3MWritten by Rebecca Kapogiannis, Manager, Employee Engagement & Recruitment, 3M Canada

Like the old saying goes, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”. First impressions matter, and in the context of a job search an employer’s first impression of you may be your resume. In fact, in many cases your resume is your one and only opportunity to capture a potential employers attention, letting them know why you’re the candidate they’ve been looking for.

Research shows that recruiters spend only a few seconds looking at a resume, deciding whether or not they want to continue reading or move on to the next potential candidate. In today’s competitive job market, job seekers have to do what it takes to stand out from the crowd and differentiate themselves in order to land that job they’ve been looking for.

Resumes help a potential employer to quickly understand relevant information that differentiates you from other applicants. Quick and relevant are the key words there.

A strong resume includes relevant information such as your name and contact information and highlights your education and work experience related to the job you are seeking in a concise manner. Additionally, don’t forget about all of the other great things that set you apart from other applicants – awards, achievements, extracurricular activities and community involvement.

This additional information can help you stand out and allows potential employers to better understand who you are and what you might bring to the role. For example, participation in extracurricular activities such as Enactus, is a great way to demonstrate community involvement along with the ability to manage multiple priorities.

Finally, consider having someone review your resume –  a trusted friend, colleague or even a representative from a career or employment center.