Career Advancement

Tips to Make Your Resume Stand Out From the Competition

When compiling writing your resume, one of your main goals is to impress hiring managers and get selected for an interview, therefore you should do everything you can to ensure it stands out from the crowd.

For any given job opening, hiring personnel are overwhelmed with a lot of relevant and irrelevant resumes. Since they don't have the time or resources to review everyone, they are always looking for eye-catching ways to weed out and shortlist candidates as quickly as possible. In fact, some merely glance at the first page of each resume before deciding whether to toss it in the "yes" or "no" pile. So, it's extremely important that you ensure to read this insider written article on the most effective ways to make your resume stand out from the competition.

 

Respond Directly to the Job Description

Hiring managers have specific ideas about what skills and experiences candidates need to do well in open positions and your resume should mirror the description they’ve included in their listings or ads.

 

“In the vast sea of applicants, the most captivating resume is the one that seems to match all of their requirements, including necessary technical skills, work experiences, and degrees, certifications, or licenses,” he says. “If your previous work experience is not relevant to the job description, you will need to get creative and frame your current skill set as being transferable into a new role.”

 

Describe Accomplishments, Not Responsibilities

An example of a pizza delivery person job: It’s not enough to say you deliver pizzas, because that’s what you’re supposed to do. “The question is: are you good at it? Or, did you deliver pizzas late, cold and in a crushed box to the wrong address?”

 

Instead of regurgitating your job description, focus on the accomplishments you’ve made while living up to that description. Describe the ways you’ve excelled in your profession and have gone above and beyond.

Emphasize accomplishments with power verbs.

When describing your previous employment experiences, emphasize how you solved problems and added value to the company. Begin phrases with keywords like "increased," "initiated," "resolved," and "improved"; these power verbs go beyond simply stating your duties to emphasize how you produced results. Here is a list of other power verbs.

“There's no better way to describe your accomplishments than with cold hard numbers,” says Slack. For instance: How much product did you sell monthly? How much money did you save your company due to your efforts? What was the size of the budget you managed? How many people did you train or manage? Putting a number on the work you do gives hiring managers an idea how you might fit into an organization. If you can quantify any of your job descriptions, do so. It will give the hiring manager a much clearer image of your skills and abilities, and definitely help you get on the short list for an interview.

Tailor your resume to the job.

Tune your resume to this specific role, with substantiating detail that shows why you are a great fit for the position. One way to do this is by including all of your skills and experience that are relevant to the job you're applying for.

Highlight awards and recognition.

Demonstrating that others value your contributions often has a greater influence than you tooting your own horn. Include a category heading for honors/awards if you can fill it with formal recognitions.

In your descriptions of the awards, use keywords that imply recognition, like "selected," "elected," and "recognized." Quality recommendations are another form of recognition. Beef up your recommendations on LinkedIn and be sure to include a link to your profile on your resume. If an employer asks for written recommendations, select recommenders who know your skills and accomplishments well.

Use the Summary Section for Distinguishing Details

If you include a summary statement on your resume, remember it occupies the most valuable spot -- front and center. So many job-seekers waste it on self-descriptors, such as ‘creative,’ ‘results-driven’ and ‘excellent communicator. Guess what? If you need to label yourself an excellent communicator, then you’re probably not one. Instead, drop the generics and use the summary section to provide details of your achievements.

 

Ignore Irrelevant Information

Knowing what to leave off your resume can be as important as knowing what to put on it. You might think it’s a good idea to include as much information as possible to pad a weaker resume, but this approach can backfire.

 

Including irrelevant jobs or extraneous accomplishments from relevant jobs tells your potential employer that you don’t understand what they’re looking for. Don’t make your target reader fish through a bunch of noise in order to find what’s really important to the job.  They’ll assume that you don’t get it, and move on.”

 

Make sure it is error-free and easy to read.

HR managers sees typos and errors with laziness. Make sure it's perfectly polished and error-free — and don't forget to put the most important information on page one.

 

Don't overuse fancy fonts and colors.

While you don't want to overdo it, you can use color in a conservative manner to make your resume visually differentiated from the sea of documents the recruiter will review. For example, a subtle navy-blue border can be very effective.

 

Supplement your resume with a cover letter

About half of all HR reps say they won't even read a resume if the candidate hasn't submitted a cover letter. So, unless the employer explicitly says they don't want a cover letter, write one.