Today's guest post is by Emily Matthews.*
When looking for a job during a time of national economic instability, you can be sure that your competition for employment is going to be steep. While having a master’s degree or any sort of higher education can help you stand out from the crowd of other job hopefuls, there is an easy tip that anyone can use to help better his or her chances of landing that new job: give your resume a makeover so that you stand out.
Think of a resume as an employer’s first impression of you. In fact, considering that job search engines like Monster (which is one of the 20 most visited websites out of 100 million worldwide and is the largest job search engine in the world, with over a million job listings at any time, over 150 million resumes posted, and over 63 million job seekers per month—talk about competition!) allow you to upload your resume online, the resume is an employer’s first impression of you. These days it’s more important than ever to make that first impression count, so here are some ways that you can spruce up the you of your resume.
Don’t shy away from articulating exactly why you would be a perfect addition to a company’s corporate team. It’s important to tailor your resume specifically to the position for which you are applying each and every time, so make sure to do some research beforehand on your potential employer’s company and its mission—that way, you can specify your objective in your resume to show the company exactly what you would bring to them (plus, you’ll be safe if they decide to quiz you about the company during your interview).
If you know what you’re talking about, then you’ll be able to say it with confidence—and if you’re confident, you’ll not only appear more put-together and professional, but you’ll also come across as more personable and genuine.
Consider this: When a company asks ten well-qualified candidates each to come in for interviews, you need to make yourself stand out in a way that is professional yet personal (especially if you’re interviewing for a job in communications, customer service, or hospitality, where being personable is a valuable disposition). In an interview, you should essentially be making your resume come to life—that is: be enthusiastic about your experience, your ability, and yourself in a new career.
Show your potential employer that you’re confident, capable, prepared, and invested in your future with their company. Although you’re there to get a job so you can make money, keep in mind that, if you do get the job, you’ll also be there to build successful relationships with your coworkers. Your employer will be monitoring how well think he or she thinks you’ll work with the rest of the team, and that assessment will rely on both your professional and personal skills.
Doing your research on each job possibility before you send the resume also shows your potential employer that you work proactively, which will translate to your work ethic to prove that you don’t make careless mistakes. It’s clear, then, that doing research, tailoring your resume, and exuding confidence provide a win-win situation both for you and possible employers.
Emily Matthews is currently applying to masters degree programs across the U.S., and loves to read about new research into health care, gender issues, and literature. She lives and writes in Seattle, Washington.