Students who are creating their first resume for college, internships, and job opportunities need to stand out from the crowd. It can be difficult to lay out all of your skills on your resume, especially during the college admissions process when pressures are high. If you want to maximize your success you have to think outside of the box and go digital.
Taking your digital resume to the next level is sometimes easier said than done (especially if this is your first resume).
So, we asked 7 experts to share their best advice for creating a digital resume that stands out from the crowd.
1. Create a website that showcases your video resume
Jacob Dayan, Finance Pal
When it comes to students using a personal website for their resume, there are many options to choose from. A simple landing page may suffice for most student’s needs. Often, they are a single page where candidates can have a short bio, links to their relevant social media accounts, and a variety of other things students might want to show off. Tools like Google sites, about.me, or strikingly.com are great for creating a striking landing page. Note that some sites allow you to add more pages in addition to your homepage, see what’s out there.
Another option is to create a full-blown website with multiple pages. These will obviously take up a bit more time, but done properly, it can pay off in the end. It’s important to note, however, that students shouldn’t create too many pages to the point where it becomes tedious and time consuming to crawl the website in search of information. Sites like WordPress, Squarespace, etc. all have easy and clean looking templates you can choose from to help streamline the process.
Lastly, create a video resume: keep it professional, have some of your friends watch it and give you some feedback! Search around and look at different video resumes out there and resources on how to make them.
2. Don’t just create a digital resume, build your online brand
Josh Ochs, SmartSocial.com
A high school resume website gives students everything they need to build their high school resume in a digital format. With Google results being the new digital resume, it’s important for students to dominate their online presence. Building a personal website is a great way for students to shine online, show their unique personality, and dominate their search results.
Students should use their personal website to show off their school projects, hobbies, passion work, volunteer work or family vacation/travel photos. Regardless of what goes on the website, it will allow a future employer/college to match a face to a name, increasing the chances that your student stands out from the hundreds of other applicants.
A good brand meets the needs of a college, employer, or reader and is easy for Google to discover (so they can list it towards the top of their Google results). If your student needs help building their student portfolio website from scratch, tips for selecting a domain name with Google-friendly keywords, purchasing a domain the right way, or more, join our Website Workshop and get all of the tools you need to impresses colleges/future employers.
3. Present future business ambitions
Kristen Moon, Moon Prep
For students who want their LinkedIn to stand out on their application, add a headline that quickly highlights the essential parts of the student’s profile. An example headline can be “Student, Researcher, and Volunteer.”
Students should create a customizable LinkedIn URL as it makes it easy for people to find you and adding a professional profile helps to create a strong first impression.
Together, we work with students to create a succinct summary which included present and future business ambitions. An example could be, “An aspiring physician interested in internal medicine and research committed to academic excellence and hands-on learning experiences, including job shadowing an internalist, leading the STEM team, tutoring students, volunteering, and playing the flute.”
To make their LinkedIn page come to life, students should add any related images, documents, or videos. Included pictures from volunteering hours at the local shelter, videos of musical performances, and links to research proposals.
A resume and LinkedIn profile is an excellent way for students to become a tangible human being to the admissions counselors.
4. Include software you’re familiar with on your digital resume
Jason Patel, Transizion
You want to demonstrate to employers that they won’t need to train you as much as as another applicant if you were hired. This saves the company time and resources. As such, you should include applications, programs, and software that you’re familiar with in a work capacity. This tells employers that not only do you have a diverse range of software experience but you also can get up to speed really quickly.
Additionally, since you have extra room on your personal website, add visuals of your projects and results. While usually improper to include visuals in a paper resume, your online website should become your portfolio, where any employer can visually grasp the importance and results of your work. Visuals simply have a way of conveying a story that words do not. Examples of visuals include brochures for design projects, annual reports for development and fundraising work, or memos and briefs for research assignments.
Next, I strongly recommend keeping the site clean and emphasizing user experience. There are a few tricks to creating powerful landing pages. First, your headshot and a headline that summarizes your professional/educational experience should appear above the fold – this is the first thing a visitor sees. Keep it orderly and unintimidating. Second, use large enough font and small paragraphs to break up copy on your personal website. Remember, no one will care to review your impressive experience if it’s hard to read.
Last, the site should load quickly, so keep images lightweight and use a content distribution network if needed. A slow site leaves a bad first impression.
5. Further emphasize your skills in a way that a one-page resume cannot
Ren Jones, Rennovate It
The key to a digital resume, when being used as a website, is to use it to further emphasize your skills in a way that a one-page resume cannot (rather than just restating what your resume already has). An effective way to do this is to use your digital platform as your portfolio to show examples of specific things you created using specific tools. For instance, if you are great with Photoshop, show some work you’ve done with Photoshop with before-and-after images. Or if you created something amazing in InDesign, show it off.
Emphasize which programs you used to create these items. Another key element is keeping your webpage up-to-date, or at least making it seem as though it is up-to-date by keeping blog posts recent if you have them (or avoiding timestamps altogether), and ensuring that your design is up-to-date as well. If you have teacher reviews, even if they were only verbal, add them to your site! Include organizations that you are a part of, volunteer work (it is great to include pictures if you have them), and don’t be afraid to show some of your personality. Your digital resume should make someone else feel as though they know you and your talent.
6. Align your technical competencies to the profession you are seeking
Ketan Kapoor, Mettl
A digital resume is not about description, it’s about demonstration and validation through real experiences. I think Canva can be very helpful in designing a resume. A wide variety of apt and professional designs, fonts, and formats are within your reach catering to a lot of professions and specializations.
When you have finalized your design, have a crisp summary of personal information and mention your hard and soft skills.
With regards to your hard skills, align your technical competencies to the profession you are seeking; reflect the breadth and depth of all that you have done and achieved in your student life. Add detailed descriptions about projects you have done and link to Google Sheets, documents, presentations, or videos if you have any.
With regards to your soft skills, validate all of them by conjuring your extra-curricular activities in your mind and giving ample examples of them in your digital portfolio. If you say you are risk-taking, highlight any projects you have completed that shows you could have failed but you took the chance anyway. If you say you’re adventurous, add pictures of your trips and activities, videos, your social feed, your personal website, or anything that exemplifies your claims.
Bonus Tip: Add a video to your digital resume where you speak about all your skills like: communication skills, negotiation skills, your core skills, your hobbies, and any achievements that you are really proud of. It will reflect who you are as a person and what your aspirations and motivations are.
7. Showcase the results of your skills
Nick Le, Gridfiti
A digital resume is a great thing to have on file, but the things that you include on your digital resume need to stand out. It is important to state the skills you have, but it is also important for you to showcase how you’ve used your skill set in a project. If you claim that you are great in digital marketing or SEO, create a blog where you can provide proof that you’ve driven traffic to a website. If you have social media skills, approach a local business and offer to run their social page for free in order to drive results that you can show on your digital resume.
Everyone can state their skills, but not everyone can back it up with results. You might not get positive results all the time, but you can at least show that you’re experimenting and can provide insight on why the results turned out the way that they did. Having actual hands on experience in the industry can give you major benefits when applying for jobs.
If your student wants to stand out from the competition during the college admissions process then it’s imperative that they have a powerful digital resume. While most students will utilize their digital resume to list their skill set, students who showcase the results of their skills will have a better chance of impressing colleges and their future employers. Using metrics, showing results, linking to project assets, building a positive online brand, and creating videos are all great additions to a regular student resume.
We want to hear from you! What are your best tips for creating a powerful student resume?