8 Tips to Make Your Resume Stand Out From the Pack

It’s that time of year again – career fair season is in full swing and resumes are popping into our inbox at a pretty fast rate.  You’re eager and you’re able but, as that towering pile of resumes gets higher and higher and the competition gets fiercer, what do you need to do to make an impression and land that interview?

To help you in this quest, we chatted with Mark Owens of Skylight’s Recruitment Division, to discover what he’s looking for when he picks up a resume and below we’ve shared his top eight tips.

Tip #1 – Keep your resume short and concise
I’m a big fan of a one full-page resume.  I really don’t have time to read 2, 3 and 4 page resumes, so it’s a real turn off if it’s too lengthy.  There are a few exceptions, when a second page may be justified, but that would only be if it’s from an experienced planner who has many years of experience to cover.  As I’m receiving resumes, for the most part from “soon to be” or recent college grads, then one page is all I want to read.

Tip #2 – Make sure your resume is well-structured with a nice professional format
I like a well-structured resume where I can find what I want very quickly and easily.  I also like to see a modern, professional format that’s pleasing to the eye.  If you are handing your resume over at a career fair, then using a good, high-quality paper always makes a favorable impression.

Tip #3 – The first few lines of your resume should grab the reader’s attention
Use the resume summary to grab attention and say who you are, your experiences and what you are passionate about.  Avoid stating your objective eg. I want to be a financial planner.  Lots of people still include this as an objective even though it’s obvious they want to be a financial planner given that’s the job they are applying for.

Tip #4 – Give details of your extra-curricular activities
I can’t stress this point enough. At Skylight, we’re looking for well-rounded people who are good at forming relationships and can juggle different priorities so I want to find out about the candidate’s personality and interests outside of the classroom.  A resume piques my interest if I can see details about sporting activities in which the candidate has progressed, any leadership roles in committees or student councils, or if they’ve done any volunteer work in the community.

Tip #5 – Proofread and use a spell-checker
Make sure you take the time and effort to proofread your resume.  Sloppy spelling mistakes and grammatical errors look very unprofessional and it says to me that you’re not that interested in the job or the firm.

Tip #6 – Include personal and school address and email on resume
I always like to see where the candidate is from so I’d advise including both personal and school address on resumes when applying for Skylight positions.  Also, it’s useful to include both your personal and school email on the resume so we can keep in contact with you over time. I’ve had instances when I’ve reached out to someone via their school email but they’ve recently left and I can’t get hold of them.

Tip #7 – If you want to include social media profiles, be selective and appropriate
I would rarely look at social media profiles until further into the recruitment process, so I’m pretty indifferent as to whether these are included on the resume.  I would say that if you do include them then you should choose selectively.  LinkedIn is one we would be particularly interested in.  Also, ensure that any public social media profiles are appropriate and don’t show you in a negative light to a prospective employer. You know what I mean!

Tip #8 – Don’t waste your time on cover letters, references or GPA scores.
I know there are lots of different opinions out there on the value of cover letters but for me, I’ve no interest in them and I don’t read them.  They basically all say “hire me because I’m awesome” so I find them predictable and lacking in any substance.  Equally, references or lists of GPA scores are a pet hate of mine.  Don’t waste your time on any of these.

Thanks Mark for sharing with us.

Skylight Financial Group will be attending career fairs in Ohio and beyond, in August, September, and October so check out dates/venues.  We’d love to meet you so please come up and introduce yourself!