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With student internships right around the corner, now is as good a time as any to ensure that your resume is updated and ready to be sent off to hiring managers and future employers. With competition for internships so demanding, it is critical that your resume is not only written, formatted and presented correctly, but is able to capture the reader’s attention instantly. Statistics suggest that a hiring manager will spend no longer than 20 seconds reading your professional resume. No matter how good your grades or your experience, your resume will be discarded if it does not stand out.
Create the right first impression
First impressions are so important when it comes to your resume and cover letter. Resume writing is more of an art form as opposed to an exact science, and while there are no exact rules to follow that will ensure your resume gets noticed, there are many things you can do that won’t help the situation. Firstly, ensure that your resume is reader friendly. Use headings and bullet points to emphasise important information and remove any unnecessary information that does not enhance your application. Does your resume say “Resume” or “Curriculum Vitae” at the top of the page? Remove this! A hiring manager knows that this is your resume and does need to be reminded of this.
Use Correct Spelling and Grammar
It seems so obvious, but incorrect spelling or bad grammar is a huge turnoff to the reader. It immediately reduces your professionalism and creates a negative impression on the reader. Another good tip is to convert your resume from a word document into a PDF. Not only does it look more professional, but it also eliminates any chance of those green or red lines appearing underneath certain words or sentences!
Focus on Achievements
A hiring manager wants to know how you can add value to their business. Ensure that your resume is full of achievement-based examples. Rather than listing all of your subjects in school, for example, emphasise certain subjects that you excelled in and provide examples. If you received a distinction or high distinction, make sure this is included on the resume. If you completed extra-curricular activities, community service or volunteer work, don’t merely list the organisations. Instead, focus on your achievements within those areas or provide examples of where you made a positive difference.
Use Strategic Keywords
With the competition for jobs so fierce, hiring managers can receive up to 1000 resumes for a single position. Because of this, many firms are now using software programs as a way of scanning candidate resumes. Using selected keywords will ensure that your resume passes the first stage of selection and will not be deleted before a hiring manager has even had a chance to read your application.
Provide Value-Added Information
Just because you might not have relevant work experience, don’t make the mistake of including irrelevant information just for the sake of it. Listing your hobbies and interests as “skiing, hiking and gym” may be worthwhile if you’re applying for a job in sports, however a hiring manager at an accounting firm, for example, will be less interested in this information. In fact, this type of information can actually detract from the resume. Concentrate on providing information that will only enhance your application.
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