Lots of resume advice focuses on avoiding mistakes, but that’s only part of the equation–not even the most important part.
You don’t stand out merely by avoiding mistakes. You must also make the most of your accomplishments. This is a lot more complex than running spellcheck, and it’s absolutely crucial to demonstrating why someone should hire you.
Today I found one of the rare articles that shows ways to present often-overlooked accomplishments: 10 Things That Aren’t On Your Resume (But Should Be) by Mark S. Babbitt (@MarkSBabbitt).
Mark suggests nine categories to consider other than professional experience:
- Social Media Savvy
- Freelance Projects
- Theses, Studies, and White Papers
- Content Creation
- Relevant Industry Competitions
- Relevant Industry Conferences
- Anything Leadership
- Reverse Mentorship
There’s a lot of potential in these categories, especially for people lacking traditional experience (students, recent graduates, career changers, returning to work).
One key with all of these: don’t just list that you know something, or that you showed up at a conference. That’s the bare minimum. Go beyond that by showing what you did with the knowledge or experience. Show how you improved something. Show your math–meaning the relevant metrics.
Also, I disagree with the author’s recommendation to omit relevant coursework from degrees. Especially if a candidate accomplished something meaningful to employers as part of a class. That’s squarely in the wheelhouse of demonstrating accomplishment, and has the side effect of raising the return on investment for a degree that cost years, effort, and tens of thousands of dollars. Relevant experience + relevant keywords + burnishing an existing asset = an easy win. Not something to be discarded.