Whether you’re looking for technical or business opportunities, a strong resume will help you stand out from the crowd and make a good first impression. But resume creation is an art, not a science, and starting from scratch can feel daunting.
Never fear – our Talent Acquisition Specialist, Christie Eades, is here! She sees thousands of resumes each year, so we asked her to share how-to’s and best practices. From length to cover letters, she’s tackling the tough questions and sharing her best tips for resume success.
Why are resumes so important?
Christie shared that, “A well-organized and targeted resume is important because on average, recruiters spend just 7 seconds reviewing a resume,” so it’s important to set yourself apart. We encourage candidates to take the time to tailor their resumes to the specific job that they’re applying for. Pro tip: Use similar, but relevant, verbiage from the job description to help your resume stand out. Often, companies use AI tools to sort resumes so using similar verbiage makes your resume easier for a recruiter to find.
Starting from scratch? Christie offered a few words of wisdom to get you started on building a resume:
- Google search for a resume template that appeals to you.
- Check out the options available on Microsoft Word.
- The role you’re applying for can play a part in the look of your resume. Applying for a job in tech? You don’t necessarily need anything fancy. Marketing or design? Show off your design skills (within reason).
- If you’re a currently a student, check out the Career Services team at your school and make an appointment! An extra set of eyes is always a bonus before submitting a resume.
- If you’re using a template, make sure you fill out all the blanks with your own information.
- We love resumes with an overall look that has clear colors and fonts, dates that align and is easy for a recruiter to skim.
What to Include
Looking for some resume must-haves? Here are a few things Christie says our recruiters love to see when reviewing resumes, starting with the basics. Be sure to include your name, email address and phone number. Is your voicemail set up? No really – go double check. If it’s full, not only can you not be reached about your car’s extended warranty, but you can’t be reached about a job either 😊. Ok, so now that we’ve cleared that up – we’ll also want to see your education and your anticipated graduation date. Including your anticipated graduation date helps us determine your eligibility for our internship program or early career opportunities. For example, alongside your university and degree information you could list: May 2024 (Anticipated). Speaking of, we know that you’re more than a number. So, if your GPA is below a 3.5, we recommend leaving it off your resume so recruiters can focus on your experience. If a cover letter isn’t required, we recommend including an objective on your resume to add a human touch.
When building out the experience section of your resume, start with your most recent experience and work backwards in time. Quantifying information or relevant projects is a great way for us to understand the impact you’ve made in previous roles. For example, did you improve the process or customer service? Save time or money? Christie also noted that it’s helpful when candidates list out relevant skills by what they’re the most proficient in and what they’re familiar in – this helps a recruiter see which skills you’re the most confident in and which ones you’re working on and gaining knowledge in.
We generally recommend keeping your resume to about a page, but if it goes over into a second page – that’s ok – just make sure you’re only including relevant and crucial information. Your resume will help you hook the recruiter and get you the interview. Best practice: Save your resume in a PDF format so you can double check everything and make sure the formatting is correct. Save the title of your resume document as your name and “resume” so it’s easy for recruiters to find it. For example, “ChristieEadesResume.”
Cover Letter or Nah?
This one can come with some mixed feelings depending on who you ask, and preference can vary between recruiters and hiring managers. If you have a compelling story to tell that will set you apart, tell it! If you don’t see a place to include a cover letter but you’d like to include one, Christie recommends saving your cover letter and resume into one document or PDF so you can upload it together. To get the most of a cover letter and stand out in a sea of resumes, include a story that describes you, words that connect you to a recruiter, your interest in the specific company or industry, what drew you to the role and your career goals.
Phew – that was a lot. What now?
Creating a resume from scratch can feel overwhelming but take heart – you’ve already started by reading this blog! To keep the momentum going, we recommend setting a goal date to complete your resume and then setting aside dedicated time to work on it. And remember to edit, review and review again! Having a second pair of eyes review is always beneficial. Finally, keep your resume fresh by updating it every 6 months.
If you have a favorite resume tip, drop it in the comments below! And if you’re interested in starting your career at SAS, visit sas.com/intern or sas.com/earlycareer to apply for our award-winning internship program and other early career roles. To read up on our hiring process, check out this blog.