Some students don’t understand the importance of a powerful résumé. And yet, much of the time, it is their résumé that either opens the door to an interview or keeps that door shut tight.

The reality is that employers usually know little or nothing more about someone than what they see on the résumé. For them, candidates are what they put down on paper.

Employers expect candidates to present their strongest skills, talents, assets, experiences and accomplishments on their résumés. Unfortunately, students often limit themselves to a one-page résumé that contains only the most basic information:

– Name

– Contact Information

– College Attended

– Major


– Objective

– List of Courses

– List of P/T and Summer Jobs/Employers

This information can easily fill the entire page but gives an employer little reason to meet with the candidate. When students have similar grades, have taken the same courses and their activities and work experience are unrelated to their field of study, they all look very much alike.

If students want to be interviewed, they must try to offer more than the minimum. As you might expect, employers will be drawn to the students who stand out in some way.

Students stand out when they:

– Participate in campus or community activities that are of interest to

their target employers

– Have work experience directly related to employer needs

– Research the target employer to learn about the people, products,

services and issues

– Use words that are directly related to the job opportunity

– Emphasize experiences and accomplishments

– Are ready with examples and interesting stories during interviews

– Have references who can speak highly of their character, work ethic

and performance

For the most part, an impressive résumé is built with the activities and work experiences that take place during the sophomore, junior and senior years. Students who recognize early on what employers want can focus on participating in activities and gaining the experiences that will, no doubt, give them an array of successes that make them attractive to employers in their fields of interest.

Employers often have only one or two job openings for new graduates. That means that they will try to be highly selective. Students who fail to participate in activities or seek part-time jobs that are in some way related to their areas of interest will find it difficult to create a résumé that will stand out from all of the other students who are applying for the same job.

A two-page résumé that goes into a bit of detail and emphasizes the things that make students stand out will often be the difference between being pulled out of the pile of résumés or remaining at the bottom. Remember, if it’s not on your résumé, it didn’t happen.