We all want our resumes to stand out, but that can be easier said than done. There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there like whether or not you should use colors or fancy fonts and what sort of information you should include. So before you send in your resume, here are five small things you can do to stand out from the crowd.
- Use Industry Terms (Where Appropriate)
On a resume, vocabulary is every bit as important as good grammar. Using words and phrases that relate to the company and position will help you to stand out and sound knowledgeable about the position you’re after.
Let’s say you’re applying to an editorial role. Instead of saying you “created posts,” you could say that you “published articles” using your company’s “content management system.” It’s a minor difference that shows you have knowledge of how the industry works.
- Keep the Format Professional
The format of your resume should be visually pleasing and easy to follow, but the design should not distract from the content. A resume is supposed to be about you and your accomplishments, not how pretty you can make a piece of paper. Keep the look simple, modern, and neat.
If you’re applying to positions in a more creative industry, your heading (where your name and contact information goes), as well as any subheadings, are great places to add a little pizzazz. This will help keep the resume organized and make it easy for potential employers to scan through the content. Just remember to keep the fonts and colors simple.
- Be Positive and Career-Oriented
Your resume will reflect who you are as an employee, so you want to avoid negativity. To achieve this, don’t say (or infer) anything bad about your previous jobs or employers. You should also avoid including irrelevant hobbies.
- Talk About Your Accomplishments
A lot of people restate job descriptions in their resume. They talk about the role and requirements of prior jobs, but they downplay their own accomplishments. These are the things that employers most want to see and it’s extremely important to include them and make them stand out.
One way to do this is to include numbers. Use statistics to reflect what you have done in the past and how you can benefit the company. For example, if you say that you“increased blog traffic by 475%,” it provides a quantifiable illustration of your worth.
- Keep it Short and Sweet
Read our lips: Resumes shouldn’t be over a page—no excuses. Many CEOs and other executives are able to keep their resumes to one page even with decades of experience, and so should you. In fact, some employers won’t even read lengthy resumes. You want your resume on the top of the stack, not at the bottom of the rubbish bin.
One way to shorten is to eliminate irrelevant information: Get rid of skills or jobs that are outdated and don’t show why you’re perfect for that particular role. Tailor your resume to the specific job and company, which can help you eliminate things that they aren’t looking for. For example, if you’re applying for a business analyst position, you don’t need to list your fast food job from high school.