Scoring a job or internship is no easy feat. Not only do you have to do your absolute best to prepare your resume, cover letter and interview answers, but you also know you’re up against hundreds or thousands of other students who are just as qualified for the job as you are. Maybe they don’t have your impeccable taste in interview outfits, but apparently employers won’t hire you just for your shoes. Bummer.
If there’s one thing that can undoubtedly make you stand out against other candidates, it’s your resume. Luckily for any collegiette looking to land the job rather than get lost in the shuffle, we talked to a few experts to find out what your resume needs to catch an employer’s eye.
If the only digits on your resume are dates and your phone number, your resume could use an upgrade. According to the experts, the number one thing that college students are missing on their resumes is numbers that show the impact of what you’ve done.
Emily Miethner is the founder and CEO of FindSpark, a community of career advice for young creatives. According to Miethner, adding numbers to your resume helps employers see specifically what you’ve done. “For example, if you’re an editorial intern on a media site, of course you helped create social media content and edit articles,” she says. “Tell me that you wrote 20 articles a month or that you helped increase the website’s traffic or Twitter following by X percent.”
Meryl Weinsaft Cooper, co-founder of Allen/Cooper Enterprises and author, agrees that measurable results make a big difference on a resume. “For example, if you ran the social media committee for your sorority and increased the organization’s Twitter followers a significant percentage, call that out on your resume,” she says. “It will demonstrate that you are effective and able to garner results.”
If everyone else’s resumes say, “wrote social media content” but yours says, “wrote 50+ tweets for the company account,” it could easily make the difference in whether or not that employer wants you to run his or her company’s Twitter account.
2. Experience relevant to the specific position you’re applying for
Let’s be real: It’s way easier to have one really great and perfected resume that you want to submit to every employer. However, our experts say that you should be tweaking it based on the job you’re applying for so that your resume matches up nicely with what they’re looking for.
Adrian Granzella Larssen, editor-in-chief of The Daily Muse, a career advice website, says you need to make it clear to the hiring manager why you are perfect for the job. “That means going through the job or internship description, highlighting what the hiring manager is looking for most, and making sure those experiences and skills come through loud and clear in your resume,” she says.
If you’re applying for an internship or job for which you don’t have much relevant experience, don’t worry. Lori Fradkin, executive features editor for Cosmopolitan.com, says employers are understanding of the fact that collegiettes aren’t up to their eyes in job experience. “I don’t expect people to come out of college with tons of professional work, but I do want to see that you have some experience in doing what you want to do,” she says. “Whether it’s through a job or an extracurricular activity—point out the things you’ve done and how you can use them to contribute [to the company].”
3. Projects you’ve led
If your resume doesn’t tell employers that you planned a sorority date event from start to finish or that you were in charge of your intern project last summer. Including projects you’ve led on your resume can tell employers more about you than anything else on the paper. For one, it shows that you’re willing to take charge. “I really look for interns who take initiative and can take projects and run with them,” Larssen says. “I love seeing examples of that on a resume.”
Career expert Vicki Salemi says collegiettes should focus on the specifics of projects they led and why they were important.
“Maybe you studied abroad and during your internship, took the lead on a special project,” she says. “You need to stand out, and one way to have your resume pop is to include specific experiences that aren't typical. Sure, study abroad is incredibly popular, but it's how you spent your time abroad and what you brought back to the U.S. that recruiters want to see. This is what makes you shine!”
4. A link to your website
Got a Tumblr with years of your graphic design work on it? A Wordpress blog where you’ve been collecting press releases you’ve written? Add the link to your resume! “Links to your blog, personal website or (at the very least) LinkedIn profile [are great],” Larssen says. “I've been in many interviews where students tell me about their blog or website—and I'm always shocked that it wasn't on their resume! That's a great way to help a hiring manager learn more about you and to stand out among other candidates.”
Personal websites like blogs are fantastic for showing off creativity and style, but just be sure that your online presence is clean. “Don’t include any website or social media profile that you don’t want employers to see,” Cooper says. “My co-author once interviewed a candidate who had a YouTube channel listed on his resume with some NSFW content on it. Needless to say, he didn’t get the job!”
If your Tumblr also links to your Facebook—where your friend tagged you in that picture of the time you thought it would be fun to dance on the bar—make sure your hiring manager doesn’t stumble upon that.
Going the extra mile could easily make the difference between whether or not you score the job, so make sure you’re keeping these four things in mind when you write your resume!