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How to Make Your Resume Stand Out

How to Make Your Resume Stand Out

How To Make a Resume Stand Out

There have been a few articles and comments stating that resume's are either no longer required or are not as important as they once were. This may be true for specific roles. However, for the vast majority of hiring managers, recruiters, and companies, a resume is still vitally important.

A resume is the first representation of who you are to hiring managers, recruiters, and companies. Thus, it is critcally important that job seekers make their resume stand out from the crowd during their job search.

Also, with many employers utilizing an applicant tracking system, it is important that resumes are organized and include language specific to the job descriptions for which they are applying for, to be considered for a role.

What can you do?

There are a few things you can do to make your resume stand out to a potential employer from the rest. First, make sure your resume is clear, concise, and free of any typos or grammatical errors.

Second, highlight your most relevant (based on the job description) skills and experience in a way that is easily digestible for the reader.

Finally, consider using creative formatting or design elements to give your resume an edge over the competition.

Research

Before you begin to create or update your resume to apply for a position, it is important that you do a little bit of research on the role and company you are applying for, and even the hiring manager or recruiter who posted the job.

Through research you can learn the culture of the company and industry you are applying for (if you did not know this already). You may also learn information about the hiring managers or recruiters (i.e. where they went to school, previous employers/industries, etc.) that could benefit you in crafting your resume.

If you utilize the information you have gathered to influence the content and layout of your resume you are already miles ahead of the competition. Even if another candidate may have better qualifications, if they have not done the legwork required to develop a quality resume, it might not show during the application process.

Remember, you need to know the particulars of the job description, the company/industry, and the hiring manager and/or recruiter in order to craft the most effective resume. Ultimately, you need to do everything you can to not give the hiring manager or recruiter a reason to bypass your resume.

Grammar

When it comes to making your resume stand out, first and foremost, you want to make sure that it is free of any errors. If a hiring manage or recruiter notices typos or grammatical errors in your resume it is a sign that you are either lazy, lack attention to detail, not interested in the job, or all of the above.

Typos and grammatical mistakes can immediately set your resume apart from the rest – in a bad way. This is perhaps the easiest and consistent resume advice anyone will give you. No matter what job you are applying for, or where you are at in your career, a resume void of typos or grammatical errors is extremely important.

Be sure to proofread your resume multiple times before sending it off, or better yet, have someone else look it over for you.

Content

In terms of content, you want to focus on highlighting your most relevant skills and experience. You don’t need to include every single job or task you’ve ever had – just the ones that are most pertinent to the position you’re applying for. Keep your descriptions brief and to the point, using bullet points or short paragraphs rather than long, drawn-out sentences.

An area in content which a lot of applicants do not pay enough attention to is that they list their responsibilities, and not their accomplishments. A hiring manager or recruiter is interested in what you actually accomplished in your career, not just the responsibilities you had. Listing job duties is not a good route if you want to stand out from the competition and capture your dream job.

Further, your resume is not a document where being humble is to your benefit. It is important to be proud of your accomplishments and to showcase them.

Where it might be beneficial to also list your responsibilities is if you are trying to emphasize your technical skills. Listing responsbilities that showcase these or the proficiency of your technical skills would be beneficial. It helps to envision yourself as the hiring manager. What areas in your background, experience, and skill set do you believe would separate you from the crowd if you were in their position?

Remember, it is important to tailor your resume to the job you are applying for. This will require additional work, however it is critical if you are serious about getting the job you are applying for.

Think about it this way. If two candidates have the exact same qualifications, who is more likely to move forward in the application process?

The candidate that uses the same resume for multiple openings and does not tailor their resume for the specific job, or the candidate who took the time to tailor their resume for the specific job opportunity?

Yes, you need a summary up top

Generally a resume summary will take between 15 and 20 words. Starting with an introductory introduction. You can add and summarize your experience on your resume. Just be very brief. Its an excellent, short elevator pitch. When recruiters see a resume they usually give it about 6 seconds before they decide whether to keep reading or not. Thus, be efficient and effective when crafting your summary.

Don't worry too much about gaps

One common question asked frequently is how do they fill out a resume gap if one is unable to work? If you did something relevant during these times, you could include it here. If you have any positive explanations you could explain this in a cover letter. Although a gap on your resume will need to be explained, luckily the viewpoint of hiring managers and recruiters has changed over the years in regards to a career gap. 87% of employers say hiring managers do not consider candidates who have a career gap a warning sign anymore.

Align your LinkedIn profile

Your profile on LinkedIn will have the same importance you have in your resume. Ensure your presentation is identical or close to it. You shouldn't just copy your resume, because LinkedIn can be quite different. Your LinkedIn profile should be a summarized version of your resume. Remember, if you are selected for an interview it is highly likely the hiring manager or recruiter will review your LinkedIn profile. Thus, if there is drastic discrepancies in your LinkedIn profile vs. your resume it could raise red flags.

Layout

Finally, consider using some creative formatting or design elements to really make your resume pop. Use infographics or charts to visualize your experience and skills, or incorporate bold colors or imagery to catch the eye of the reader.

Just be sure not to go overboard – you want your resume to look professional, not like a child’s art project.

This can be one of the more difficult resume tips to apply to positions you are applying for. Generally, the more creative role you are applying for the more liberty you can take with the visual elements of your resume.

If you are applying for graphic design jobs you can probably be more creative than if you are applying for jobs at an accounting firm - no offense to accounting pros :).

However, as stated earlier you will still want to utilize bullet points and short sentences rather than long paragraphs. At some point (after the applicant tracking system filter) your resume will be read by a human. This human is reading many resumes and thus you want to ensure your resume is easy to read and understand.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your resume will be noticed and given serious consideration by potential employers. Just remember to proofread, focus on relevant experience, and get creative!

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