For the class of 2019, college graduation is either right around the corner (as in, tomorrow) or it just passed. That means it’s time to enter “the real world” and find a job (for those not going to graduate school). And even though there’s still a ton of talk about the job market being a depressing landscape full of rejection, things are looking up. Employers plan to hire nearly 11% more graduates from the class of 2019 than they did last year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. That means one thing: it’s time to update your resume.
And even if you’re not a soon-to-be graduate, you never know when your dream job will come knocking, and it’s no secret that your resume will likely determine whether or not you land that first interview.
When creating or updating a resume, there’s a lot to consider. You need to capture your recent professional life in 3-4 succinct bullet points, show your value, and of course, master the art of the humble brag. Your resume should demonstrate strengths specific to your role—if you are applying for a creative role, showcase your creativity. If you are applying for a technical role, highlight your experience with data. I’ve reviewed countless resumes throughout my time with Microsoft developing Resume Assistant with LinkedIn, and I always find that the strength of a candidate starts with the strength of their resume.
So, you build a strong resume. Easier said than done, right? It doesn’t have to be. With the right tips and the best tools, you’ll be perfecting your resume faster than your Uber Eats order on a Sunday night.
1. Know What Employers Are Looking For
At the beginning of your job search, read the job posting thoroughly and start to insert language into your resume that reflects the roles that interest you. You can easily find job postings while you’re building your resume by using Resume Assistant in Microsoft Word. Resume Assistant shows you examples of how real people, in the jobs you want, describe their experience and skills. If the descriptions of your experience match the role, you’re more likely to be selected.
2. Identify What Makes You Stand Out
You’ve found a role you want to apply for. Before you dig into your resume, ask yourself what sets you apart. A common mistake is to approach a job application considering what this job can do for you. When building your resume, it is important to ask yourself, “What can I do for this company?” What is your value, and why should the hiring manager select you? Look back at your recent roles and responsibilities and showcase experiences where you brought your A-game to a task and delivered results. Identifying where you bring value will help you sell yourself.
3. Use Strong Action Verbs
The best resumes use strong action verbs to showcase your previous responsibilities. The easiest way to transform your resume is to update each sentence with verbs that paint a picture for the reader. Did you make a plan, or did you develop it? Did you write a press release, or did you craft it? Word choice matters.
4. Call Out Your Skills
Make sure your resume has a Skills section identifying your strengths, and make sure they match those in the job description. If you’re not sure how to do that, Resume Assistant shows top skills for related roles in your field, according to LinkedIn. Filter work experience examples by your skills to get inspired by how others mention those skills on their public LinkedIn profiles.
5. Be Concise
It’s easy to use more words than needed. Cut filler words to make your talent shine. The easier your resume is to read, the more likely it will be read in full.
Apply these tips next time you revamp your resume, and you’ll be setting yourself up for success. And remember, you never know when the right job opportunity will come along, so best to keep your resume current at all times.
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