Top Tips for Building Your Resume

So you’re a recent grad or you’re about to graduate. Or maybe you’re a few years out of school and you’re feeling the itch to find a new job. You’ve done well in school and in your work experience so far, but in this competitive job market, you worry it might not be enough. If you’re a little concerned that your resume might be a bit sparse, there are plenty of great ways to beef it up before you put yourself on the job market.

Don’t Lie

This isn’t so much a tip to build your resume as it is advice for your resume (and for life!) If you haven’t done something, do NOT put on your resume that you have. Remember that thanks to technology, people can pretty much find out anything they want to about another person either through social networking or good old-fashioned phone calls. If a company is really interested in hiring you, you can bet they’ll call the charity or networking group you’ve associated yourself with to see if you really are involved. Or if they ask you about something on your resume during an interview, backpedalling will not be fun. Lying to them is not the best way to start this business relationship, but it will probably be a quick way to end it.

Volunteer

Find something that you really care about – animals, senior citizens, adult literacy, sick children – and find an organization that will allow you to help this cause. This can be, but doesn’t have to be, something that takes up a lot of time. This can mean volunteering in-person once a week, or it can mean making phone calls or sending emails from your home. Find an organization that needs your help – few will ever turn down volunteers – and find a way to help. If there are skills you’d like to improve upon that you know you’ll need for the job you’re seeking, try to find a way to do this in your volunteer position so you can tout those skills on your resume. You could also build upon skills you already have—both are good options for resume boosting.

Learn Something Unique

If you just finished school, maybe going back is the last thing you want to think about. So try something different this time: learn a language online, take an art class through your local community college, or take free online courses through Udacity or MITx. Even if these skills you develop have nothing to do with your future career, they add character, can make you stand out, and will teach you new things. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, earn a certification in a field tangentially related to your degree or experience—perhaps you pair that business degree with a certificate in social media marketing, or that political science degree with a certificate in education policy.

Intern

If you have the means to do such, applying for an unpaid internship in a field, or simply asking companies you’re interested in for an opportunity to shadow employees, can be a great way to not only earn experience in the field but can help you connect to people who are already in your field. It can also be a great way to ensure that the field you think you want to enter is actually something you can see yourself doing full-time.