your lifeline
This shouldn’t have to be said, but I have to say it. While passing along resumes to my boss, I noticed far too many resumes with no contact info on it! How could you do that to yourself? Sure, maybe they have your contact information on your full application or your email from your submission, but why would you not always include your email and phone number on your resume? Do you want that job or not?
Take care with formatting
There are a lot of websites that will help you format your resume to be visually pleasing. Take advantage of them. You don’t have to do anything to fancy, but if it looks like a middle schooler could have made it, don’t share it with a potential employer. Put a little effort into the formatting to make it look professionally done and aesthetically pleasing and it will pay off when it catches an employer’s eye.
Proofread, proofread, proofread
Again, this is not up for discussion. You need to proofread. We all make mistakes when we’re typing and writing articles and emails, but your resume should be proofread so many times that it is mistake proof. Don’t just proofread it yourself. Give it to others to proofread. It’s a known fact that you won’t spot mistakes after a certain number of perusals because you know what you were trying to say, so give it to a friend, professor, or trusted guidance counselor to look over for basic spelling and grammatical errors that will get your resume thrown in the trash by an employer.
No one cares that you’re proficient in Microsoft Suite
I have to say it, because no one else will. When you’re listing your skills and accomplishments, for the love of all things holy, don’t tell a potential employer you’re proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Powerpoint. It’s 2017. Everyone is, or should be. That’s an assumption they make when they hire someone. Instead, if it’s applicable, put in an experience where you used Excel to build a new spreadsheet documenting your company’s expenditures for the past decade, built a website, or something tangible.
You don’t need a goals and objectives section
This is a formatting suggestion that is so last decade. Now that every job requires a cover letter, an objectives and goals section on your resume can seem outdated and silly. Save that space for your actual experiences and talk about your objectives in a job and why you are perfect for said job in a cover letter individualized to each job.
Use quantitative terms
When you want to talk about your past experience in clubs, jobs, or internships, use quantitative terms. Don’t simply say you got more people to join your club. Say you lead a marketing campaign that attracted 20 more members. Don’t say you raised money for charity. Explain that you raised over $15,000 for breast cancer research. Putting things in qualitative terms helps an employer see how you can change their company for the better.