Standing Out in a Crowd of Resume

I recently found my resume from 2016, when I was graduating from UW and searching for my first “big girl job”. After 2 years of recruiting and learning how to coach people on their resumes, I cringed looking at my past mistakes. The different fonts, the lack of detail, and why did I decide to highlight my name in Red?? Thankfully I didn’t commit the biggest faux pas, putting my picture on my resume.

While my resume was horrendous then, I have since learned how to help others from making the same mistake. These are my top 3 things to focus on when to create a resume that will sparkle!

Have a clear message

Recruiters spend an average of 7 seconds looking at resumes. Does your resume tell your story in that time? Understand what makes you unique, what your accomplishments are, and how they apply to the job you’re interested in and then make sure it shows. 

Customize: Tailor the document for each position you apply for by highlighting your qualifications and expertise that match the specific job requirements. Employers often use screening software that scans documents for particular keywords, so follow the job listing’s lead on phrasing.

Highlight your education: UW students are privy to some of the best education out there, highlight all the amazing projects and relevant classes you took! Feel free to include school and personal projects here. I want to see how you’ve applied your education and why you think they are relevant to the job you want! Another plus to expanding your education section is the network of UW alums in Seattle. There are so many UW alums in charge of hiring that will be excited to see your education and what you’ve done there. Leverage your network! 

Show your personality: What’s the easiest way to make sure your personality comes through? Talk about it. Highlight your organizational skills your ability to collaborate, or your love of problem-solving.

Focus on the Quality of your Content

Include relevant experience: In retrospect, I didn’t need to list my college Barista experience, even if I could make great latte art. It simply wasn’t related to the career I was looking for. Your resume is not just your work history, it’s telling the story of what you’ve done and your potential for the future. While I’m still extremely proud of my latte Rosetta it wasn’t an indicator of my potential non-caffeine related contributions to employers.

Get detailed: You need to be very specific with any internships, jobs, or projects you are including. Experience shouldn’t read like a job description, it should read like a list of accomplishments backed up by data and metrics. Give tangible examples of how the projects you worked on affected the company’s bottom line. Did they increase sales, broaden the customer base or reach target markets? Did you receive more responsibility in your company after proving yourself in your current job?

Brag: It’s okay to brag. You’re awesome, why shouldn’t flaunt your achievements?.  Just make sure you’re being honest.

Keep it Easy on the Eyes

Don’t make my mistake. Keep formatting simple! You want recruiters to be able to quickly pick out the main points. Impress them with your experience, not your WordArt.

Be Consistent: If you start with Times New Roman, finish with Times New Roman. If you bold your titles, bold all your titles. If you put dates on your jobs, decide if you want numbers or written out words. Keep it consistent, and don’t use Comic Sans.

Proofread: Typos are the worst. Proofread 5 times, and then send it to your roommates, friends, parents, and career center to point out the glaring grammar mistakes you made and didn’t notice.

A resume can be your entryway into a dream role. Make sure it pops!

For any other resume and job search related questions, visit the Career & Internship Center in Mary Gates Hall or consider tapping a resource like Brooksource.

By Tashajara Stenvall
Tashajara Stenvall Technical Recruiter