No matter the job or industry, getting your foot in the door can be a frustrating process. You’ve submitted countless resumes, cover letters, and applications, but you aren’t getting any bites.
From an employer’s perspective, you might come to realize that hiring is a costly proposition. Out of the boatloads of applicants flooding their inbox, employers want to cover their bases and make the safest bet; in other words, they want proof you can do the job.
So, the real questions are: a) How can you prove you’ve got the chops? and b) What else can you do to stand out from the competition? Here are some tips to improve your resume and land the job of your dreams.
1. Level Up Your Education
One of the best things you can do to get past the initial cut is to have, at minimum, the same base-level qualifications as your competition. The fact is, the more education you attain, the higher likelihood that you’re gainfully employed. A four-year degree puts you in the top 30 percent of educated people in the US, and often puts your resume in the top third of the stack. A degree in a field related to your work will expand your career opportunities, or you could opt for an online bachelor’s in business to give you a broad foundation for anywhere you go in the working world.
2. Obtain (and Prove That You Have) the Skills
So, with the base-level qualifications down, what’s next? Cold, hard proof. When you’re first starting out, you won’t necessarily have the skills and expertise that employers covet. But remember, employers are looking for a safe bet. You have to deck out your resume with evidence, anyway.
If you have that bachelor’s degree in hand, there’s a good chance you also worked on some hands-on projects for your classes. Include those in a section for accomplishments and projects.
Another section you can use to your advantage: skills. Even a quick, bulleted list of programs you’ve used, languages you know, and soft skills will get you far. This list will make your resume unique, and there’s a chance this employer uses the software you already know — and that your competition doesn’t.
Whether you go straight to the source and take advantage of official free training (like Salesforce’s Trailhead or Google’s Analytics Certificate), or you learn through third parties (like Udemy and YouTube), it doesn’t matter. Once you have a base-level understanding of the tools your industry uses, you become more qualified than the candidates that don’t. Boom. You’re moving your resume a little higher in the stack.
(BONUS: Many sites offer certificates of completion for finishing their training. Adding these to your resume gives that extra punch of proof that employers will appreciate when they’re narrowing down their candidate list.)
3. Provide a Second Opinion
Lastly, make your resume unique with social proof. Online resume sites like LinkedIn provide a space to show endorsements and recommendations from colleagues and peers. As the No. 1 professional social media site in the world, clearly, they know what they’re doing.
Create a similar section on your resume with a quote from a teammate, professor, or supervisor who can vouch for you. Whether you worked on a tech project together in school or side by side at McDonald’s, having someone who can speak to your hard and/or soft skills can set you apart from the competition. Indeed, being a reliable and resourceful teammate is not something employers overlook.
Set Yourself Apart from the Competition
By taking advantage of these three tactics for setting your resume apart, you’ll be well on your way to breaking through the first-job barrier and into the workforce.