Four Ways to Make Your Resume 'Stand Out in the Crowd'

December 12, 2013

Amanda Goodness '02 at Career iMPACT Summit

by Mary Kate Murray '14

Amanda Goodness '02 returned to Knox College to give a presentation at the Career iMPACT Summit about the importance of resumes and how best to structure them so they help you land a job.

Goodness is a human resources representative at Aramark Healthcare Technologies in Wisconsin, and she has worked for more than 10 years in the company's human resources department. Goodness has reviewed hundreds of resumes in her career.

She highlighted what she believes are the most important things to include on a resume:

1. Current contact information.
Potential employers have to be able to get in touch with you. Resumes should usually include a mailing address, phone number, and an e-mail address.

Goodness says: "It sounds like a no-brainer, but I will tell you, I've seen enough resumes to say: make sure you get a Gmail account with your first name and your last name, or something professional-sounding. SweetiePie23 or beerdrinker44 doesn't work. Make sure your personal e-mail is also professional."

2. A specific objective.
Stating a specific objective in your resume implies that you know what you are getting yourself into, and you are familiar with the field you are applying for, even if you have no experience.

Goodness says: "If you have an objective on [your resume], it does need to be specific. Don't waste ink with ‘I'm looking for an entry-level job at a great company.' When you're applying for a singular job, apply for that singular job. If you have to tailor your resume to say, ‘I want to work in HR,' or ‘I really want to work in marketing,' or ‘I'm really interested in going into this field,' make sure your resume indicates that."

3. Education and experience.
List your education and experience in bullet points. Highlight the experience that's relevant to the job you're seeking.

Goodness says: "I'm not going to tell you that there's one perfect way of [presenting experience], but you do want it to complement the goal that you have in the job you're applying for, or the road and path you're trying to take. Bullet points are your friend. Think of your resume as a summary. It's not going to capture everything in terms of your background, but it's there to open that door."

4. Volunteer work, hobbies, activities, skills, honors.
All of these things are important to include on a resume if they will help you. Make sure to consider what position you are applying for. Listing your interest in cocker spaniels and goat farming might not help you get an office job.

Goodness says: "It's good to include [interests and activities], but make sure you're not putting yourself in a situation where it might inadvertently hurt you."

Other pieces of advice Goodness offered for students seeking employment included: "use your network," "build experience," and when branding yourself on your resume and elsewhere, "consider where you are and where you want to go."