Tips for Building an Effective Resume

It’s no surprise that a resume is an essential document in your job search. In many instances, your resume is the first and possibly your only opportunity to make an impression, so make it count! Build a resume that not only grabs the recruiter's attention, but showcases you as a potential future employee. Below are a few tips to help you do just that:

Use a resume template

Your education, extracurriculars, experiences, achievements, and skill are all essential for your resume. That’s a lot of information, which all should fit on approximately one page. I can already see the frustration building as you try to squeeze every award you’ve earned since preschool on that one page – we’ll talk about this later.  Don’t fret as there are many amazing resources with premade resume templates available. Resume templates are preformatted with fonts, the correct margins and sections, allowing you to focus on what’s important; the content and showcasing your capabilities.

Tailor your resume to the job posting

You might be wondering if this is actually necessary, but trust me, it’s maybe the most important element to building an effective resume. A recruiter on average will scan a resume in 25 seconds. Recruiters and computers scan your resume for keywords and phrases that fit with the job description. So really read through the description, highlight commonly used phrases and keywords, and embed them back into your own resume.

Relevant and Essential Information 

I told you we would discuss that award you earned in preschool for sharing your toys. The recruiter needs to assess your capabilities as a potential employee, so the experiences and skills on your resume should display your abilities to complete the job you’re applying for. I suggest creating a “master document” with all your work experiences, achievements, skills, etc. Treat them like building blocks – making it easier to insert and swap relevant sections to tailor your resume.  

Make your information tangible

Don’t just copy and paste the descriptions of your prior experiences, explain what you did and how. Discuss the problems you solved and the solutions you created. If possible add quantifiable accomplishments. By quantifying your achievements, the recruiter will see a more comprehensive picture of you as a potential employee.

Final Touches

Always make sure your contact information is correct and up to date. Additionally, add any relevant social media pages or publications. Professional references are a great asset. Lastly always have a trusted individual review your resume. Resumes are full of details – it’s easy to make minor mistakes and it never hurts to have another pair of eyes double check what you’ve written.

Resumes are a tricky business, but it is extremely important to build a resume that effectively communicates your potential as a future employee. Hopefully these few tips will help your resume make an impact and convince the recruiter that they need to meet you. 

P.S. Share your resume with leading nonprofits, social enterprises, and impact companies. Once you have registered for the 2017 Net Impact Conference and used these tips to spruce up your resume, you can submit it to our NI17 Resume Book. The deadline to submit your resume is October 13 and once we have all the resumes collected we will share the Resume Book with our 80+ Conference exhibitors. There will be job recruiters on site!



I think it's a great tip to tailor your resume to the position that you're applying for. It's also important to mention your student achievements (for example published research papers).

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Nicolette Zalesky - Net Impact Outreach Intern

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