You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
The Fortune 500 Insiders Network is an online community where top executives from the Fortune 500 share ideas and offer leadership advice with Fortune’s global audience. Laura Rock, head of human resources at Farmers Insurance, has answered the question: How do you make your resume stand out?
Millennials looking for work have many advantages. Most are proficient with multiple technologies and, in comparison to graduates in my day, they generally have a wealth of valuable, non-career experiences to pull from. They seek purpose and are looking for meaning in their relationship with a company, and are typically open to moving from company to company to help garner the experience they need. That mobility, however, can be viewed by hiring managers as a sign that a candidate is a flight risk and lacks focus.
To overcome this concern, millennials seeking to secure a job should consider the perspective of those reading their resumes. Many are not millennials themselves, and therefore approach career management with a more traditional mindset.
Building a savvy resume that paints a picture of your career journey is the first step to engaging with the resume-reader whose instincts and decisions will determine whether your application moves ahead or doesn’t get a second glance. To stand out from the crowd, here are five tips to consider when sprucing up your resume:
Avoid the linear timeline
Just listing job titles and the responsibilities of each isn’t enough anymore. Each job should include enhanced insights into what you learned from the experience and how it got you closer to your personal goal. What did you get out of each job? What were your key takeaways? How has it made you a better employee? This will demonstrate that you weren’t just punching a clock, but learning and absorbing skills. If you’ve had several job changes in quick succession, be sure to provide greater context and explain what really matters to you.
Talk about accomplishments
Whether you are describing your experience being on a sports team, in a favorite college club, interning at a local business, or at your last full-time job, make it personal and focused on results. What did you do to help the club, grow the business, enhance the company, or contribute to your community? Would-be employers not only want to know what you’ve accomplished, but how it benefited the company. Then detail how your past results can be leveraged for the job you’re applying for.
Make your resume come alive
Avoid a “flat” resume. Instead, create a digital resume by imbedding links to stories you’ve written or those written about you, projects you’ve been involved in, and your contributions. Include a video link so that a hiring manager can literally see who you are and how you represent yourself. Making a personal connection goes a long way toward making a lasting impression and gives the manager a better sense of who you are.
Manage your social media presence
Carefully maintain your social media presence. If hiring managers Google GOOG you, what will they find? If you’re applying for a serious job, a site showing how you love to party can potentially put your professional reputation at risk. What are you putting out there that could possibly come back to bite you?
Take care with your cover letter
We’ve all seen the cut and paste error: An applicant neglects to tailor the cover letter to the specific job. Grammatical or spelling errors also reflect poorly on your work style. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Summarize your experience in an easy-to-read format so managers can quickly pick what they’d like to focus on.
If you wish to be considered an outstanding job candidate, use these smart tips to help make your resume stand out from the pack.