Your resume can make a lasting first impression on a potential employer, and you want that impression to be positive, preferably ending with a jubilant declaration of, “You’re hired!” We live in a world where first impressions are more impactful than ever before. Consider social media and dating profile pictures. How many of you simply swipe to the left because you aren’t impressed with the messy bedroom in the background or the cropped ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend or the one-dimensional “all I do is shop or hunt or fish” pic? We are conditioned to make at-a-glance assessments about potential mates. Similarly, employers are now conditioned to make a quick assessment of your resume.
Have you looked at your resume lately? Below are a few simple steps that could help you make a great first impression!
Scan your resume for both work experience (e.g., paid employment) and relevant life experience (e.g., internships, study abroad, club leadership, etc.; See Exhibit 1). A resume should be more than just a list of places that you have worked. Your resume should include the skills you have accumulated that will show potential employers you are dedicated, pursue leadership opportunities, have a strong work ethic, are loyal, have quality communication skills and the kinds of people skills more and more employers are seeking. You may have relevant volunteer, entrepreneurial, organizational or community-based experiences that highlight those abilities as well as – if not better than – the work experiences you have listed. Adding a section of your resume that includes your relevant life experiences can highlight your hire-ability.
EXHIBIT 1: Examples of Relevant Life Experience
Fold your resume in half. Are your best qualities and most relevant skills listed toward the top so they are immediately visible? The average employer recruiter will only spend 7.4 seconds reviewing your resume. You want to be sure that what you have ‘above the fold’ showcases the most applicable skills and information. Above the fold, most resumes will include your name, available phone number, professional email address, statement of purpose, interest, or personal brand, plus recent job-related technical and/or people skills.
Do you have so much listed that your resume has gone past two pages? That’s okay. While traditionalists may tell you that a resume must stay on one page, it is common today that resumes will roll on to a second page. This is especially true if you have added your relevant career-related skills and also moved your information around so that the most aligned job material is above the fold. Be cautious not to list every single activity you’ve engaged in. You want to create a resume that is clearly aligned to the job you are seeking.
Do your research. Review the job description that is posted. Go to the company’s website and review their additional job postings, mission, vision, values, etc. You want to be familiar with the culture and expectations so that not only will your resume align to the job but so will you! You can create career-specific resumes by developing a master template. Use your master template to keep track of all your work experience, relevant skills, dates, possible professional references, and personal brand statements. When you are creating a resume for a specific job, you can tailor your resume by using different items from your master template that most closely represent the company you are interested in.
As humans, our brains our wired to look for what is wrong, it is a mechanism that has helped to keep us safe from danger for eons. You want a potential employer to see everything that is right about you and your resume is what will make that first impression. Your strong career readiness skills transfer on your resume the same way that your polished profile pic helps get that first date. At Ultimate Medical Academy we know that your preparation through education and career readiness are the heart of our healthcare future.