The basics of a resume are really pretty boring. Technically, it’s a list of what you’ve accomplished professionally. In a stack of hundreds of others, either in physical or electronic format, yours can be easily buried and forgotten. You deserve better than that, though.
The majority of human resources staff say they spend less than 2 minutes looking at a resume. That’s just 120 seconds to show the reader that the person on paper is worth the opportunity to land the job.
So how can you make your resume stand out from your peers?
Break the Mold
Start with a template if it helps, but make sure the final draft of your resume looks nothing like the original. Change the font, the text size and of course, the information. Avoid gimmicks, like bright colors, images, or large text, but find professional-looking ways to break up the text. Bullet points, bold font and italics are a few ways to accomplish that.
Show Your Personality
The facts should be the biggest driving factor of your resume, but when you find a place to tell a little bit of a story, do it. This could mean adding awards or recognition highlights after an employment listing or even a section on community involvement or volunteer work. How are you different from the other people with the same professional experiences?
If you send the same form resume to every job listing, it will show. Start with a basic format and then adjust your experiences and wording based on what the new job wants. For example, if the new position is in management, move your supervisory experience up the list so it catches the eye of the reader immediately. You should also highlight any areas or expertise that the job posting lists. Make it appear that you are only applying for the job at hand – not the dozens of others you may actually be seeking.
Use Positive Language
There is a psychology to winning in life and it starts with positive energy. If you had a bad experience at a particular job, leave it off the resume. Don’t highlight the skills you don’t have or try to compensate. Focus instead on the areas where you are already qualified. When a resume exudes confidence and expertise, it shows.
Make it Perfect
When you think you’ve completed your resume, read over it out loud. Have a friend or family member read over it next. Email it to a few other people, preferably in your industry. Ask them to look for obvious mistakes like typos or wrong word choice, but ask them additionally for feedback. Is the resume too dry? Is it missing anything? Take that feedback and create a second draft.
A resume is just a piece of paper (or electronic version of one) but it holds so much power. Make yours the best it can be with these tips to improve your chances of landing a perfect job, and keeping it.