Have you ever looked up statistics about unemployment? Getting hired in your field? The number of resumes an employer receives every month? Don’t do it. They will shock and depress you. So rather than spending hours feeling worse about yourself by reading up on it, find ways to get ahead of it! We’ve put together a list of ten tips that work for how to make your resume stand out from the pile. Don’t despair any longer–do something about it!
1. Keep it to one page
There is no way you have so much to say that you have to have more than a page. After one page, hiring managers simply stop reading. In fact, you’re lucky if they even read the whole page. Your task is actually to make them look at the page in the first place! With that in mind…
2. Keep it clean!
There is so much that we’ve already done in our young lives that we want to brag about. But as proud as you may be, there is no way your future employer needs to know that you worked as a babysitter for your cousins for three months when you were 12. Even if you don’t have a ton of work experience and you feel that adding every detail may help, resist that urge! Keep your resume narrowed down to what this particular job needs to know about you. Pinterest is a great place to find resume templates to get started.
3. Organize it according to the job you want
Speaking of this particular job, what is it all about? If you’re going into computer science, they’re gonna want to know what code languages you know, not how many jobs you’ve held. On the other hand, a waitressing gig is going to be more impressed with experience than with bragging about your “skills” and “bright personality.” Organize your resume for what this job needs to know.
4. Edit it for the job, too
After you’ve figured out how to make your resume stand out in terms of the appearance, fix the info it contains. Not only should you rearrange the sections of your resume for what they want to know, you should be editing that bad boy for each job you apply for! Here is where it’s really important to read the job description of the position you’re applying for. You want to make sure that the attributes they’re looking for are exactly what they’ll find on your CV.
5. Buzz words, buzz words, buzz words!
You shouldn’t be copying and pasting the buzz words off their description, but there are certain words you should be using. Monster.com has a list of classic words to use, versus ones to avoid. When you’re trying to figure out how to make your resume stand out, it’s important to understand that employers skim read. You want ideas to pop out to make them read the whole thing!
6. Think about what makes you interesting
Your resume is a reflection of you. So if you want your resume to be interesting, it only makes sense to think about what makes you interesting. Do you speak multiple languages? Did you study abroad? Or maybe you’re appealing because of other qualities. Have you been loyal to a company or job for a long time? Employers love employees who don’t quit or get fired. If you’re summer job hired you back year after year, show that off.
7. Fit the industry you’re entering
When you’re trying to solve how to make your resume stand out, you need to consider your dream job and its needs. Is personality important for the work you’re doing? (I’m looking at you, customer service) Then start with a bio that describes/summarizes what you’re bringing to the table. Is the industry very serious and clear cut, like accounting? Make your resume match that, with clean lines and clear organization. Read the player, not the cards!
In that same vein, make sure that you group like ideas. If you’re struggling to keep it to a page, compile things together. Working three different cashier jobs in as many years only has to take up a line or two. Save the space for the variety. It’s the spice of life.
9. Add descriptions
Now that you’ve made yourself a little extra wiggle room, you can add some details. Include short descriptions of your responsibilities in each position using those buzz words we discussed earlier! Showcase the skills you learned and experience you gained. Did your boss put you in charge of the social media accounts when you were a measly office assistant? Upsell that! “Server at Friday’s June, 2015 – August, 2016” is a lot less catchy than “provided friendly and attentive service, while ensuring the satisfaction of customers across entire restaurant.” Try to include two or three points per position.
10. It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease
How the company sees you outside of your resume is just as important. They might ignore half the resumes they look over, so you need to make yourself known. Follow up! Send personal emails using the company contact book! Find out who is in charge of hiring, and send them an email with a great resume attached after you’ve already applied for the position. Thank them for the chance to apply and let them know you’re happy to answer any questions. Now they’ll have seen your name twice, and be twice as likely to read your resume for real.