Your resume can make or break your chances of getting a new job opportunity. Though some hiring managers and recruiters may spend time thoroughly scanning your resume, at a career fair, you usually only have seconds to make a good impression. In this current competitive job market, it’s important for candidates, especially new graduates, to have a resume that’s eye-catching and informative.
Emily Liou, a career happiness coach and founder of job search platform Cultivitae, has reviewed thousands of resumes over her almost 10-year career in recruiting and career coaching, and says your resume is “a marketing tool, not a tell-all of everything you’ve done”
Crafting a resume can be a bit more challenging for a career fair because you’re not tailoring it to just one organization or one position.
Here are few tips that can help you make sure your resume is career fair ready:
Be clear and concise
- According to an ex-Amazon recruiter, you have six seconds to grab a hiring manager’s attention when they’re reviewing your resume.
- A “clear narrative” about the role you want and the information that would be most valuable to the company, while also being brief.
- Even if it’s not for a specific company or specific to one role, your resume should highlight who you are, who you want to serve, what you want to do and how you do it.
- This not only helps you grab the recruiter’s attention early on, but a clear skill set could potentially open doors for other opportunities.
Perfect your personal summary
- Your professional summary is the first thing a recruiter will see at the top of your resume.
- This part of the resume is especially crucial for college students and recent graduates, who may not have established work experience yet.
- The professional summary should be able to tell the employer who you are before they even have to dissect your experience, your education, your internships and so forth.
After the professional summary, format the rest of the resume in this order:
- Skills: Snapshot the hard, technical abilities that you’ve learned throughout your career or education
- Experience: Relevant to the direction you want to go
- Volunteer Work: Extracurricular activities that have contributed to your professional success
- Education: Name your institution along with your GPA or percentage upon graduation
Keep it simple and standard
- Gen Z job seekers have gotten creative with their resumes recently, with some even going as far as submitting video resumes on TikTok to show their skill sets.
- Though this approach may be embraced by some companies, for a career fair, Liou suggests keeping it simple.
- Recruiters have six seconds to review and decide if a person can possibly be a fit for their company.
- Liou advises job seekers to keep it “standard and traditional,” at least until their first follow-up interaction with a hiring manager.
A Strong Lead
- When you get past the headline that initially nabbed your attention, what follows better be a rich and compelling first paragraph. Without a lead that captures the reader, attention wanes and you are off to the next article or website.
- It is my contention that your first paragraph should state how you will bring value to the organization. That will grab your reader’s attention. Why? Because those other screaming resumes will be uniformly expressing a desire to acquire a “rewarding and challenging career.” In these economically trying times, a company cannot afford to hire the wrong person. Recruiters are tasked with bringing in only those people who can provide value from the get go.
- Don’t just tell them you want to succeed, tell them how you will achieve that success.
Taking the extra time to optimize your resume for recruiters is guaranteed to pay off in your job search. Stay tuned for more resume formatting tips and tricks and let us know how these recommendations worked for you.