What Do Employers Want to See on Your Resume?


The Sage Corps HQ team has reviewed more than 5,000 resumes from program applicants and we’ve worked with dozens of alumni to polish their one-pagers. We see leadership experience that blows us away. We see really meaningful transferable skills highlighted. And we see the same issues—the not-so-great kinds of issues—over and over and over again. Add over and over and over a few more times and you’ll get the full picture.

Top schools. Impressive GPAs. Relevant Coursework. All good. But the problems come in the Experience section. Don’t worry; these common problems are easily solved. And before you send your resume to another potential employer, they must be.

Problem #1: Verbs

Invited. Selected. Introduced. Accepted. Participated. Ok, fine, but definitely not “wow” worthy. It’s great to get invited to join, be selected out of many, be introduced to new concepts, be accepted into a competitive program. What is way more important is what you contributed. So, don’t ditch the list above but make sure to follow up with much more meaningful, active verbs such as:

  • Analyzed

  • Pitched

  • Achieved

  • Exceeded

  • Devised (a solution to…)

  • Streamlined

  • Implemented

  • Designed

Problem #2: Metrics

There is no better way to show your value than to include key metrics on your resume. Don’t go crazy, but a few carefully placed pieces of data will make a huge difference. Some great examples, right from the resumes of Sage Corps alumni.

"Achieved 1400% increase in web traffic by analyzing..."

"Increased customer base by 500% by driving B2B and B2C sales…"

"Managed a $45,000 budget over the course of the summer that included a variety of social and cultural events"

Problem #3: You’re Thinking Like a Student

Employers think differently than your friends and your professors. You want their first impression to be the best it can be. Be polished. That means proof your resume multiple times and make sure to have someone in the working world take a look at it as well. Edit out unnecessary details. The Interests section that LOTS of students include is usually fluff. INTERESTS: Reading, traveling, coding, eating burgers. Yes, we’ve seen it all. Unless you’ve authored a book or climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, don’t include. If one of your genuine interests is coding, there will be plenty of evidence on the rest of your resume. And, because this is the last section that an employer sees, it may leave a bland impression.

Now, it’s your turn. Try to incorporate these tips into your resume, then follow up with an advisor at your university’s career center for feedback.

Do you have any resume tips for fellow college students and recent graduates? Let us know in the comment section below!