Fresh Out of College? Top 10 Resume Writing Hacks to Help You Land an InterviewOctober 24, 2013 by William Frierson
So you’ve just got out of college and you have a nice new shiny diploma with a neat little emblem on it. Now, it’s time to get a job and one of the first things you need to tackle is your resume. This article is going to give you both hacks and perspective to get your foot in the door.
Now, because there are a million and one different majors and specializations out there, this article is engineered to speak in general terms that are applicable to most everyone.
- Hack #1: Realize the Modern Workforce Is Changing
Roughly 60% of companies polled say they plan to do more hiring online. The global workforce is going digital. The speed of technological innovation would blow your mind. Social media is now a part of the interview process. The freelance lifestyle is becoming the norm for many of the folks working for the major tech companies. Don’t think that some rustic old school resume is going to go too far. The times have changed.
- Hack #2: If You’re Not a Resume Writer – Outsource!
If you do not know how to write a top notch resume, then simply create a free agency profile on the one of the freelance platforms like oDesk or Elance and hire a resume writer. Yeah, it’s that easy and these people make a living writing resumes for people just like you. And, you can choose ones that specialize in your field perhaps, or a contractor with extensive positive reviews.
The cost will be anywhere between $25 all the way up to $100 or so if you’re going into a highly technical field. Regardless, what you get is professional and ready to go. You simply give the writer all the info they need and within a week you have a valuable tool.
- Hack #3: Think in an Inbound Fashion – What’s In It for Them?
Focus on the benefits. Yes, the resume is about you, but it should be tailored around what you can and will do for the company. Sell the dream with you in it, not the dry specs to your education and work experience. Always make everything relevant and tied back to their objectives and company goals/mission.
- Hack #4: Contemporary Resume SEO – Keywording
If you’re applying to big companies then your resume will likely be submitted online. It then will be looked at by algorithms and sorted according to signals, triggers or keywords in your resume. Now, there’s no need to keyword stuff, but make sure that you’re optimizing your resume for specifics. Don’t submit a Hail Mary. The more niche and focused your resume is, or optimized around keywords and job titles, the better.
- Hack #5: Polishing Your Writing Is Critical for DIY
If you decide you’re an expert resume writer, then you need to make sure that it’s highly polished. But, make sure that your personality is in there as well. If the resume is actually read by a human being personality, it will go a long way. Everything needs to be spelled correctly and read fluidly as well. Optimize for algorithms but write for human beings.
- Hack #6: A Resume-Based Sales Funnel
Start with the most critical and relevant information first. Get straight to the core benefits of hiring you and then prioritize like you would a sales funnel. Ideally you grab their attention, bring them through the resume (which should only be a page long, two at most) with ease and then get them to take action: CONTACT ME.
- Hack #7: Personalize Each Resume for Each Potential Employer
Never, ever send out generic shotgun blast resumes. It’s tempting but a big waste of time. Instead do your homework on the company and send them an ultra-personalized writing. You’re after quality not quantity these days. Who would you be of the most service to? Who has customers that are ideal for you to work with? Who has a mission statement that you completely and passionately agree with? Personalize.
- Hack #8: Speak in Active-Present Tense
Make sure that the voice isn’t monotone or cryptic. Part of being personable in your resume is writing with an active voice, rather than in the past tense. Be present. Again, sell the vision of their company with you as a part of the team. Stick to the point and always remain relevant to their needs, but use verbiage that moves.
- Hack #9: Formatting is Half the Battle
Formatting is incredibly important because it’s the main ingredient in what shapes the first impression. A human being should marvel at the formatting without it looking like you’re trying to make up for something. Formatting your writing is about making the resume easy to scan and extract specific information.
Clearly marked subtitles and subsections with numbered and bullet-point lists go a long ways. Don’t present the reader with blocks of text and instead format with an advertorial sense.
- Hack #10: Create a Copy for Email
Be armed and ready with a copy formatted specifically for emails. This is a huge pro-tip that tons of people miss out on. They bump into so-and-so who asks them to shoot off an email with their resume but they send an attachment instead…
It typically ends up in the spam folder. Make it so that the body of the email is a well-formatted email version of your resume that people can forward and pass along with ease!
Leslie Anglesey is a writing geek and an educator at the University of Southern California. She works as an editor at Essay Tigers. You can contact her via email les.anglesey (at) gmail (dot) com.
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