May 2nd, 2010
Your resume is the first impression an employer has of you, which is why you want to make sure that it stands out and doesn't blend in. A good resume doesn't necessarily tell an employer about your education, but about your experience. How do you make your resume stand out? By having work, leadership, and volunteer experience.
You can make your resume stand out by having work experience. Most students consider school their job, and think that between classes and homework they don't have time for anything else. But you should keep in mind that once you are out on the job hunt, you will be competing against people who will most likely have previous work experience. It's important that you do everything you can to make sure that when an employer looks at your resume you appear just as qualified as everyone else. Holding down a part-time job or completing an internship can show that you are not totally lacking in experience. Previous jobs show a potential employer that you have a solid work ethic, are capable of being responsible, and know how to work in a professional environment.
You can make your resume stand out by having leadership experience. Anyone can be involved in student organizations and activities, but not everyone can make significant contributions to them through leadership roles. An employer isn't really going to be impressed that you were in a sorority or fraternity, but it will probably get his attention that you were the president of it. A title may just be one word, but it can tell you a lot about someone's capabilities and skills. Serving in a leadership roles shows that you are trustworthy, responsible, and know how to take initiative, all valuable qualities in an employee.
You can make your resume stand out by having volunteer experience. If you don't have time to hold down a job or leadership position, regularly volunteering can give you the experience you need to keep an employer's interest. You can gain knowledge about important issues, as well as develop transferable skills by volunteering in an area related to the career field you are interested in. This will not only show potential employers that you are dedicated to learning about the industry, but that you also are passionate about related causes and issues. Not only does volunteering give you a way to obtain experience, it also can tell a potential employer a lot about your character and values. These are qualities that often indicate what kind of employee you could be.