Resumes are a passion of mine. Yes, I understand that sounds a little bit (or a lot) nerdy, but when I was job hunting, nothing brought me more joy than crafting the perfect resume to send to a future employer. Even now, I am the go-to resume editor for at least half of my friends. Profile statements, cover letters, the challenge of getting everything to fit on a single page, that’s the good stuff, y’all.
Obsessive? Maybe a tad. But, here’s the truth behind any great resume – it’s your brand. We all have a brand. Whether you’re a small start up, a young professional fresh out of college, or an aspiring fashion blogger trying to beef up your Instagram following, the content you put into the world is your brand. So, when you think about your resume, it should be a summary of you. Too many people make the mistake of thinking a resume is just about your work experience. They struggle to fit every. single. detail. of their job history into the smallest font and a squishy format to shout to an employer, “LOOK AT WHAT I’VE DONE, HIRE ME!”
No, no, no.
A resume is a snapshot of everything about you: your work history, your education, your passions, your hobbies, your brand. It should have a personality and be unique! If you want to stand out in any job interview, here are my top 5 resume boosters
1. Creative Design
One of my best friends is currently applying for jobs in the fashion industry. Another one of my closest friends is a nurse. And yet, they went to the same college and received the same education about “how to properly format a resume”. So, let’s crack open myth number 1 – resumes for different industries should never look the same! The design of your resume is a chance to add some personality. Don’t be afraid of a little color (unless you’re applying for a very old school, traditional industry like medicine or accounting). There are thousands of free resume templates online. Find one that embodies your style, and go with it!
2. Authentic Profile Statement
This is probably one of the hardest parts of writing a resume. At the top of the page, or somewhere very prominent, you need a short, 1-2 sentence description of yourself. It should be written in third person, so that someone can clearly read it about you. When I write profile statements for myself or others, I try to think of 2-3 adjectives that describe them, and 1-2 passions that are interesting. I try to stay away from easy buzz words like “hard working” and “organized”. Yawn. Here are some examples:
- Short & sweet: Culture driven, budding workaholic, who pairs passion with purpose.
- More detailed & personal: Erin is a health focused millennial, who is eager to contribute to a company that enhances brands and serves people. She is passionate about positivity, food blogs, and Instagram captions, and is always looking for space to innovate and grow.
3. Clean Layout
One of my pet peeves is when people don’t show off in their own resume! You’re not doing anyone any favors by deciding to be humble when you’re trying to advertise yourself. So, let’s talk about layout. Regardless of the design you choose, this is the golden rule: put your best accomplishments up at the top. Businesses these days love to see projects that you’ve worked on. It shows creativity, an ability to collaborate, and unique work experience. Projects should be the things that you want a future employer to ask about in the interview, so don’t make it difficult to find! Secondly, your resume should also flow chronologically through your work experience, starting with your most recent positions and filtering through past years.
4. Job Content: Be Picky
Hear me out: you do not have to put every job you’ve ever done on your resume. In fact, most resume gurus will encourage you to change your resume and have multiple drafts, depending on the job you’re going for. This allows your resume to be concise, and you can really tailor your content to be applicable to that specific position. Be smart, be picky, and cut when necessary.
5. Something Extra
Lastly, include an extra detail. Maybe it’s a small picture of you in the top corner. Maybe it’s a quote or Bible verse at the bottom. I always included a link to my personal blog, which contained another copy of my resume and posts that could show a company my passions in a very real way. Don’t stress about this part, have some fun with it! Use an extra detail to show a little bit more of the person behind the paper. Companies want to invest in you, after all, so give them a little window into the person you are, and be confident in your value as a potential asset to their company! Go after it.