You probably think your resume is just fine. After all, you’re smart, ambitious, and ready to work hard, so it’s sure to radiate through the lines of your resume. But the pool of candidates with college degrees is growing, and setting yourself apart from the crowd has never been more tough. Crafting a concise but well-written resume is tough, especially if you’ve just graduated college and have little work experience. Read on to find out tips on how to create the best possible resume for your experience, because in this job market, you deserve every edge you can get.
1. Resume Template
If you searched the web for “best resume templates”, chances are so did every other job candidate. You want your resume to stand apart, and usingquality resume templates can make all the difference. They help you structure your experience into an easy-to-read format that keeps your descriptions concise and organized. You want a resume template that will help you with layout and design, but you don’t want a template that will show you exactly what to say (because everyone else will also have the same canned briefs). It’s not easy to write a great resume, but the right template can help you focus and stay current.
2. Cover Letter
Too many people skip out on the cover letter and think it’s outdated, but it’s a huge missed opportunity. Resumes can be so dry, but cover letters are your chance to shine. You get to tell the hiring manager exactly why you’re a perfect fit for the job while also showing that you care enough to put the effort into crafting a specific cover letter for that company. Without one, it seems like you’re mass applying to jobs (even if you are, they don’t need to know that) and aren’t set on this particular one. There’s nothing wrong with reusing your cover letters, just make sure to customize it to different jobs and companies.
When it comes to the length of your resume, hitting the sweet spot is surprisingly important. If you include too much detail and your resume becomes four pages, you’re going to seem like someone who can’t get to the point. If your resume is too short, you’ll seem vastly underqualified—even if your resume contains great experience. Resumes should be around two pages max (not including a cover letter) and should include only information that’s relevant for the job you’re applying to; the hiring manager at a techstart up doesn’t necessarily need to know you took dance for 12 years.
4. Priority ContentIt might feel backwards to put your most recent experience first instead of going chronologically, but people’s attention spans are short (8 seconds, to be precise), especially if they’re tasked with sorting through hundreds of resumes. Make sure to include the most important information and your most impressive achievements first to ensure you’ll catch the eye of the hiring manager (who’s likely skimming most resumes). Awards, KPIs, and experience definitely trump where you went to high school and where you volunteered. Make sure your resume has a chance to make it out of the pile of resumes by piquing the hiring manager’s interest right away.