How To Get Your Resume To Stand Out

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By Lee Hurley

Resumes are like pinky fingers. They don’t seem to matter much until you don’t have one. No matter how many resumes I create, I seem to forget the basics. And while there is no shortage of expert opinions about how to make a killer resume, it can get confusing. But it shouldn’t be. If you think you are right for a job, just make sure your resume reflects your experience. Here then are a few suggestions to stay on track.

Introduction

There is plenty of debate about the way to start a resume. I believe we should start like most documents do, with an introduction. And what better way to introduce yourself than to describe who you are and why you are qualified for this jobGo online and read a few samples to find your sweet spot.

Simple, elegant, uncluttered

HR people look at resumes all day. They don’t enjoy fluffy, unnecessary words and self-flattery. They don’t want information that doesn’t match the job. They are busy. Be symmetrical. Be concise. Borrow ideas. Get in there and be as efficient with your words and deeds as you can.  

Match the industry, fit the job 

The last time my daughter was looking for work, she said, “Dad, I have an updated resume already so I’ll just use that.” Your resume should be prioritized to fit the job description. Sometimes that means reordering the same information you have into different places. Sometimes it means rewriting your opening statement. Sometimes it means removing job experience that is not pertinent to the job you are applying for. Sometimes it means all the above.

Cover me

I always recommend a cover letter (unless told otherwise.) Here’s why.

1: Allows you to show your personality. Be bright and positive. Also, you can include personal connections or other inside information.

2: Gives your reader a different way to learn about you.

3: Gives you a chance to show off that you know about the company.  

Proof!

This is one of those things that goes without saying, so why am I saying it? Because a resume with mistakes is a resume in the trash can. More formally put “…there is simply no scope for making errors of these kinds as it simply will not be tolerated.”  HR experts tell us that mistakes on resumes are all too common. The first thing you should do after proofing your resume is leave it alone overnight. The next day, read it again. This gives you fresh eyes. Once you’ve read your resume a few times, ask someone else to read it. Often, we miss the obvious.

Should you hire professional help? The answer is, your resume will not get you the job but it will lose you the job. If you don’t have the experience to create a concise and attractive resume, then do get help. Pay for it. It matters. And after you pay for it make sure you ask for it in a format like “Word” that allows you to use it as a template for the future.


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