Intern Talk: Crafting a Standout Résumé

AugustInternTalkThe process of applying for jobs can be overwhelming due to the many variables – especially with résumés – that can affect your hiring potential. If you prepare and research in advance, it is much easier to craft a résumé that stands out among the rest.

Remember that it’s not all about you
On its surface, a résumé is documentation of your professional experiences; however, your résumé should reflect the organization for which you’re applying. How will that organization be more profitable and successful with you as an employee? PRSA Board Liaison for PRSSA Geri Evans, APR, suggests crafting your résumé with that question in mind. “The reason they should hire you is not so you will find professional and personal growth, but because you do things that bring positive results,” Evans said.

Highlight measurable results
Now that you know a résumé should be geared to an organization, you can infuse it with specific results from each of your professional experiences. Melanie Moir, director of Waggener Edstrom Worldwide’s Centralized Internship Program, instructs students to ask themselves the following questions: What did you accomplish during your time at a particular job or as part of a club? Did you increase membership by 15 percent? How did you meet or exceed your goals? The answers to these questions give employers concrete and quantified examples of what you would bring to their organization. “Don’t be shy, get specific on how you made a difference,” Moir said.

Demonstrate your skills
While quantifying your results is important, it’s equally important to showcase soft skills through examples. PRSA Board Liaison for PRSSA Jane Dvorak, APR, Fellow PRSA, recommends demonstrating instead of stating your skills. Anyone can say that they’re organized, but it’s advantageous to show that quality by including message points on your resume that indicate organizational skills. “For example, it takes a great deal of organizational skill and time management to coordinate 100+ volunteers for a special event. Better to show how you’re organized and enthusiastic than to simply state it,” Dvorak said.

Research, research, research
Both Evans and Moir suggest conducting extensive research on the organization that you’re applying to so you can customize your résumé appropriately – thoughtful customization will ultimately make your résumé stand out. “If you know that teamwork and creativity are key attributes for the position, look for specific ways to show that you’re a team player and that you’re creative,” Moir said. Customization is especially important given that many organizations use screening software to sort résumés. Evans suggests reading the job description and company website carefully to identify keywords that the screening software may use in the sorting process. Then, customize by integrating the keywords that you found into your résumé.

What are your favorite résumé tips and tricks? Share in the comments below.

Intern Talk is a monthly guest column produced by Ellie Boggs, vice president of career services. The column covers various aspects of the public relations industry, giving PRSSA members the tools to secure internships and make the most of their professional experiences. For more career resources, visit the PRSSA Career Manual and Internship Center.

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