How To Have a Standout Resume

If you’re a job seeker, having a solid resume should not be understated. A resume is a snapshot of your experience, your education, and whether you qualify for the job you’re applying for. Consider it the very first impression you make on an employer or hiring manager. Consider further, the average time a hiring manager spends looking at a resume is between 5-7 seconds. In that time, one spelling mistake can determine whether you get a call for an interview or your resume goes straight into the trash bin – Yes that is all it takes.

Having a solid resume should not be understated. So what can you do to make sure your resume is not overlooked? Here are some simple tips and tricks to help you land on top of that resume stack.

1.       Do your research

As Bassam mentioned in his previous blog post, a few days worth of research can go a long way in helping young professionals find a career. Researching the company is, of course, very important, but carefully look over the job description and relevant skills. Does your experience and objectives align with what the employer/company is looking for? Also, carefully look for instructions like where or who to send your resume and in what format. Some companies will only accept resumes in .PDF format. Sending a resume in any other format may result in a hiring manager moving on to another candidate who bothered to read instructions. Research is key!

2.       Prepare a functional resume (or two)

With the research you’ve compiled, create a resume that speaks to the hiring manager. This doesn’t mean having a flashy resume with expensive card-stock. Although design is important, in most cases having everything simple and straight forward will grab and keep the attention of a hiring manager. Let your experience speak for itself!

Also, don’t be bound to one resume. A good tip is to have a general resume, but to tailor and customize each resume for each employer. A resume should not be one size fits all. Depending on the job, you may want to emphasize one skill over another. (Remember what I said about research?) You may prepare multiple resumes so remember to save and organize them accordingly.

3.       Emphasize on Career Ready Skills

Highlight your past projects especially projects that involved teamwork, collaboration, and applied hands-on learning. Companies want to hire individuals who are ready for the work environment. A hiring manager will not only be looking if you are capable of the tasks given in the job description, but also why you are qualified and how. So don’t forget results! Results are what matter so give a brief summary of the results of your experience by giving examples.

ex. Lead a team in the organization of a book selling initiative that resulted in $1100 profit for new school uniforms.

4.       Proficient vs. Certification

Being proficient is very different from being certified. If you are certified, you have a valid credential that makes you valuable in today’s job market. Certifications are recognized by all employers and set you apart so it is important to emphasize any certifications you may have. Recognized industry certifications like Microsoft Office Specialist or Microsoft Technical Associate means employ-ability for students. Here are some interesting stats:

  • 91% of Hiring Managers consider employee certifications as a criterion for hiring*
  • 79% of Hiring Managers feel that certified individuals are more efficient*
  • 50% of individuals believe obtaining a certification makes them more marketable**

Anyone can say they are proficient in a program – for example Microsoft Excel, but having a certification not only shows that you’ve taken the time to learn and master a specific program, but it also validates those skills with a recognized credential you are qualified to put on your resume. Talk about edge!

In all, resumes are important and taking time to work on your resume is invaluable. Once you’ve completed it, have someone look over it – for instance a teacher or mentor and ask for feedback. The more time you invest in your resume, chances are you will be on the phone scheduling that interview.

If you’re interested in standing out with industry recognized certifications like Microsoft Office Specialist or Microsoft Technical Associate or want to know more about how your students can benefit from certifications, check out the CCI Learning website or give us a call at 1-800-668-1669.

Also Read: 

* MCP Program Satisfaction Study 2010
** Intrepid Survey

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