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How to Make Your Resume Stand Out

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A good resume is one of the first steps toward your career. As the workspace has shifted to mainly sending in job applications online, the number of applicants has increased. A good resume is one of the ways to stick out amongst potentially hundreds of applicants. So how do you get a hiring manager to notice your resume? For an employer, there are many steps in ensuring a good hiring decision. A resume is just the first step in moving onto the interview process and eventually the background check and onboarding. There are a few simple ways to give life to your resume to have the best shot at getting an interview. 

Take Time to Understand the Job 

Every resume you send should be specifically tailored to the job you are applying for. Most organizations will have a job description and an outline of tasks relevant to the role. Some organizations will even include specifications that they want to see included. Use this information to assess your application and make sure you meet the essential criteria. Ensure that you have provided clear examples to demonstrate that you have all the relevant competencies the company is looking for. Remember to not underestimate any skills you have acquired that might apply to the role and include them! For example, if you were a personal trainer, don’t forget to include details on running your business and highlight some achievements while you were in the role.

Find Your Style 

When you think about a resume you probably picture a white paper with a bold name at the top and black text detailing skills and accomplishments running down the page. For some industries, this might be preferable but for others, it could appear as stale. It is helpful to think of the industry of the full time jobs you are applying for and get creative with different styles that might help you stick out amongst the other candidates. Playing around with different templates, fonts, and colors are a few ways to make your resume more visually appealing while still reading professionally. The style of your resume can say a lot about your personality and is an easy way to quickly catch the eye of a hiring manager who is sifting through many different resumes that could look just like yours. 

Use the Right Language 

The way you write about your experience is nearly as important as the activities themselves. Your ability to write about yourself is just one of the many things being assessed while reading your resume. Writing with proactive and positive language helps the reader understand that you make things happen. Presenting yourself in a positive light, however, is different than exaggerating so be sure to know the difference. 

Write a Narrative

Simply listing the facts of where you went to school, what you did, and where you worked is not enough to stand out. Instead, use your resume to write a narrative about yourself that is memorable and informative. If someone reads through your resume what do you want them to remember about you? Make a list of the top few things you want the reader to take away and focus on highlighting those. Anything that does not support your narrative should be thrown out. Instead of including meaningless fluff, use wording that is tangible and shows results. 

Include a Cover Letter 

Your cover letter should answer the question: why should we interview you? The cover letter is often the first thing the employer sees. A great cover letter highlights your key strengths and motivations for working for an organization while your resume goes into further detail on skills and achievements. Here employers want to see your interests, motivation, and knowledge of the organization and why you want to work there. Create a great story that shows the reader rather than tells them why you are different from the other applicants. How to write a cover letter for a receptionist guide here.

Include Voluntary Experience 

Volunteering is a great way to make an impact on society, develop new skills, and show your interest outside of work. Including volunteer experience is a great way to show employers that you are hard-working and an involved member of your community. It is especially important to include if you lack formal work experience or if your experiences apply to the job you are striving for. Having extra experiences listed in your resume is a great way to stand out and let your reader get to know you better. 

Double Check For Errors

One of the easiest ways to get your resume discarded is by having notable spelling or grammatical errors. Luckily, it is one of the easiest things to fix. Your resume should be a reflection of your best work.  With something so important, make sure to double and triple check that everything is correctly spelled, worded, and formatted. An error-free resume is also a great way to demonstrate professionalism and attention to detail. 

Standing out amongst hundreds of resumes can be a challenge and might take some trial and error. To really get noticed employers want to see more than just a list of your experiences. By making these few changes you can feel confident in making a great first impression on the company you want to work for. Having a great resume will give you the best chances of moving on to the interview and background check process where you can really show off your unique qualifications. 

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