Whether you are a high school student reviewing your first resume draft or a recent graduate trying to land a job, you want to be sure your resume is in the best shape possible ✨
Your first draft should not be your only draft! Always look for ways to improve your resume and stand out even more in the recruitment process. Recruiters sort through resumes exceptionally quickly, so you want yours to be the one that piques their interest. Today's job market is very competitive, and it can be easy to feel lost 😕 in the shuffle of things. We are here to help you make sure you are on the top of your game, starting with the first information you give recruiters.
Here are some ways you can improve your resume to make it stand out.
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1: Alter Resume Depending on Position 📝
Your resume should match the job position you are applying for and should be modified depending on the job position for which you're applying. It should generally match the professional field you are either currently in or planning on pursuing. For instance, a graphic designer's resume will have a much different appearance than a business executive's resume.
Using the job description, you can determine keywords that you can include in your resume. The description is essentially the template of how to land the job. Include any experience you've had that matches as closely as possible to the position while mimicking the employer's language.
If you're still in high school, check out these articles about creating a high school resume
and high school resume examples.
2: Change Experience into an Action 🏃
Under each job experience, you probably have a bullet list describing your past responsibilities; the phrasing in these bullets is vital. You want them to express an action.
If your bullets have the phrasing "Responsible for" or "In charge of," you should alter them. You want to start each bullet point with an action word. An example of a bullet would be, "Managed and assisted 10 sales accounts." Starting with an action word makes your resume more direct and to the point. Make sure you are using the proper tense!
3: Quantify Your Experience Where Possible 🔢
When describing your experience and responsibilities at a previous job, employers want to see the material gains and accomplishments you contributed to the company. If you were in charge of any amount of cash 💵, a specific number of people, or something else that can be quantified, make sure to add that to your resume.
Instead of writing "managed and oversaw a sales team," you should write something along the lines of "managed and oversaw a team of 8 salespeople." Quantifying your accomplishments allows you to be specific about your qualifications and to brag about your success.
4: Cut the Irrelevant Experience ❌
Since a resume is only a page long, you want it to showcase the best of your experience and skills. Even though you may have a long list of jobs you had during college and high school, you want to consider both relevance to the job you're applying for and how recently you've worked there.
5: Know What Information to Include ✅
Over time, the expectations for a resume have changed. Be sure you include both an email ✉️ address and phone 📞 number at the top of your resume to ensure the recruiter can easily reach you.
It is equally as important to know what information to leave out. For instance, you don't need to include a complete home address on a resume. It may be more helpful to include a town, state, and zip code as the proximity to the work environment is applicable.
6: Organize to Grab Attention 🗄️
Recruiters don't spend a lot of time reviewing a resume at first glance, so you want to make sure your resume is easy to read. Depending on where you are in your professional journey, you want to organize your resume accordingly.
If you are currently in college or a recent graduate, your education 🎓 should be at the very top of your resume. You want to place whatever has been taking up most of your professional time at the top of your resume, so a recruiter does not have to dig to find it. Organizing your work experiences from most to least recent will also make your resume more readable.
Think of your resume as a constant work in progress. You should continually expand, cut, and polish it to accurately reflect your experience and talents. Remember that this is not a catch-all list, and you should always look for new ways to improve your chances of landing your dream job.
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For more tips to improve your resume, check out this article from Fiveable!
Next, check out this guide to getting a summer job
Erica Burns is a senior at Temple University studying English and political science and is currently a Content Writer Intern with the Forage. She is passionate about writing, literature, and politics, specifically environmental and human rights.