5 ways to take your resume to the next level

Welcome back, all of my loyal readers! I hope that everyone had a great weekend staying indoors during this chilly October. Hopefully you worked hard on your resume and turned down all of your opportunities for fun. Personally, I went rock climbing, but I already have my resume done, so I can do that. Now that you have taken the time to get your resume started, I am going to give you the rest of my personal top ten tips to craft a great resume. These are the other five and they are considered more advanced than the previous blog, which if you missed it can be read RIGHT HERE. Let’s get started!!!

1) Create a spotlight

When crafting a resume, it is important to think about what you are placing the spotlight on. If you had an internship and you use 8 bullet points and you have an internship section and it is placed towards the top, then the employer is going to assume that this is your most important experience. If, however, it is placed at the bottom and has two bullet points, then the employer is not going to pay as much attention to it. You should print off your resume and take a hard look at it. What stands out? What is hidden? The next step is to figure out what you want the employer to see, and do what you can to make it stand out on the page. You can never be sure how others will see your resume, but you can at least make an effort to guide them in the direction you want.

2) Tailor it to the position

For many jobs you find there will be a job description along with a list of job duties. When looking through this section, you should take a look at your resume and see if what you put on your resume matches what they need and want from you. For instance, a job requirement might be that applicants have great communication skills and perhaps you had a volunteer opportunity that dealt mostly with communication. It would be a good idea to make sure that you add a bullet to an experience or somehow point out your communication skills in the resume.

3) Work on your section headings

One of the easiest ways to help create a spotlight and tailor your resume is by altering your sections and your section headings. Within each section on your resume, you are going to be listing your experiences in reverse-chronological order. That is, you are going to list most recent experience first and work backwards. This can seemingly create a problem when trying to tailor your resume and create a spotlight if your internship experience is third down the list. The trick to fix this is by creating new sections. You can create sections such as Related Experience, Internship Experience, Research Experience, or even Transformational Experiences. These sections can then go in any order and you can place the important experiences near the top. Creating new and specific section headings can allow you to go in many directions with your resume.

4) Fixing your skills section

The skills section is one of the toughest sections to complete. There are many different directions to go in. Someone might have a skills section that includes only “soft” skills, such as communication skills. Others might have a computer skills section that only has one or two computer programs, such as PowerPoint listed. In these cases, it will be more beneficial to find ways to tie these skills into bullets that match up with experiences. It will give an employer a sense of how these skills were obtained and then you can remove the skill section altogether and have room for other skills or sections. On the flip side, some skills sections need to be tailored very specifically. Accounting, for instance, is a field where having a computer skills section that lists all of the various accounting software that someone can use would be very helpful. The trick is to figure out what the point of the skills section is, give it a specific focus, or decide to move some skills into bullets. This will be a personal decision and can be difficult to choose.

5) Using a summary of qualifications

A summary of qualifications section is a great way to tie together the idea of tailoring the resume and creating a spotlight. When you create a summary of qualifications section, you can use it to include relevant information about years of experience, or accomplishments. It is a section that can be easily changed to make sure that an employer knows how you meet their required and preferred qualifications. In fact, it can even be used instead of that pesky skills section. You can use it to guide the employer down the road of your resume. If this section seems confusing, there is a great example at the link below.

Sample for summary of qualifications – Northeastern University

Well, that is it for this blog. I hope that you enjoyed reading my personal ten tips for crafting an amazing resume. Of course, these are only ten ideas and there are hundreds or more that you can use to finish up your resume. Don’t be afraid to do some more research and find ideas to bring your resume from advanced to expert level. Sure, resume writing can feel tedious, nerve-wracking, and (gasp) even boring! Yet if you take the time, you will find that it will pay off. You’ve already committed to the time spent in school to get your degree so that you can land your dream job, so don’t skip out on your resume.


– Josh Foss, Graduate Assistant, Career Development Center


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