Your child has dedicated a large amount of time and effort to his/her college education and experience, and accomplished a great deal. You know it. Your family knows it, but when it comes to landing that first job or internship, your child needs to make sure the recruiting director knows it!

With the improved job market and rise in job recruiting and hiring, it’s not easy to make a resume stand out. Competition can be fierce when hundreds, even thousands, of students apply for the same jobs. With so many candidates, the hiring manager or recruiting director is probably going to spend less than 15 seconds looking at a resume!

Fortunately, if your child knows how to write a great resume, and understands what the organization is looking for, she can pass the 15 second test and get the interview. When you think about it, a resume is really just like an ad. And to write a good ad, you need to know your target and know what they want to see.

The single most important way to impress a recruiting director is focusing on specific accomplishments. This is where virtually every college student fails.

Most job seekers write job description resumes. They simply tell the reader what anyone in that particular position would do, as opposed to what they specifically accomplished. Here’s an example:

PresidentHabitat for Humanity, Spring Hill College chapter, 2019 – Present

  • Oversaw activities and development of projects
  • Developed relationship with administration and community volunteers
  • Collaborated with representatives to manage learning and service opportunities
  • Ran all chapter meetings

While this may sound decent, it’s really quite generic. It not only describes what this person does, but it basically describes what ANY President has ever done, in the history of Habitat for Humanity, whether at Spring Hill College or another chapter. In his mind, this student knows what he did and what he accomplished, but the recruiting director has no idea when you write a generic job description resume.

If what is written on a resume can be written by the person who did the job, before, with, or after your child, then she hasn’t done herself justice. Resumes need to be infused with numbers, data, records, and accomplishments. These quantifiable and measurable details will dramatically improve a resume. When listing accomplishments, have your child think about the following:

  • How was the organization/department better as a result of her involvement?
  • What did she specifically accomplish?
  • How did she do it differently than the person before, after, or next to her?
  • Was she ever singled out for superior work?
  • Use facts and figures whenever possible.

Accomplishments can be emphasized on a resume through two categories: scope and results. Scope covers the size of what’s been done. How much, how often, how many. Hiring managers can be a skeptical lot. A line like: “Oversaw activities and development of projects” is incredibly vague. It could mean two projects, with three people each, or it could mean 100 projects with more than 1,000 volunteers. The reader has no idea. Unfortunately, if a recruiting director doesn’t see a number, the natural inclination is to assume it was a small or meaningless accomplishment.

The next thing to think about is results. It’s one thing to do a job, and it’s quite another to do a job well. Obviously, a company wants to hire a superior achiever – someone with a track record of success. A resume should ideally be all about successes. Have your child think about the direct results of his actions, and consider both personal and team achievements.

A resume that focuses on accomplishments by including both scope and results is incredibly powerful. Take a look at the revised resume entry below. Same exact candidate, same exact job, yet a totally different resume.

PresidentHabitat for Humanity, Spring Hill College chapter, 2019 – Present

  • Oversaw development of 10 building projects involving over 200 student volunteers
  • Created a 12-member board comprised of students, administrators, and community members to develop a 3-year strategic plan
  • Developed curriculum for Spring Hill’s first-ever service symposium, a three-day workshop attended by 80 students
  • Ran weekly chapter meetings and instituted incentive system improving attendance by 40%

It’s apparent that this resume is dramatically better than the previous version. It’s specific, it’s tangible, and it paints a clear picture of an accomplished job candidate.

Organizations are looking for the “easy” hire. They want to bring someone onboard who can make a difference and contribute from day one. A resume is the one shot to let them know your child can do the job.

By writing an “accomplishment” resume and by focusing on your target audience, your child shows the organization that he is the ideal candidate for the job.

Brad Karsh is President of JobBound (www.jobbound.com), a company dedicated to helping college students with resume writing, interviewing, and landing that dream job. Author of Confessions of a Recruiting Director: The Insider’s Guide to Landing Your Fist Job(Prentice Hall Press), Brad is considered the nation’s leading expert on the job search. He’s been featured on CNN’s Paula Zahn Now, CNN Headline News, and CNBC and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Fortune, and many others.