In today’s competitive jobs market, a strong, well-written resume is crucial to a successful job search. Hiring managers and recruiters can receive hundreds of resumes for one role alone, which means crafting an impressive, compelling and eye-catching resume is essential to getting noticed and landing an interview.
So, what can you do to stand out from the pack and submit a resume that outdoes the competition? Here are four essential tips to help you get started.
1. Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes
By stepping back and putting yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager or recruiter, you can be more critical in editing, removing or changing information in your resume so it’s as relevant as possible.
Keep in mind that, although providing a focused list of achievements is great, it’s even more effective to explain exactly how you executed a solution or how you came to achieve great results. This will give your prospective employer a better idea of how you work and solve problems.
When you read over your resume again after editing, it should tick off most, if not all, skill requirements, succinctly highlight your strengths and create an engaging case for why you’re the best candidate for the job.
2. Avoid the generic
Is there anything unique about your resume? If you sound like everyone else applying for the role, chances are you’ll get lost in the mix. To that end, once you have edited down your relevant experience and skills, try to strengthen the language by incorporating action verbs, power phrases and positive words. Even simply mentioning the name of the company in your executive summary, for example, can show the hiring manager or recruiter that you’re serious about the role and the company.
From a formatting perspective, using a free design platform like Canva can transform a plain resume with creative visual elements to help catch the attention of prospective employers. Just be mindful to keep the layout professional, unless you’re in a creative industry that allows for more ‘out there’ designs.
3. Use relevant keywords
These days many employees use applicant tracking systems to automatically scan resumes, so one of the best ways you can make your resume findable is by including relevant keywords.
Look at the main skills and qualifications in the job description and try to incorporate the same words and phrases throughout your resume. Remember you want to do this as naturally as possible rather than copying text verbatim.
4. Triple check everything
Hiring managers and recruiters won’t be very forgiving when it comes to spelling mistakes and grammatical errors – especially if you’re applying for a job that requires close attention to detail.
Don’t let your hard work go to waste by submitting a resume that hasn’t been thoroughly proofread. Read over it yourself a couple of times to look for potential errors, and if possible, have a friend or family member do the same. Often a fresh pair of eyes will pick up on mistakes you may have overlooked.
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