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The time has finally come. Soon-to-be graduates are applying for jobs in the real world. This process can be highly overwhelming, scrolling through LinkedIn and Indeed thinking how unrealistic it might be to be picked for your dream position. Well, I’ve got news for you: Your dream can become your reality if your resume follows this guide. 

Hiring managers don’t have a ton of time to thoroughly look through each resume submitted for the job position, which means you have to be strategic in what you include. Deciding between fonts or including that one extra internship can make the difference.

A resume is a quick glimpse into your story. Follow these tips to make sure you tell your story well.

Write an objective statement

This can just be a few sentences at the top of your resume that can provide substance, describing your goals and thought process behind wanting to apply for this industry and job. These few sentences can fill in a lot of gaps in your resume by showing the decision-making and inspiration behind your move. As you’re writing it, think of what you’re trying to accomplish and what you can bring to the table.

Customize your resume for your specific industry

A lot of candidates might want their resume to be as creative as possible to make it stand out—with an eye-catching layout, a variety of colors and fonts; however, if you’re not applying for a creative industry, this is not the best strategy. All the personality put into your resume design is not going to have you stand out in a positive way unless your industry is appropriate for it. For finance and marketing roles, hiring managers want to see numbers; for designer roles, be as creative as can be.

Include keywords from the job posting

One of the top ways to make your resume stand out for a specific job posting is to use their description as a “guide.” Resumes that use specific words that are used in the job description are more likely to get attention when looked over. In other words, make sure you revamp your resume accordingly for each job applied to. A lot of different jobs in the same industry might have similar or the same keywords, so it’s not going to be as tedious as it sounds. In the case that a company does keyword searches when sorting through resumes, it will be worth it.

Be concise and clean

You have to think about the other end of applying for a job, and that is the company going through resumes. It can be overwhelming and take time depending on the number of applicants. This is why you want to make sure your resume is clean and can look good across all platforms. Small things such as format, font and hyperlinking websites or profiles can make the world of a difference to your resume visually. Stick to a consistent and clean font, bold titles and a basic color palette, unless you’re in design, of course.

Don’t be discouraged by the job description

The job description found on LinkedIn or Indeed is written for the “perfect candidate.” You don’t have to fit every single bullet point. These descriptions are also used so you can determine if you’re the right fit for the role. If you don’t fit any of the criteria, you might want to keep searching, but even with a few missing here and there, you’re still in a good place.

Reach out to your network and peers

The people you are connected with can not only help your resume stand out but can also essentially help you get a position if you know the right people. What I did was connect with people I knew who are older than me and in a similar industry to help me build a portfolio website and look over what I should include in my resume. You can never get too much advice when it comes to a resume.

Hayley Veltri is a Senior at the University of Florida and is a journalism major with an event management minor. She has a desire to work in the magazine industry and/or social media.
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