5 Finishing Touches that Make One Brilliant Resume

brilliant resumeAs a soon-to-be grad, you’ve mastered Resume 101. But is it a brilliant resume? One sure to catch an employer’s eye?

Sure, you can glance at your resume right this second and say, “Single-page: check! Final GPA: added! Saved as a PDF to ensure proper formatting: done and done!”

But chances are you’re still feeling the pressure as graduation nears. And you’re probably wondering what other people know that you don’t. Which means you need to know these five finishing touches that will give your resume that extra sparkle. You know, that little extra shine it needs to get the right kind of attention.

Let’s get started, shall we?

1. Add Statistics

Numbers speak louder than words. Showing your impact on an organization illustrates your abilities more clearly than descriptive words. This is true, whether it’s through your involvement in college clubs or in your internships.

Marilyn Santiesteban, assistant director at Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government & Public Service Career Services tells new graduates to quantify their experience, education, or skills by using “accomplishment statements” (you grew your coding club’s membership to 200 students, or helped raise more than $100K for your university’s dance marathon) which show hard measures.

Sometimes, you don’t have a specific number or percentage to call out. In that case, Santiesteban recommends the soft measure route. For example, at a summer internship you:

“Decreased customer complaint calls by 52% by creating FAQ document shipped with each product.”

Sounds like a brilliant resume, doesn’t it?

2. Give the Design a Second Look

How many times have you heard the words “personal branding” lately? A lot, we’d venture to guess. Sure, the phrase is most often associated with social media. But a brilliant resume can also be used to help illustrate your personality. This is especially true if you’re hoping to work in a creative field.

Chad Reid, communications director at JotForm, says, “The biggest, and most effective change I’ve implemented in my resume has been making my application visually appealing. I’m in marketing, so this tip really helps reinforce why I’m good for the jobs: I can differentiate myself.”

He’s not saying you should turn your job-hunting materials into works of art. He’s simply saying that small touches, like adding a secondary color or experimenting with a different font can help you stand out from the pack.

“Humans are visual creatures. They will remember a candidate who took the time to make their resume easy on the eyes,” Reid says. Need help determining whether or not a new design element is distracting or complimentary to your resume? Ask friends and mentors for their opinion. Or ask a contact from your network familiar with hiring.

3. Remove Your Address If You’re Applying Out-of-State

Most hiring managers know that college seniors are applying for jobs all over the country. Worried your resume might get skipped over because of your far-away contact information? Santiesteban suggests including only your phone number and email address. You can always include a future address if you know where you’ll be relocating. Since we’re moving toward leaving addresses off resumes in general, it’s never something you have to include.

4. Edit Your Skills to Match the Job

Of course, you want to tailor your resume to meet the specific requirements listed by a hiring manager. For each job you want to apply to, Santiesteban suggests creating a two-column chart.  One should include the job’s requirements and the other your qualifications for that job. Then, go back to your resume. Take a look. Then tweak your skills and experiences to include the qualifications that exactly match the job description.

If your resume includes a lot of skills and experiences not mentioned in the job posting, Santiesteban recommends removing them. You want to target your resume as closely as possible to that specific job posting.

5. Try to Identify an “In” With the Organization

Santiesteban’s final tip is gold. Before you send off your application, Santiesteban says to double-check your network (LinkedIn, etc.). If you have a connection to someone within the company, they may be willing to pass along your materials internally. Referrals constitute 6.9 percent of all applicants and 46 percent of all hires at top performing firms.

“Most organizations pay some sort of a referral bonus to employees when people they recommend are hired,” she says. “This is a huge advantage to both parties. The referring employee gets a bonus. And the applicant can almost always be sure their resume will be viewed by a real person.”

Use these five tips to give your resume that finishing touch it needs. Then take your resume from being an ordinary resume to a brilliant resume that hiring managers can’t ignore.


For this post, we’d like to thank our friends at Levo.





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