In the last year of college, any soon-to-be graduate begins to panic. The days when you sleep in until noon, wear nothing but sweatpants and college hoodies and get generous bank account donations from your parents (you mean I have to pay for that?) are long gone, and you have to think about other life plans beyond what you are going to do this weekend. Why is this? Oh yeah, you need to find a “real” job.

Soon your life begins to consist of job applications and trying to remember what your writing class professors said about the best way to write your resume. You ask yourself, what will I do if I don’t find a job? I do not want to live with my parents forever.

Through all of my HR courses at school and tips/tricks I have learned during my internship, I have picked up on a few key ways to make your resume stronger and more professional:

Use powerful attention-grabbing verbs
There are common words everyone uses to describe what they do at their job. But do you want to be like everyone else or do you want to stand out? Turn these common words into verbs to show the hiring manager that you are the proactive candidate they are looking for.

Examples include verbs such asmanaged, created, collaborated, exceeded, implemented, influenced, directed, developed, etc.

Proofread everything
This should be obvious, but it is easy to miss a few errors when you’ve been reviewing the same page for an hour. You may not notice, but the hiring manager definitely will. Make sure you have at least two other people review your resume for any mistakes that might have slipped your eye.

Make it stand out
Hiring managers review multiple resumes in a row and after a while they all blend together, especially with the same black and white word template. You don’t have to be a graphic designer, but add a unique touch to help make it stand out. Just make sure the focus still stays on the content of your resume rather than a busy design. 

These are a few of my most important tips and tricks for building a resume that will grab the attention of an HR recruiter.

What are some of your tips for building a great resume?