Hiring managers sometimes have to read over hundreds of resumes each day. They all start looking the same, as you can imagine. What does it take to write a strong, compelling resume that will catch their attention? Pump up your resume to make sure you're considered for the position you want. Related: 3 Tips To Get Your Resume In The ‘Yes’ Pile That’s the prize-winning question! Because hiring managers, recruiters, or HR assistants are individuals, they have different things they find appealing. What works for one, might not work for the next. But, there are some universal qualities that comprise a “good” resume that will appeal to the vast majority. And, that’s what you’re shooting for. Something that gives your resume a better chance of getting read than the other resumes that are putting these poor folks to sleep. You want to improve the statistical probability that your resume will be selected for an interview. Here are some safe bets for turning your light-weight resume into a heavy-weight contender. Nothing crazy here, folks, because you don’t want to stand out in a bad way! (Imagine your resume being passed around to other recruiters for them to giggle at.) For the right kind of attention, try these ways of pumping up your resume.
1. Avoid Using A TemplateAccording to The Undercover Recruiter: “Using a template will never make you stand out and chances are your application will be cut short due to your resume being the same as every other job seeker’s.” Your resume should have a unique design. But, what if you’re not a Microsoft Word wiz? Look on Youtube for lots of formatting how-to videos and tips.
2. Don’t Be PredictableAvoid Times New Roman. Use a font that isn’t the default in Word, because that’s what just about everyone else is using. But, don’t pick a font that is so unusual, people won’t have it on their computers. You could even use two complimentary fonts (I like the Arial Suite), using one to accent headlines and one for body text. Sometimes I use serif for the section headers and sans serif fonts for the body, since sans serif fonts allow for more on a page and are easier to read on a computer screen. Don’t know what serif and sans serif fonts are? Check out this awesome infographic.
3. Use SMART/CAR/STAR StoriesWhat are these? Briefly, they describe the challenge you faced, the action you took to resolve it (with metrics), and the result you got. Bullet points written this way pack a lot of power, as you can see in this sample.
4. Emphasize Your Personal BrandWrite about your personal brand strengths throughout your resume. Check out this article if you’d like to know more about personal branding. Here are some ways to get ideas for yours:
- Ask others what they value in you and how you work.
- Look for accomplishments on old performance evaluations.
- Consider assessments to gain a deeper understanding of ways you can describe your strengths.