Creating a killer resume starts long before your fingers hit the keyboard. In today’s competitive environment, it takes a lot more than good grades to land your dream job. The earlier you can start developing a repertoire of skills and experiences to draw from, the better chance you have at successfully landing your dream job.
The most important resume builder is work experience. Even as a student you should try to work part-time, whether the job is related to your future career aspirations or not. Employers like to see a consistent work history that demonstrates commitment, responsibility and professionalism. Working throughout your studies also proves that you can multi-task and prioritize, which are two key elements to successfully juggling full-time employment in an accounting firm while simultaneously pursuing your CPA designation. Furthermore, there are countless opportunities to develop transferable skills such as communication, adaptability, leadership, and interpersonal relations.
Another element that should not be undersold is the value of volunteer or unpaid experience. This type of work says a great deal about your character and the drivers that motivate you. Volunteering is a great way to make connections and gain experience in fields or industries that are difficult to break into professionally. It is also a great way to give back or pursue a unique interest or hobby. Join or start a student club. Become a member of a relevant organization. Donate your time to a charitable cause. These endeavors will help to expand your network, build your reputation, and contribute to your growing set of skills and experiences. Participating in the activities, events, and projects in your community is a fantastic way to stand out from the pack.
If you really want to differentiate yourself, highlight additional skills or recognition that you may have obtained such as the ability to speak a second language, award achievements, certifications, etc. Supplemental skills or unique experiences are memorable and can often turn into great talking points during an interview. These skills become especially useful if they specifically relate to a job posting. For example, if computer skills are a key part of a role, noting that you’ve taken a course in Excel will be far more convincing than stating that you are “proficient in Microsoft Office.” Similarly, if you know that you are a weak public speaker, consider taking an oral communications program like Toastmasters. Facts and figures add far more credibility than words alone. Not only will it make you a stronger candidate but it is something that you can speak to in the interview. Demonstrating self-awareness and a desire for continuous growth could give you the advantage you’re looking for.