Think of your resume as an advertisement from a major magazine. What does it say about you? Why are you valuable? What can you bring to the table? In my years working in human resources, I have seen thousands of resumes, some good, some that needed work, and some that were completely off the wall.
In today's economy, the job market has become more competitive than ever. Just because you have a college degree from XYZ University DOES NOT mean you are entitled to a job. It is time for you to advertise why you are the best person for the job, and how you will bring value to the company you wish to work for.
When putting your resume together, ensure that you have a neat, organized, and easy to read format. Most word processors and the internet have sample templates for resumes. Make sure you have a font that is easy to read, and include the experience that is applicable to the job description. Also, include your education, certificates, and awards. If you graduated from college, DO NOT include where you graduated from high school, it takes up room and it is unnecessary if you completed an undergraduate program.
Make It Action Packed
In your bullet points, underneath each position you have held, make your resume eye catching by having each bullet start with an action word. Example resume action words: reconciled, provided, projected, analyzed, oriented, developed, and created.
Do Not Undermine Your Experience
I remember speaking to someone over a year ago that was applying for a position with a marketing firm and said that they would not be considered, because they did not have experience. I looked at this person's resume, and saw that they had years of retail and restaurant experience. I said to the person that they have used marketing techniques their whole career so far. In retail, if there is a new product coming out, you help spread the word by in store promotions. In the food industry, employees are advertising new product and up selling. Never sell yourself short. You will be surprised how many jobs can relate to the career of your dreams.
Cover letters are not always necessary, but I like them because they allow you to expand on accomplishments that would not fit on your resume. I think of cover letters as a preface to an epic novel, it allows you to display your knowledge about what you know about the company and why you would be a great fit.
No Pictures Please
This is a HR nightmare... do not, and I mean DO NOT add a picture at the corner of your resume. I know what you were thinking when you were adding it, "If this company can see how great I look, they will want to bring me in for an interview." Normally, recruiters will put these resumes to the side, because if the candidate goes through the interview process and does not get the job, the candidate can say it was due to discrimination for XYZ reason. It is always great to put a face with a name, but unless you are applying to a modeling agency, then don't impose your picture to your resume.
Companies look for well rounded candidates that are involved with activities outside of work. Do you play on an intramural team? Are you a mentor for a youth group? Make sure to include this in your resume to set yourself apart from other applicants.
For those of you who may not know, Wende Zomnir is the Co-Founder of Urban Decay Cosmetics. I have been using the brand since way back when Urban Decay was selling nail polish kits on QVC, which my mom bought me for my birthday one year. This story I am about to tell is something that I would not encourage people to do to be noticed by an employer, but what I did opened my eyes to so many things...
During my last semester in college I was sending out my resume everywhere, especially to cosmetic companies because of my love for the industry. Since I was receiving my BBA in International Business and Human Resources Management,I was applying to entry level positions within those fields, for companies that did not have open positions I sent an inquire with my resume attached. I was determined to get my post-collegiate life started and I was open to relocating to a new city, more so because I did not want to move back home to Virginia. As the days went by and graduation creeped closer, I would sit at my lap top for hours between classes sending off my resume to companies. Months would go by, not one word of an interview, or I would be super stoked to see a new email came through my phone, but with a harsh rejection letter about my inquire. Things like this did not make me quit, it pushed me harder to prove that something was out there for me.
Graduation passed, and I was still at it with my job search. As I went online to look at new products from Urban Decay, I went to their career section and found a contact list. I emailed one of the HR contacts, stating how much I admired the company and why I wanted to be part of their ever growing team. The contact let me know that the company was based in California, and that they would keep my resume on file. At this point, I felt like I had an out of body experience. I wanted to make it known that I am perfect to work for this company. I was on Facebook, and curiously wanted to know if Co-Owner Wende Zomnir had a Facebook... and she did. I wanted to go for the source, and in my mind that was the best option at the time. I drafted an email stating who I was, my credentials- the whole nine yards. Also, I let Wende know that I got in touch with the HR contact at the company and I sent my resume to their office. I hurriedly clicked the send button and just stared at my computer... What in the hell did I just do? All of a sudden I felt like my determination worked against me. How rude was I to literally send a message to her personal Facebook about me wanting full time employment with her company, I mean goodness, I could have found her on LinkedIn like a professional would do.
About a month went by, and I was about to go to New York City for my first time that summer to see a concert. As I was packing my overnight bag, my Facebook notification went off. It was a message... from Wende Zomnir. My stomach went to my throat like a kid that swallowed a hard candy, because in my head I knew this message would not be great. I opened the message... and to my surprise she wrote the sweetest thing. She thanked me for getting in touch and loving the brand. Wende let me know if anything was a fit from the team that they would see if my experience would be a great fit. That was so nice of her to do, I was speechless and this made my trip to the Big Apple even better.
Currently, I do not have a job with the makeup giant, but that is fine with me. I was proud of myself for being a go-getter and taking my rejections as fuel to push forward. I have always admired Wende and always will. During that whole experience I know that I can do anything that my heart desires. During that same month, I had interviews with companies I never thought in 100 years would consider me. Even to this day, standing out is not a bad thing. So what if you get rejected, it never hurts to try, because you will never know until you put 100% into something. Now I am taking things to the next level with my youtube channel, my website, and you never know a makeup line of my own could happen a couple years down the road. The world is your oyster, hard work and determination does pay off.