Does your resume work for you, or against you? No matter how badly you want a job, or how qualified you are for that job, if the hiring manager reads through your resume and immediately trips over hard-to-ignore mistakes, that resume is going to be tossed aside.
And even if the text is error free, if it reads just like the previous 486 resumes she read, she is probably still going to put it in her “not worth reading” pile with the others.
To make your resume noticeable you need to focus on doing three things impeccably well: being creative, being compelling, and staying error-free:
1) Be creative, be you!
It sounds like a bad infomercial, but it’s true. Your resume has to reflect your personality. It’s especially important if you’re working in a creative industry where innovation is required. Your resume has to echo your unconventional and artistic aspects.
Sticking to a traditional resume template implies that you’re able to follow rules. Showing your creative touch, however, will give you a winning point against your competitors.
2) Be meaningful:
Does your resume include empty words such as “best of breed” or “go-getter” or “strategic thinker”?
These words are in fact often blacklisted by hiring managers. Including them in your resume will mean you risk getting yourself ignored.
While there was a time when these words impressed everyone in the human resources department, today they’re more often seen as annoying. These terms that were once seen as stellar personality qualities are now meaningless; when you actually use them you distract the person reading your resume from worthwhile information you could be mentioning.
So instead of filling your resume with pointless jargon, use powerful keywords the hiring manager is looking for. You can find the most relevant resume keywords in job ads and the career market in general.
For instance, if you’re a web designer, your resume needs to include keywords such as, HTML, CSS, Java Script, Illustrator, or mobile design.
Relevant keywords will ensure your resume will pop up when the hiring manager is searching through hundreds of resumes for the ideal candidate.
The importance of proofreading and editing cannot be stressed enough. Although a hiring manager knows one spelling mistake or typo can be forgivable, they will still tend to ruthlessly judge and even reject you for a linguistic slip-up. After all, if you’ve not bothered to correct your mistakes before you’re hired, will you bother once you’ve gotten the job?
Proofread your resume, and if you’re not sure you can spot all errors, hand it to a professional. You really can’t risk getting rejected over an embarrassing typo, can you?
4) Make a good first (visual) impression:
For better or worse, your accomplishments are not the only thing affecting the hiring manager’s decision. The first impression he or she will get is from the overall layout, formatting, and structure of your resume.
Use a single font size and you’ll be boring the reader to death. Choose unprofessional fonts like Comic Sans and your resume won’t be forwarded to the hiring committee – it’ll be handed around a laughing group of secretaries before it’s put in the discard bin.
Formatting, layout, and resume structure need to be carefully chosen to ensure your resume visually stands out without going overboard.
To grab attention, your resume needs to follow a logical structure. For instance, put your contact information first and then your education. Work experience comes first if you’ve graduated more than 10 years ago.
Don’t forget to use different fonts and font sizes to draw attention to the places you want the hiring manager to linger, namely on your successes and accomplishments.
5) State your objective:
Many people advise against describing an objective on your resume, arguing that it’s redundant. We beg to differ; having an objective shows you’ve taken the time to imagine yourself at the position you’re applying for. It reveals a person who’s meticulous, determined, and driven.
6) Quantify your accomplishments:
Rather than filling your resume with vague descriptions, you should try to paint a more direct picture with numbers.
Numbers stick out. The reader wants to know the story behind a number, don’t simply say something vague and impersonal, like this:
“Helped increase the online community of XXX company with strategic social media marketing initiatives.”
Instead, help the reader really see the scope of the accomplishment by using a sentence like this:
“Increased social media engagement by XX% and achieved XX% lead generation increase for XXX company through social media marketing campaigns.”
Implement these tips and you will make your resume more noticeable, increasing your chances of landing your dream job. Good luck!
Author: Chassie Lee is the Content Expert for eReflect.