Don’t: Sell yourself short
A resume should NOT be a running list of tasks you have completed. Instead, a successful resume highlights most relevant skill sets and accomplishments that illustrate a complete and successful portfolio in reply to the job post. Identify your skills through your education (classes, team projects, and research), experiences (internships, work), engagement (clubs, leadership roles, and volunteer and community service).
What makes you unique? Display your capability: Your resume is one part of your portfolio and professional brand. Do not shy away from adding your accomplishments on paper and do not limit yourself to just the resume. Create a personal website that highlights your work. Add the link to your resume in your contact information and any other professional communication methods. Include your website link in your email signature, and add the link to your LinkedIn account. Creating content and being active on LinkedIn are just a few avenues to add tangible value to your resume and highlighting your approach to the industry.
Do: Highlight Transferable Skills
Take note of transferable skills. Transferable skills are skills and abilities which can be applied to different jobs or industries. For example, if you worked in a restaurant, transferable skills include customer service, teamwork, sales, cash handling, and supervisory experience.
When transferring your skills, ensure each bullet point on your resume has a purpose. When writing a bullet point, ask yourself:
- Who do/did I work with? (team size, autonomously, direct report to supervisor)
- What were my tasks or accomplishments?
- How well did I complete the task?
- What was the result of my effort? (awards, increased sales by 20%)
- Does this bullet point demonstrate my skills and experience?
- Is this bullet point clear and concise?
Don’t: Go for Quantity over Quality
Would you rather:
- Apply to 50 companies and have one call you for an interview
- Apply to 4 companies and have one call for an interview
Option A requires a higher investment of your time. Your investment will go further in quality of application materials over quantity of postings.
Another way to think of it is from the company’s viewpoint. Companies receive high volumes of applications and messages from candidates with general resumes. Candidates often make the mistake of expecting the company to invest the time in finding the ways the candidate matches their position. However, typically, employers spend 6-7 seconds viewing a resume for the first time.
Do: Your Research
Do your research on the company and role you are applying for. Is the company in the news recently or working on a new initiative, or have they recently won an award? What is the team currently working on? Can you identify any points for improvement? Can you solve them? What value do you add to the team?
Starting your research of the company and role during the job search phase will enhance your overall job search experience and success. First, you will have a sense of the company’s culture, mission, vision and values. This will help you go from applying to anything that sounds good, to applying to jobs you are not only qualified for but make you excited for the future. Secondly, research will add focus to your resume and better engage the reader. Lastly, detailed research will demonstrate initative by allowing you to arrive to the interview equipped with insight and prepared to illustrate exactly why you are a good match for the company.
Remember, your first impression with the company starts during the application process, not on your first day!