10 Feb Hire Me!
We are very pleased to publish this guest post from Marisa Linton. Marisa grew up showing and raising livestock, and currently lives on her family’s small farm in Mount Olive, NC. She has a passion for agriculture, and is an agricultural blogger, communication consultant, and photographer.
Building a Resume that Screams Hire Me without Actually Saying Hire Me
Resume–a sheet of paper that explains how awesome you are, what you have done in your life, and is ultimately a beacon that says “hire me!” Simple enough, right? When it comes to writing your resume, all of a sudden, that 20-page class paper seems easier than a one page piece of paper that your future rides on. Simple may not be the right word…tough is more like it.
Good news, though. Building your resume doesn’t have to be hard. It can be simple, if you follow a few rules. Not only will it make the whole ordeal simpler, it will also make your resume stand out in a stack of other hopeful applicants.
There are a thousand ways to do a resume; however, there are some key elements that all resumes should consist of.
Name and contact information: Your name should be bold and easily seen at the top of the page. Directly underneath your name, should be contact information, including address, phone number, and email. Keeping this information visible, allows an employer to more easily contact you.
Objective/profile: This is a chance to briefly explain what you are looking for. A broad objective is appropriate, but tailoring it to a specific position shows potential employers that time was taken to personalize. An objective or profile is an optional part to a resume, but it does add a nice touch. If included in a resume, it should always be at the very beginning.
Education: Your highest degree should be featured first, highlighting the degree, institution, graduation (or expected graduation) date, and any graduating honors. Education can be put at the beginning of the resume or at the end. It depends on the job or internship you are applying for and personal preference.
Work experience: Probably, the most important section on the resume, your work experience can make or break you. Don’t have a lot of work experience? That’s OK, because often times, it is all about presentation.
To the left, record the time frame of your work experience. Be sure to put experience in chronological order. This allows potential employers to see how extensive and recent your experience has been. The position you held should be in bold, while the employer should not. Always give a description of what you did and learned during your time in that position. Be thorough, but also succinct.
Honors/activities: While it may feel like bragging, it is important to include any awards or honors you have received. You were awarded that honor for a reason, and potential employers will be impressed with your accomplishments. It is also a good idea to highlight any activities you were involved in. Not only does this show constructive free time, but it also shows that you are well-rounded.
Service: A recent study by LinkedIn showed that 41% of professionals felt that volunteer work was just as important as paid work experience, and yet, the majority of resumes leave volunteer work out. Don’t make this mistake, and include your hours and causes.
Other parts: Optional sections can include a list of skills (e.g. proficient in Microsoft), leadership positions held, relevant course work, certifications, and references.
Building your resume is much like building a house. It needs to fit your needs and the neighborhood (i.e. the job). Tailor resumes to fit the position and optimize how well you meet the needs of the position.
Making an Impact
Resumes should ONLY BE ONE PAGE. Yes, you have to fit all your life onto one 8X11 sheet of paper. If a professional is sifting through dozens of applicants, hes probably only want to look at one page or less. Studies have shown that, on average, recruiters only spend 6.25 seconds on a resume. Making an impact is crucial. So, edit that resume, and then edit some more. Whittle it down until it is one page of the most important and impactful information. This can be achieved through power words. There are certain words that will grab attention and leave a lasting impression. Try to work these words into your descriptions of positions, objectives, service, leadership, skills, and other areas. Here is an example:
Organized a fundraiser for the school club.
In this sentence, organize is a great power word, but that is about it. Adding a few more power words can really make this sentence stand out.
Led a team of 5 in organizing a fundraiser that raised 50% more money than the previous year.
In the second example, there is not only more information, but there are more power words (underlined). For more power words, visit this link. Words that should be avoided include, self-motivated, think outside the box, team player, hard worker, and detail-oriented (find the full list here)
One Page Tips
Still having problems getting all your awesome experience and qualifications on one page? Consider these tips:
- Reduce margin size. It is alright to go less than one inch. Just make sure it is printer friendly.
- Play with formatting. Sometimes, you can get all the information on a page by just shifting things around.
- Edit once more. Run through the resume with a fine-tooth comb. If it is trivial information, then take it out. If you can say it with less words and the same impact, then do so.
Final Resume Tricks
There are a few more things to consider when making that perfect resume.
- Spell check! Nothing says unprofessional quite like misspellings, typos, and poorly placed commas.
- Quality paper is a must. If you are providing a hard copy of your resume, then you should use a nicer paper than what is in your printer. Try special resume paper or just cardstock.
- Stand out with color. Adding color to your resume can often add a punch and make you stand out in a pile of black and white. Don’t go crazy with it. Tasteful is the word to keep in mind. The best colors to use are blue, red, and orange according to color psychology.
Fitting your life on a piece of paper and trusting it to snag you a job or internship can be scary, but with the right ingredients, you can stand out, leave an impression, and have confidence in your resume.
Marisa Linton is about to graduate NC State University with a Master’s of Science in Communication with a concentration in agriculture. For more from Marisa, stay tuned for future blog posts here on AgGrad, or visit her blog.