Resumes and real estate, two seemingly unrelated things. Allow me to highlight their similarities to help you better understand some key elements of what makes a resume great, and what qualifies it as a fixer upper:
1st Curb Appeal
If you want someone to take a closer look at what you have to offer, you first have to make it attractive. Like houses, if your resume is ugly at first glance, it’s unlikely anyone is going to bother to look at the content. Loud colors, awkward spaces, silly fonts – these are distractions that future employers will find annoying and not worth their time to fix. Just as you would stage a house, your resume should have universal appeal. Remember, this isn’t about what you like, it’s what your audience will like. That means standard formatting and everything is right where you’d expect it to be.
2nd Space Usage
In a home, you have a certain amount of square footage to work with. Same goes for a resume, you have to pack (roughly) five years’ worth of information on an 8″ x 11″ piece of paper. Now you may think “that’s ok, I’ll just go onto the next page,” but that’s where you’re wrong. That second page in a resume is earned, not something you just overflow onto. Think of it like adding an addition to a house, you have to save up for that and it takes time and effort. Instead, focus on how you can best utilize the one page you have – save additions for down the road. Start by removing unnecesary details, you don’t need to put your high school information if you are currently earning a college degree. Same goes for any job you’ve held for less than six months, over ten years ago, or that is completely irrelevant to the position you’re applying for. Resumes are less a comprehensive work history and more an opportunity to showcase what experience best qualifies you for a job.
Building a resume with no previous job experience is like a house on a poor foundation, which is shaky at best. There’s a reason our office becomes a broken record when we’re telling you about the benefits of internships, they are so valuable. Getting this experience will not only add a lot of information to your resume, but it’ll help make you a better employee and only open up opportunities to build on your experience. Everyone has to start somewhere, so even if you don’t have the most suit-worthy jobs to report – think about how your part time work in fast-food taught you skills that are valuable in any setting, and build from there.
4th Be Your Own Agent
You would never just put a for sale sign in your yard and then expect the offers to come rolling in. Same goes for job searching. You have your resume, you now need to market that sucker. And don’t think that uploading your resume to sites like monster.com or indeed.com is sufficient, that’s like listing your house on Craigslist. Sure you may get a bunch of feedback, but the majority of it will be junk. Instead, be mindful on what you apply to and make sure your resume fits each position you’re interested in. Don’t be afraid to reach out to connections you’ve made in the past or use friends-of-friends and send them copies of your resume if they are in your desired industry. Be your own agent, and close that deal.