Having a well written resume can greatly increase your chances of landing more interviews as opposed to being eliminated from consideration due to a sloppy, poorly written resume. Below are five ways to get your resume noticed and stand out amongst the crowd.
1. Your Resume MUST Be Aesthetically Pleasing.
Despite how well written your resume may be, chances are, the hiring manager will not read through it thoroughly. Therefore, a resume MUST first and foremost be aesthetically pleasing to the eye. This can be compared to the first impression one makes during an interview. Typically, an employer can decide within seconds whether or not he/she sees you as a fit for the role, solely based on appearance – the same goes for your resume! Make sure headings, margins and spacing are clean and concise and avoid grammatical errors, pictures or outdated fonts such as Times New Roman (Calibri or Arial are more modern alternatives). Bullet points instead of paragraphs are usually preferred as it may be timely/frustrating to sort through or scan a paragraph or text for highlights of your work experience. Lastly, ALWAYS include dates for company tenures, degrees and/or certifications obtained. Many employers may see it as a “red flag” if dates are purposefully excluded from a resume.
2. Cater Your Resume – Period.
Have you ever heard the expression, “dress for the job you want”? The same could be said about your resume. It is highly advantageous to cater your resume to the industry, the job description or even the hiring manager’s liking. For example, an advertising firm or online marketing agency may appreciate a creative resume design but that doesn’t mean that you should submit that same resume to an organization within the financial services industry. You may also cater to a job description by purposefully bringing attention to certain technologies or skills you may be strong in that are listed on the that job description. Catering to a hiring manager’s liking can be tricky considering you probably don’t know nor have met that person prior to the interview. When coaching candidates through the interview process, I always recommend that they take a look at the hiring manager’s LinkedIn profile and take note of their background and career path to see what similarities or parallels you may share.
3. Do Away With “The Objective.”
Although still seen on many resume templates today, “The Objective” or “Career Summary” is unnecessary in today’s world. People often confuse the two and from a hiring manager’s perspective, they start to sound monotonous after having reviewed so many resumes. Your objective is usually assumed when applying for a particular position and your career summary should be clearly defined throughout your resume. Your time could be better spent strengthening other sections of your resume. Remember, you only have a few seconds to make a good impression by grabbing the hiring manager’s attention right from the beginning, which brings me to my next point.
4. Prioritize Content.
Prioritizing your content is highly important and may be the differentiating factor that gets you an interview offer over the next candidate. Prioritizing content not only applies to the overall resume but to individual sections as well. Your most recent professional experience should always be listed first as many employers tend to view it as the most important piece of a resume due to its relevancy. You also want to make sure to include the most important skills and experiences at the top of individual sections such as a “Technical Skills” section. Some examples may include leadership experience, specific technologies used, time invested in specific projects and the impact or value you brought to an organization.
5. Back Up Your Strengths & Qualities.
This may be the most difficult part of writing a resume for many but should, in nature, be the easiest part. Rather than listing the “typical” qualities or adjectives as everyone else (i.e. problem-solver, creative, self-motivated), stand out by tying them to real-life work experiences. In short, back up your strengths and qualities so that it doesn’t appear that you are trying to “puff up” or exaggerate things. Simply stating that you are capable of something or describing attributes does not always catch the hiring manager’s attention. Showing the value of your work and relating it to tangible results will more likely impress an employer and significantly improve your chances of attaining an interview request.
At the end of the day – remember that no one resume is perfect for every job so it is important to cater your resume to the job you want. However, you can always catch the hiring manager’s attention by presenting an aesthetically pleasing resume, prioritizing your most relevant experience and backing up your strengths and qualities by attaching them to tangible results. Adhering to these five helpful tips will significantly increase your odds of earning a closer look and receiving that interview offer you’ve been eagerly waiting for!