A resume is the first impression of you for a company or manager. Submitting a resume can make or break you before you ever meet the hiring managers! Needless to say, it is pretty critical for it to be as perfect as you can get it. Every company is different and resumes are incredibly subjective but there are some sure fire things to include that will set you apart from the rest of the applicants. After talking to a few of my managers in hiring positions and friends who hire for their companies (these people see a loooottttt of resumes), I have come up with a few key things to focus on to make your resume stand out!
Start with a Solid Template
There are so many different templates and varieties of resumes on Pinterst these days. I love searching there and seeing what comes up; there are so many super creative templates and outlines. However, it is important to recognize what is appropriate for the industry or company you are applying for. If you are looking for a super creative, artsy job then go to town with making your resume different and graphically appealing. Shoot, pull an Elle Woods and even spray it with your favorite perfume for that extra pizzaz. My favorite creative resume templates are here. If that is not the kind of job you are looking for, then your resume needs to be a little more vanilla and find different ways for it to stand out. My favorite versatile resume templates are here (paid- worth it) and here, but there are tons to choose from. I even like the Microsoft Word Computer Programmer template with a little help sprucing it up. Pick the best one for you. Regardless of the theme or template you choose, make it look polished and refined. Your name and contact information should be front and center. Spacing should be the same throughout. Italicize and bold very important things, such as job titles and honors or awards. Help the eyes reading your resume gravitate to your proudest moments and biggest achievements. Make it look pretty, and send it as a PDF. It comes across as more professional.
Wording is Everything
It is important to have keywords in your resume as this will help it pass through the automated vetting process. Almost all companies these days use some type of computer automation to sort through the gazillion resumes they receive for a job posting and you want every chance to make it through that process. Again, consult Pinterest for these buzz words. I just used this list to help a friend update hers, and I have used this one on numerous occasions for my own resume. Include words that are relevant to your experience or the job you are applying for. You have to be able to get through the gatekeeper before ever talking to a real person. Know what they are looking for and deliver!!
Don’t Send the Same Resume to Everyone
Change your resume for each job you apply for. Customize what you are submitting as an application! Every job posting has some type of description of job expectations, experience/education requirements, and sometimes other information about the company or job. Read this and make sure you have relevant points on your resume. I can’t tell you how embarrassed I was when I mentioned some blanket phrase at the top of my resume and got called out in an interview for sending the same resume out for every application I submitted. Why would they want someone who doesn’t care enough to spend a bit of time customizing and refining their first impression to this company? I was mortified- learn from my experiences and don’t be a blanket applicant!! Interviewers notice things like that; it makes you stand out even more and it doesn’t take much effort.
Essentially, you want to come across on paper as the perfect match for a company’s job openings. Spend a little time refining your first impression. Just like you wouldn’t show up to a first date in sweat pants and a holey t-shirt, you don’t want to taint a company’s first impressions of you.