Before you get to show off your firm handshake or warm smile at interviews, it's your résumé that will catch the eye of hiring recruiters. However, you won't advance to interview rounds if your résumé isn't top notch upon submission.
BEAM, the career education hub at Stanford University, is comprised of career experts who work with students to bridge students' education, ambition, and meaningful work--and help them find the job of their dreams.
Here are five things these Stanford career experts say every résumé needs to get you your next job.
1. Functional descriptions.
Design your descriptions to focus on your achievements. Use action verbs--like "planned," "assembled," or "coordinated"--to indicate the skills you have used and you will show off your accomplishments in a concise and understandable way. Other action verbs include:
2. A good length.
Even if you're the most successful person in the world, it isn't wise to list everything you have ever done in your résumé. Keep your résumé brief and consider fitting your work experience onto one page if possible. If your experience is extensive, two pages can be acceptable, so long as you are consistently well-organized and concise. Remember, the reason you present a résumé is to get an interview, not to be hired on the spot. Says Laszlo Bock, former Google executive, "Once you're in the room, the résumé doesn't matter much. So cut back your résumé. It's too long."
3. A proper format.
Although the Stanford experts say there is no single way to format your résumé, the format you choose should ultimately present your strengths clearly. One format most familiar to employers and commonly used by job candidates is the chronological format, which presents your experience in reverse chronological sequence, beginning with the most recent. This format is useful for those who have a history of directly relevant experience.
4. Quantified results.
Make sure your descriptions include quantifying results, such as "Created a marketing campaign that drove sales up by 33%." The more specific, the better--this gives hiring recruiters a better picture of what you're capable of, rather than a mere vague idea.
5. A peer review.
You may have crafted a wonderful résumé, but why not get another pair of eyes on it? Go to your most trusted peers or colleagues and ask that they look over your résumé for content and grammar. Ask where things are difficult to understand, or where the format can be improved. Laszlo Bock suggests this additional pro tip: "Read your résumé from bottom to top: Reversing the normal order helps you focus on each line in isolation."