4 ways to help your resume stand out
October 8, 2019
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I have reviewed countless resumes throughout my recruiting career. And I’ve seen it all — the good and the not-so-good.
Want to know what makes a striking resume that will really catch a recruiter’s eye? Think differently.
Here’s one example: Scanning through new applications for an entry-level marketing role, I came across an interesting file that read: “OPEN ME.” Of course, my curiosity got the best of me, and I opened the elaborate, flashy, fun PowerPoint presentation containing the candidate’s information and work history.
By putting in the extra effort to make the resume stand out, the candidate quickly got attention — and the interview. I happily routed the resume to the hiring manager.
1. Review and reformat.
Review your resume to see what you can improve. It could be as simple as choosing a different style, updating fonts or reorganizing your information. There are plenty of free templates available online.
If it looks like you are adding another page to your already two- or three-page resume, eliminate jobs that are not relevant to the one in which you are interested.
And it’s no longer necessary to include “References made available upon request”. An interested employer will request references when needed.
2. Add hyperlinks.
Hyperlinks can be used to replace information without sacrificing integrity. Replace brief descriptions of companies you’ve worked for by adding a link to their website.
Including a link to your professional profile is vital. Today’s hiring managers tend to look at the Skills and Endorsements page of your LinkedIn profile.
If you have work samples you’d like to showcase, create a separate web-page and direct hiring managers there. Include a hyperlink to any awards and recognitions you’ve received to add credibility to your success.
3. Show; don’t just tell.
A recent Cambridge University study noted that an average recruiter only spends six seconds reviewing a resume. Can you get to the “meat” of your resume in six seconds?
The phrase, “Don’t tell me; show me,” resonated with me from one of my writing mentors. If you can add some cool graphics to tell your professional story on your resume, do so.
Here are a few examples of unique, creative resumes, ranging from cool to completely extreme. Be professional, but have fun with your resume. Just remember to be thoughtful about your color and font choices.
While most applicant tracking systems can now accept a wide variety of document formats, always save your file in Microsoft Word or as a PDF as well.
4. Proofread, proofread, proofread.
Never underestimate the power of a spelling and grammar error-free resume. For recruiters and hiring managers, a well-written resume is a reflection of your professional self.
While free proofreading tools exist, it’s also important to ask a well-trusted colleague or friend to review your resume. The extra set of eyes really helps, especially if you’ve spent hours writing and rewriting that document.
Here's wishing you the best of luck in your job-search endeavors.
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