Calling all college students and interns! Are you stuck in a rut because you are having a hard time putting together your resume?

There are so many great jobs out there, but the competition can be stiff! On top of that, the average recruiter spends less than 10 seconds looking at a resume! I know, right?

So, if you want your resume to get noticed, if you want it to get past the recruiting gatekeeper, it needs to POP and stand out from the crowd!

Breaking free of how you’re “supposed to” write a resume.

Here are a few ideas on how to freshen your resume. Keep in mind, though, if you ask 10 recruiters for their top resume tips, you’ll probably get 10 different answers.

Resume-writing and reviewing is subjective, but these are a few tips that would be supported by most recruiters:

  • Keep it simple, clean, and organized. Stay away from frilly fonts, pictures, and anything you think looks “fun” and “different. Trust me, the “fun and different” resumes are going straight to the bottom of the stack; the only time I would support going outside of the standard box would be if you are applying to a creative role—but even then, err on the simple side of things.
  • Each position you apply for should have a different resume (the extra work is well worth it!)
  • Make sure your contact information is easy to read!
  • Use strong action words to describe your experience/accomplishments (like “Managed”, “Successfully…”, “Orchestrated”, “Delivered”, etc)
  • Use bullet points from your own experience/accomplishments that align with the job description and use specific accomplishments. If you are looking to be a sales rep, I don’t want to read about your experience as a librarian; I want to see numbers and targets you hit when you sold stuff!
  • Organize the categories on your resume according the position and your experience/education. This means that if you just graduated from college, list your degree on top. If you graduated 10+ years ago and the job you are applying for requires technical skills that you have, list your technical skills at the top.

Make sense?

Unless you’re applying for a senior role, keep your resume to one page. I can see you shaking your heads “no,” but you really can. No, really. You can. So many people have showed me their resume and said there was no way they could shorten it, but in five minutes I was able to chop them down for a one page fit. The key is to only have 3 bullets per job, only list relevant jobs, and don’t go back too far in your work history.

Some companies use apps and programs to scan resumes for relevant words, and a lot and can usually only scan certain fonts, so stick with a standard font like Times New Roman or Arial. No “Curlz” or “Comic Sans,” please.

  • If you’re not sure of a layout style, do a quick resume search online. There are thousands out there; pick one that you think is easy to follow.
  • Mention your previous job titles and internships first and then the companies where you worked, not vice-versa.
  • The bullet points from your work experience should be almost identical to the job description, but showing your specific accomplishments.
  • Don’t list personal information like date of birth, single/married, or family information. It’s not that we don’t care, but yeah. For this, it doesn’t matter.
  • Don’t use an objective statement. I know you are interested in the job because you are applying for it!

If you have large gaps in your employment history, or you have done some job-hopping, write a brief note to explain why. We all understand that sometimes, life happens—companies close, you relocated, there was an illness. You know, LIFE. But let us know! Otherwise, and this is the truth, we’ll probably assume you were just hanging out and wasting your time.

Keep things simple, keep things straightforward, and, soon enough, you’ll be keeping things straight at a new job!