For a student seeking an entry-level job in their industry of choice, putting together a resume to be viewed by professionals can be intimidating. Luckily, there are lots of simple ways to clean up your resume and make it look great, even if you don’t have a ton of work experience yet. Here are some tips to help you make the most of what you’ve got.
Highlight your skills
If you don’t have a lot of work experience, try highlighting your skills, such as programs and software you’re familiar with. For example, if you have basic HTML knowledge, are familiar with Adobe Creative Suite programs, or have knowledge of other industry standard programs in your field, list them near the top of your resume.
Make it visually appealing
There’s a fine line between keeping it visually appealing and staying professional, but try to create a resume that aligns with the type of industry you’re trying to get into. A graphic design resume might be a little more on the creative side, while an accountant’s resume may be a little more straightforward. You also don’t need to limit yourself to Microsoft Word or Pages. There are tons of free resume templates online so find something that suits you and your brand.
Improve readability and formatting
Recruiters spend an average time of 6 seconds looking at a resume according to a study from The Ladders. They likely won’t read any large blocks of text; in fact, they may even get annoyed or overwhelmed by it. Write concisely and use bullet points instead to make it easier on the eyes and easier to scan.
Get rid of irrelevant experience
Tailoring your resume for the job you are applying for also means getting rid of outdated or irrelevant experience. It’s cool that you babysat your neighbour’s kids in grade ten, but unless you’re applying for a job that involves kids, leave it out and focus on as much recent experience as possible.
This is a no-brainer. Proofread it several times. Then ask several more people to proofread it. People might judge you negatively if you make a simple error or they may just move on to the next resume.
Add your hobbies
Adding your hobbies to your resume gives you personality. Employers are people too and you never know who you might have something in common with. If you have pursued a hobby for a long period of time that can also work to your advantage in demonstrating your dedication.
Think about what you can add in the future
Don’t just join a club or volunteer for an organization solely for the purpose of putting it on your resume, but think about opportunities in relation to what kind of career or industry you’re trying to get into. Thinking about this can help you plan for the future when you see a new opportunity.
Quantify your skills
Adding numbers can work to your advantage. For example:
- Responsible for leading the Social media team.
- Increased Facebook traffic.
- Led the social media team of 10 and presented marketing plans to company executives.
- Increased Facebook traffic by 30 per cent over a two-month period.
Keep it at two pages or less
A general rule for resumes is to keep it to two pages or less. There are some templates where you can cheat and give the page two columns if you really need to fit more in.
Fake it until you make it
Take a look at other resume examples online or Linkedin profiles for inspiration. Even if you don’t have their experience, think about how you can mimic their resume with the skills you have. But, obviously, don’t lie on your resume.
For everything else and more, visit the Career Centre and download the Career Compass, the Career Centre’s award-winning career and job search guide.