Writing the perfect resume can be tricky for anybody who’s in the middle of the hiring process. On the one hand, it’s easy to simply update the resume you last used 7 years ago to land a position. On the other hand, times are changing, and today’s resumes really need to pack a punch in order to stand out from the crowd.
If you’re worried your resume looks exactly the same as everyone else’s, consider using one of these 5 tips to make your resume pop:
1. Use keywords.
The sad fact of life today is that if you don’t use the right words in your resume, you won’t be found. If you call yourself a “grammar checker extraordinaire” instead of a “proofreader,” your resume may never even get pulled when hiring managers check their automated applicant system for the latest editing job. While these systems have made it easier than even for hiring managers, it can be harder for applicants. Neglect to use the right keywords, and you could be toast.
The best way to ensure you’re using the right words for the job is to simply look at the job description, and borrow the company’s phrasing. Why? Because that’s likely what they’ll search for when sorting resumes.
2. Consider your formatting.
So you have to use specific words to get found in a job search. That doesn’t mean you can’t stand out from the pack. One of the best ways to make your resume look sharp is use great formatting. A stylish font choice or even selective use of color or design can make your resume look different from everyone else’s. These days, even Google is offering free resume designs, so don’t be afraid to show a little personality with formatting flair. After all, the average resume only gets 5 – 7 seconds of attention, so make ‘em count.
3. Include your credentials.
Sure, you went to college and got a degree – but so did everybody else applying for the job. Stand out by including your “extra” credentials. For example, a weekend workshop you took or conference you attended could help you stand out. These days, you can even add badges to your resume to verify background screening checks. It’s the little touches that matter, so to stand out, make sure you include them.
4. Get creative.
Some of today’s most high-profile jobseekers are turning away from resumes entirely and using videos, Twitter accounts and even Facebook advertising to get on the radar of their favorite companies. It’s a bold move to step away from a resume, but it’s definitely creative.
You can also get creative with resumes, including more “designed” options. Just make sure you’re aware that a resume like this may not always resonate, and should be tailored for each organization you’re applying to.
5. Give ‘em the numbers.
All HR managers have read the “played a critical role at XYZ Company” a million times. Don’t just use vague sentences and phrases to show off what you did in previous positions. Where possible, add in statistics and numbers. It makes your general statements about leadership more powerful when you say, “Increased productivity 75% through training seminars.”
Not sure where you can get numbers? Think about things like retention rate (client or employee), units sold, quarters with improved sales or even simply quantity of work produced. There are lots of different ways you can use numbers, so find some that work for you.
Your resume is often the first impression employers get of you, before they call you in for an interview or hire a screening service for a more thorough background check. Show them that you mean business with a fantastic, up-to-date resume.