Your resume is your first impression to a recruiter, and making your resume stand out is key to getting to an interview.
Some golden rules to follow include making your resume easy to read and kept to an appropriate length for your work experience. Delete language like “References available upon request” and save the document as a pdf file. These changes aren’t enough, though.
Job searches can be very competitive, and you want to catch the recruiter’s eye by submitting a resume that instantly shows how you fit what the recruiter needs. Here are seven ways to make your resume stand out from the pile:
1. Tailor your resume for each job
In general, recruiters look at resumes closer than cover letters. Rather than make broad changes, small tweaks may be all you need to do. Be sure to incorporate the same keywords that are in the job description and your skills, titles and certifications that match the position’s needs.
2. Be Specific
Showcase your experience by including specific accomplishments, awards and key projects. Include jargon and industry-specific language to demonstrate you have industry knowledge, but don’t overdo it. Recruiters also want to know your skillset beyond what’s mentioned in the job description, so include a list at the bottom and work these into your work experience summary as applicable.
3. Highlight changes and growth
Sometimes numbers tell a more compelling story than words — quantify your experience with $ and % signs. Metrics like the percentage you grew a business, the size of a business you managed, the dollars saved through cost cutting, timeframes and number of staff managed will help you highlight your qualifications. Be sure to include any accomplishments from your volunteer work as well.
Spelling, grammar and punctuation errors show an inattention to detail and may put your resume in the wrong stack. Ask a friend to read your resume to make sure you haven’t missed anything. You don’t want a careless error to cost you an interview.
5. Write a cover letter
Sometimes a cover letter makes all the difference. In your letter, highlight specific accomplishments and use this space to expand on any work experience that’s pertinent to the job you’re applying for. A cover letter can also serve as a writing sample and a platform for sharing how you’ll be able to meet or exceed the job expectations outlined in the description.
6. Format for effect
Your document needs to be concise, simple and clean so that a recruiter can easily read about your experience. For the most impact, use a modern, professional template with a header that includes your contact information. There are many different ways to order your resume, but highlight what matters most at the top. If you’re a recent grad, for example, start with your education and classes, but for those with more than a few years work experience, highlight your career accomplishments instead.
7. Include soft skills
Recruiters look for candidates who will fit into the corporate culture and work well with existing staff. Examples of your teamwork, problem-solving, communication and interpersonal skills provide a glimpse into your personality. You want to show that you’re a well-rounded employee who is easy to work with and can both help achieve company goals.
Once your resume is in shape, search for open jobs on Glassdoor.