How to Make Your Resume Stick Out With These 7 Tips
The job market always seems rough, even in the best of economies. With this in mind, you want to do everything possible to make your resume appealing to employers.
Here are some ways to make your resume stick out if you’re a college student or recent graduate trying to get a leg up on the competition.
Joining clubs to enhance your resume seems cliche at this point, but there’s a reason why.
Employers love to see college students join clubs for several reasons:
- Learn valuable “soft skills” in any club such as communication and leadership skills
- Build on academic knowledge in major-relevant clubs
- Displays drive
- Shows you’re a well-rounded person with diverse hobbies and interests – No one likes working with a bore, no matter the skill level
Now, simply showing up to a few meetings isn’t enough. Being able to join 50 clubs just to check a figurative box doesn’t say much about you other than you show up just to get by.
Instead, join only a few clubs that you’re passionate about. Ideally, at least one of these clubs will be relevant to your major. Joining a club in your major will help you apply your learning, which helps you grasp concepts from class and thus earn better grades.
You’ll also make friends and professional connections with other members as well as professional connections with guests the club brings in. Your club friends can also help you study for your classes, so your grades will increase even more alongside the learning experience from applying class concepts in the real world.
However, don’t limit yourself! Pursue your interests whether or not they’re within your major. If you’re an engineering major but have always had a thing for poetry, don’t be afraid to check out your school’s poetry club.
As we already said, employers may actually pick you over a less “well-rounded” candidate BECAUSE you did something beyond solving physics equations all day.
Join Student Government
Student government positions look amazing on resumes. Student government members take on leadership roles and learn how to work together with others of similar and opposing views to accomplish important tasks.
You might be thinking student government’s only good for political science students or students that want to work in government, but not so. Besides the skills you learn that can be applied to any field, student government has positions for many majors.
For example, landing a spot on the finance committee is a big boost to your resume. You could strive even higher for the treasurer position as well.
But if you think you’ve got it in you after a few semester, go for student body president. Every single employer on earth will be impressed.
Now, student government is a large time commitment, which can make balancing it with your classes and other activities difficult. However, that also shows employers your work ethic and time management skills, skills important in work and in other parts of life.
This one’s a bit touchy with the “party” reputation of Greek Life. However, fraternity or sorority membership bestows a lot of skills and experiences upon you.
First and foremost, communication skills. Whether you’re recruiting new members, interacting with members of other Greek organizations, or putting on charity events, you’ll come out an excellent communicator regardless of your skills beforehand.
Greek organizations provide members tons of volunteer opportunities, too, so you don’t have to go looking for them.
Of course, there’s the various chair and e-board positions you can run for within your organization to get involved further. Some of these positions involve corresponding with other organizations and organizing large charity events, both of which make employers excited to hire you.
But the best way Greek life makes your resume stick out isn’t anything you put on your resume… it’s the alumni network.
The moment you become a full member of your Greek organization, you have access to a huge network of alumni and upperclassmen who can recommend you for a position or get your resume in front of the right person.
This is a priceless advantage you’ll have over those who don’t join a Greek organization, especially if Greek Life is huge at your school.
It’s like they always say: it’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know.
Our world gets more connected as the days go by. Businesses are increasingly looking for students who have experience with other cultures and languages, making study abroad an appealing opportunity to enhance your career prospects.
It’s also fun. You do have to go to class, but you also get to immerse yourself in the local culture, pick up some of the language, and gain the priceless experience of surviving in a different country than your own.
As for money, seek out every possible funding opportunity you can find. However, if you just can’t study abroad without going broke, don’t do it. There’re plenty of cheaper ways to enhance your resume, and you can travel after graduation when you have more money if that’s what you want.
Start A Side Hustle
Some people are fearful of listing a side hustle on their resume. The sentiment makes sense: employees might be fearful of you jumping ship if you’re running a business on the side.
Believe it or not, side hustles actually make your resume stick out like a sore thumb (in the best way possible). Side hustles teach both hard and soft skills that can be carried over to your job, as well as displaying ambition and drive.
Not all employers like side hustles that are irrelevant to your field, though, because they might be worried of the side hustle distracting from your work duties. However, you can persuade employers by detailing instances where you could balance a job (or class load) with your side hustle.
If you try to hide your side hustle, they might be able to find it by searching the internet, so you may as well be honest and tell them about it anyways.
As a nice bonus, that side hustle could always turn into your full-time gig down the road.
If you’re a recent grad/young professional, just make sure to clear your side hustle with your employer. You don’t want any conflicts of interest occurring.
Volunteering is a fun and fulfilling way to make your resume stick out. It demonstrates passion, drive, productivity, and a willingness to give back to your community, all of which are quite attractive to employers.
There are volunteer opportunities for virtually every field of study. For example, accounting majors can volunteer for the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, a service that provides free tax prep for low-income taxpayers.
Or maybe you’re studying computer science. Plenty of nonprofits need your skills to serve people as best as possible, so they’ll be glad to have you.
Although you’d ideally volunteer in your field of study, but similar to college clubs, it can be anything you’re passionate about. Don’t let being an accounting major stop you from volunteering at an animal shelter if you’re passionate about animals!
Employers will be impressed by any volunteer experience, even when not relevant to your major as long as you’re passionate enough about it to stick around for a long time and accomplish meaningful volunteer work.
Both students and grads can enhance their resume through volunteering, so don’t count it out if you’ve graduated already!
Look no further for ways to make your resume stick out than taking on additional classes! No, not random general education classes, but classes that can teach you solid skills for your career.
A common way to do this is to double major or pick up a minor. For example, a marketing major might pick up a psychology double major. After all, understanding human psychology is critical to success in sales and marketing; put both together and you can pursue either field with ease.
That one’s fairly common, but your two majors/major-minor combo don’t have to be in adjacent fields. An example of this would be a business major and an art major. They don’t seem relevant, do they?
Oh, but they play off each other well. You could get into graphic design with your art skills, then use business skills to better understand your employer’s clients’ businesses.
You could even launch your own graphics design firm one day with both skillsets!
Many employers will immediately think more highly of someone with a double major if relevant. But you can sell any combination of majors in the interview if you can point to concrete skills you learned that’ll be useful in your position and helpful to the company.
You can even get away with a major that has seemingly no relevance to your field at all if you can demonstrate passion. Remember, companies are made of people, and people like working with other people, not robots. Physics and music double majors could be better than physics alone if you awe the employer with your passion for musical expression.
That being said, almost any major works well when combined with a foreign language. As we said earlier, being proficient in a foreign language opens up many doors with companies that do business worldwide.