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Tips To Make Your Resume Stand Out
For any given job opening, HR personnel and hiring managers are deluged with resumes. Since they don’t have the time or resources to interview everyone, they are always looking for ways to weed out candidates as quickly as possible. In fact, some merely glance at each resume before deciding whether to toss it in the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ pile. So, it’s imperative that you make those few seconds count.
Here are some ways to make your resume stand out:
1. Use keywords and buzzwords
Incorporate industry keywords and buzzwords into your resume, but don’t overdo it. Use words and phrases like ‘accomplished’, ‘developed’, ‘managed’, and ‘team player’ in the natural language of the document.
2. Tailor your resume
Tune your resume to this specific role, with substantiating detail that shows why you are a great fit for the position. One way to do this is by including all of your skills and experience that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
3. Use a modern, professional format
Format your resume so that it is pleasing to the eye but doesn’t focus more on visuals than content.
4. Make sure it is error-free and easy to read
HR reps equate typos and errors with laziness. Make sure it’s perfectly polished and error-free — and don’t forget to put the most important information on page one.
5. Use a header
Include a clear, hard-hitting statement at the very top of the resume that effectively defines who you are, keeping the specific position in mind. Do not use an objective. Think of it like a billboard.
6. Keep things professional
Don’t include negative information about previous jobs or employers. Don’t discuss your hobbies or personal qualities or politics. Simply stick to your career facts.
7. Include metrics
There’s no better way to demonstrate how you’ll add to the bottom line or cut costs than to show quantifiable achievements. Plus, employers often assume past performance is indicative of future results.
8. Keep the reader’s needs or industry requirements front and center
You need to know what they are looking for in your candidacy. Instead of developing your resume and then conducting a job search, it is wise to research the requirements of several opportunities to get a sense for how you should be presented in terms of branding, focus, and keywords.
9. Customize your resume to tell a story
Your resume should bring the reader through your professional experiences, accomplishments, skills, and knowledge. It should show how you’ve advanced over the years, and what you can bring to the table. Make your resume long enough to tell your story, but short enough to skim in a single sitting. The key is readability and relevance to the job you’re targeting.
10. Don’t overuse fancy fonts and colors
While you don’t want to overdo it, you can use color in a conservative manner to make your resume visually differentiated from the sea of documents the recruiter will review. For example, a subtle navy blue border can be very effective. These effects can draw the recruiter’s eye to the document and make it stand out against the many black and white documents they’ve received. But know that using color on your resume is more acceptable and appropriate in some industries than others.
11. Make it longer than one page if it needs to be
Use the appropriate amount of space for your experience. If you’ve been in the workforce for 15-plus years, do not feel forced to trim information about your achievements to keep to an arbitrary one-page resume rule. Use what you need to, but do not make it unnecessarily long.
12. Supplement your resume with a cover letter
About half of all HR reps say they won’t even read a resume if the candidate hasn’t submitted a cover letter. So, unless the employer explicitly says they don’t want a cover letter, write one.