Whether you're looking for a new job or just pruning up your paperwork, one of the keys to nabbing the job you want is creating a successful resumé. Here are our top 10 ways to make sure yours stands out.
Photo by Elliot P.
10. Start with a Big List, and Then Shorten It
We know keeping your resumé brief is important, but one of the best ways to make sure your resumé is as good as possible is to start long. Make a plain text document of all the possible information you might include, and then pare it down from there. You're less likely to forget anything important, and it will also come in handy if you ever need to tweak it different job opportunities. Photo by Brandi Sims.
9. Know What Not to Include
When it comes time to narrow down your giant list of accomplishments, you'll want to make sure you're including the most important stuff. You definitely want to get rid of not-so-notable accomplishments. There are also a lot of phrases that are just wasting ink on the page, and you should get rid of those too. Photo by Jon Tunn.
8. Avoid Overused Phrases
If you want to make your resumé stand out, you're going to want to avoid canned phrases like "team player", "strong work ethic", and "innovative". We've gone through lists of tired phrases on more than one occasion, so make sure you check out every list to clean out the clichés. Photo by Muffet.
7. Quantify Your Accomplishments
Instead of filling your resumé with the aforementioned canned phrases, pick something quantifiable. Anything you can describe with numbers demonstrates something real and tangible that your potential employers can see. Saying you "increased sales by 300 percent" (and mentioning how you did so) is much better than saying you "exceeded expectations". Always be on the lookout for ways you can put your accomplishments into numbers. Photo by Iain Watson.
6. Find the Keywords Your Employer is Looking for and Use Them
Nowadays, so many people are passing their resumés around that sometimes they don't even get read. Instead, HR folks are scanning them for relevant keywords, like names of computer programs you know. Making sure these are somewhere on your resumé increase its chances of getting seen and actually read, not just glossed over. Photo by Frank Jania.
5. Strategically Tweak Your Dates of Employment
Employers aren't usually too font of job-hoppers, so if you've had a few recent jobs instead of a steady one, you might want to try and pull attention away from that fact. One of the best ways to do that is strategically format your resumé to highlight the jobs, not the dates. Using only years to describe employment terms, for example, looks better than the more specific month-and-year approach. Photo by simplyrikkles.
4. Try a Visual Slideshow or Video Resumé
While many employers will prefer the simple, single-page list of accomplishments, lots of others would prefer to see your personality and accomplishments more in-depth through a slideshow or video resumé. Make sure you make it worth their while, of course—if your slideshow is just as boring as your text-based resumé would be, you're not doing yourself any favours. And of course, check with the HR department before sending something like this in to make sure it's okay. Photo by airgap.
3. Don't Use it Until the End of the Interview Process
Some employers may request your resumé at the beginning, but if they don't, consider holding off. It's too easy for a potential employer to scan your resumé and reject you. If you wait to hand in your resumé until the end, you'll be forced to show yourself off in other ways, and keep your potential employers thinking about something else beyond the dull checklist of accomplishments. Photo by Alan Cleaver.
2. Use Multiple Resumés for Different Potential Jobs
If you're applying for multiple jobs, even if they're in the same field, you may not want to use the same resumé for each job. Tailor your resumé to each specific job you apply for, and send a unique resumé out for each one. We've highlighted some software that helps you do this without pulling your hair out, so there's no reason to give each employer a cookie-cutter list of the same experiences.
1. Proofread from the Bottom Up
When you're done and ready to send your resumé in, you will want to proofread it for errors (of course). There are a lot of ways to make sure you proofread it well (like printing it out), but one of the more interesting ways we've seen is to read it from the bottom up. This way, you'll make sure you don't skip over any sections, and will also help you see things from an angle other than the one you've already written and proofread it fifteen times. Photo by kafka4prez.
We've written a lot on crafting the perfect resumé over the years, so be sure to check out the resumé tag for even more tips. And, of course, if you have your own—whether from experience as an employee or an employer—share them with us in the comments.