I recently looked back at the resume I created in my first year of university to apply for summer internships and cringed pretty hard.
It was wordy, it was flowery, it was generic. At the time I didn’t have much going for me in terms of marketable skills or experiences, but hey, I was trying.
Over the last 5 years since then, I have learned how to format and fill my resume with the most relevant and impressive experiences for a wide spectrum of jobs and companies. While my degree is in Mechanical Engineering, my resume has gotten me interviews at global tech startups, consulting firms, and CPG companies in Event Planning, IT, Sales, and Business Analyst roles.
While my resume is non-traditional, I have found that understanding the role I’m applying for and framing my experiences with intentionality has opened many doors for me in my career thus far.
Beyond my own resume iterations, I have also spent countless hours personally reviewing and helping fellow students improve their resumes for a variety of roles. As a result of these efforts, I have gathered a few key insights on how to make yourself marketable when seeking employment.

Read the job description in detail

The job description is where you will get a sense of what kind of person this company is looking to hire, in terms of both skills and values. Some job descriptions will make this explicit, while others tend to be vaguer. Your main goal when reading the job description is to get a quick sense of if you would have a chance at this role, and if so, gather keywords to include on your resume.
For example, if one of your responsibilities is to “design an automated system”, you’re going to want to include the “Design” action word in your bullet points on your resume.

Speak with employees and recruiters before you apply

Large corporations have hundreds, if not thousands, of resumes coming in for each job posting and have various methods of filtering them. One of the best ways to avoid being filtered out at the beginning is to get your foot in the door before you even submit your application.
That means attending recruiting events, career fairs, or coffee chats to get to know more about the company and for them to recognize your name when it comes across their desks.

Build a working copy of your CV

A piece of advice — never submits a generic resume! It’s often quite easy to tell which candidates really care about the specific role and which ones don’t by the way their resume is written.
That being said, I highly recommended creating a working copy of your CV (which includes all of your experiences and projects) so that building a personalized resume doesn’t take you too long. This document will have literally everything you’ve ever done on it so that when you are applying to a job, you can quickly pick out pre-written sections to include on your customized resume.

Select your most relevant experiences to the role

As per my last point, you don’t want to tell a recruiter everything you’ve ever done, but rather only the experiences that are particularly relevant to the role. Look through your list of keywords from the job description and then choose experiences where you match the key action words well.
Once you have these relevant experiences down, rewrite some of your bullet points to match the word in the description. Make it easy for the recruiter to recognize your qualifications and fit for the job.

Format your resume to fit on one page

This is a big one, especially for students. According to a recent eye-tracking study by Ladders, recruiters spend an average of 7 seconds reading a resume. That means you need to format your resume to be readable and concise.
You should have your greatest accomplishments and experiences towards the top to guarantee they will be seen.

Ask a colleague/friend/mentor to read it over

You may have already spent hours creating the perfect resume for the job, but one grammar or spelling error could get your resume thrown into the trash. Before you submit, always ask someone to read it over for you.
Don’t let your hard work go to waste!

I hope these tips will help you in your resume writing process. While writing a resume can seem like a daunting task, it’s important to recognize that it is an iterative process and with every application, your skills will improve.