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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

Cornell React advice: resumes that interviewers can’t say no to

The modern workforce is more competitive than ever, and while there are more job openings available, there are generally a lot more individuals applying for those jobs. We live in the beginning of the digital era, and it is an age that is pioneered forward by creative minds and innovators that are willing and able to go the extra mile to get the job done. In an age like this, it goes without saying that finding one’s place in the current professional landscape can be something of a mission. After all, landing the dream job starts with applying for jobs, and if there is one thing that is fundamentally certain, it is that applying for jobs is a time-consuming process. And the driving force of those job application is fine-tuning one’s resume. But what makes the perfect resume? With so many applicants all vying for the same jobs, how is it possible to stand out of the crowd and have a truly unique resume that makes employers remember you, that gets your foot through the door?

A strong resume is all about the details and the layout. Employers are busy. They have a lot on their plate. If you submit a resume for consideration that is too busy, too long, and too detailed, they are going to skim it and likely toss it. A strong resume is about being able to fine-tune the details and nail down the layout, which can be helped by a resume builder. A minimalistic layout sets the tone for a good resume, but a bold undertone (like changing the colour of detail and section titles to your favourite colour) gives the resume that added pizzazz that makes it pop, and tells the employer a little bit about what you like. Have your name, email, phone number, and address listed at the top – this is standard. Always, always include the most relevant job experiences towards the top of the resume, because anyone reading it (as well as the bots that so many large companies use to sift through resumes to find adequate candidates) will obviously start reading from the top; if the information does not start out strong and valid, they will toss it. 

A resume is essentially a digital impression. Think of it like the virtual version of a first impression, if for no other reason than because that is exactly what it is. Your resume is how employers first come to know who you are, what you have accomplished, what you love to do, and where you want to go in your career. And the secret to a resume that will get your foot through the door and into the interviewing room, is to have a resume that sounds off not only your contact details and all relevant experience to the position you are applying for, but also the activities you love to take up in your spare time. Make sure to include the hobbies and passions you have outside of work, because these are the finer details that will set you apart from the competition, that will make your resume stand out against all the other similar resumes. In including this information, you are giving an insight into who you are, and that allows for a positively impressionable first impression (or, digital impression).

Employers generally rely more and more on computerized systems to scan through resumes for outgoing positions within their companies. This is the way of the digital era, and it is becoming more and more common every other day. These recruitment bots are designed to search through submitted resumes for keywords, eliminating resumes that do not hold said keywords from consideration. It might sound complicated, but realistically it is quite simple. In short, keywords are most often (if not always) words that are used in the job advertisement and general description itself. Pay special attention to the words used in the job requirements, job description, and even the title of the position – this will always be one of the keywords, and if you do not have it in your resume somewhere, you will do yourself a disservice. And finally, make sure that the keywords are as high up in your resume as possible – just like a human would read a resume, the bots scan from the beginning to the end, so establishing your suitability for the position as early as possible in your resume can only be an advantage.

In the digital age that we are currently navigating, there is more of a focus than ever on the creatives, the dreamers, the hard workers, the innovators who are willing and able to go the extra mile to get the job done, and to get it done well. In an era like this, finding one’s place in the professional landscape that is the modern workforce can be a challenge (to say the least). Nobody wants to work a job they do not genuinely enjoy, even love, but with the workforce being more competitive than ever, it is a virtual certainty that some people (if not most) must work mediocre jobs to work their way up to their dream job. Believe it or not, the resume can make all the difference in the world. Writing the resume that will get your foot in the door and secure you an interview is paramount. When you master the art of writing the perfect resume, you open doors that were only cracked open previously. Simply put, it all starts with the resume.

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