How Can You Make Your Resume Stand Out From the Competition?
Your resume is arguably the first chance you have to sell yourself to a potential employer. It is also what decides whether or not you get called in for an interview. Recruiters today receive hundreds of resumes for each job posting, and your resume ends up as one of the many papers in a large stack. Making your resume stand out in a crowded job market will catch the eye of the hiring manager and make sure your resume gets you through the front door for an interview—not in the reject pile. Here are a few creative tips to make your resume stand out from the competition’s.
Your resume should not look like an online dating profile. Your personal details should be limited to your name, contact information (address, e-mail, and phone number) and a (professional) LinkedIn profile or website if you have one. There is no need for anything as personal as marital status. Keep this content condensed at the top of the page. The focus should be on your work experience.
The average time a recruiter takes to glance over your resume in their initial read through is four to seven seconds. Format your resume in a logical (sequential) order, and use headers and bullets to keep your content clean and easy to scan. Long paragraphs clutter the page and make it harder for a recruiter or hiring manager to find the information they’re really looking for. Brevity is much appreciated.
Include relevant employment history
Many applicants make the mistake of giving a reverse chronological laundry list of every job they’ve ever worked. Again, this just buries the important information. A recruiter doesn’t need (or care) to know that you handed out shoes at the bowling alley in high school. Make your resume stand out by focusing on the job experience that is relevant to the position at hand. Making your resume highly relevant will catch the eye of the reviewer.
Re-order your skill set
Three things prospective employers care about are your skill set, what you are good at, and what you can offer the company. Make sure your skills section lists your abilities in order of importance to the job you’re applying for. How do you know which skills the employer finds to be most important? They are the ones they list in the job description.
Employers should be able to figure out what type of person you are just by looking at your resume. To really stand out, you need your resume to show, rather than tell, this information. Give details about volunteer work you’ve done, blogs you’ve written, professional groups you’re involved with or events you’ve organized. This gives the employer a taste of your interests outside of work.
Consider design elements
If you really want your personality to shine through, consider adding subtle personal flair to make your resume unique. For example, try adding infographics to display your skills and abilities with pictures. If you can logically illustrate information, it will impress the reader. A few small design elements can be very engaging, but don’t over do it.
Show your passion
One of the top ways to convince the reader you’re the right person for the job is to communicate your passion for the business. Do your research and talk to current employees. Showing common interests definitely helps put you ahead of the competition.
After you have finished writing your resume, show it to a friend or mentor to get a second opinion. They’ll be able to give you feedback and catch any errors you may have overlooked. Once they have finished, give it to someone else for review. The more eyes (and feedback) the better. Crafting the perfect resume takes time and effort, but if it is done well, it can differentiate you from the competition.
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