Looking for a job during a global pandemic — along with a million other unemployed Americans — is a daunting task. In today’s ambivalent job market, it’s critical to send out a resume that highlights your talents in under a minute for recruiters. The following strategies will help you craft a resume that generates a first impression worthy of an interview.
1. Get creative with the design.
Before a recruiter reads a single line of your resume, the first thing they will take in is its appearance. There’s nothing wrong with rows of bullet points, but it risks blending in with resumes that have a similar design.
To stand out among the page, use these strategies:
- Divide your page into sections: Create separated sections that highlight different areas of your resume. Breaking up your resume will attract the eye, as well as visually summarize your skills.
- Make statements with pictures: Adding graphs, charts, and small icons will tell a recruiter more about you in a few seconds than five bullet points. Horizontal bar graphs indicating soft skill proficiencies and small pictures of a graduation cap or mobile phone will signify what information is located where. As they say, a picture says a thousand words.
2. Be specific.
Each point of your resume should tell a story of what you accomplished and how. Prioritize results over method, sharing exactly how you contributed and what your impact was.
Below are two examples of specific and impactful bullet points:
- “Identified, synthesized, and presented a variety of local, regional, and national public policy issues in weekly papers for New York City lawmakers.”
- “Introduced agile framework to non-project work across three managerial teams to improve task visibility, track velocity, and identify impediments.”
3. Integrate numbers.
Back up your qualitative stories with hard evidence. It’s always helpful to use numbers whenever possible because it’s the best way to support the talents you mention.
Below are two examples of how you can use numbers in your resume:
- “Accepted leadership positions for three on-campus activities, including for a writing tutor work-study, while maintaining a 4.0 in five senior classes.”
- “Researched previous company projects to write nearly 100 project summaries for the corporate website, conducted and translated 12 interviews into employee spotlight articles, and edited co-worker project proposals within 12 weeks.”
4. Share your COVID-19 hobbies.
There’s no better way to stand out among other applications than by highlighting your hobbies. How did you use the extra time everyone had during the stay at home orders? This is not only an opportunity to share something fun and unique, but it’s also a chance to exhibit a new side project or productive hobby.
Below are a few examples:
- If you took a class or two, highlight your love of learning. “Lifelong learner, completing 10 writing classes and 10 assessments while juggling daily responsibilities amidst a global pandemic.”
- Did you have a hoard of kids running around, and need to adjust your typical parenting routine? Try, “Assumed the role of activities director for four children, creating 34 different activities across three months while working remotely as a full-time business analyst.”
- Even if all you did was watch Netflix, there’s an opportunity to inject some humor into your resume. “Self-taught film critic after analyzing over 70% of movies and TV shows available on Netflix between the months of March and July of 2020.”
5. Highlight your remote skills
In the middle of the post-pandemic economy, it’s critical to emphasize your ability to work remotely and communicate. Demonstrate how your skills and experience will contribute to the stability and success of a company in these uncertain times.
For example, you might write:
- “Coordinated meetings between developers, business SMEs, and testers across six time zones to facilitate report software migration efforts.”
- “Introduced the tool Jira to two teams of ten, increasing manager visibility into previously untracked work efforts to improve resource management.”
- This one is for a summary statement: “Lifelong learner dedicated to servant leadership, and skilled at adapting to unfamiliar lines of business, succeeding as an English major in both the engineering and software development fields.”
Job hunting is often stressful, especially when the economy is struggling. It’s still very possible to find a job though. Use these five tips to make your resume stand out — you never know what will catch the eye of a recruiter!