Make Your Resume Stand OutPublié le 21 October 2019
The impression that you make on a HR recruiter begins far before the initial interview. Your resume and cover letter play an enormous role in forming their positive or negative opinion regarding your application. By tailoring your resume to each job, promoting your specific career accomplishments, performing careful proofreading, avoiding negative statements, selecting the correct format, and being honest about your experience, it will place you in the best possible position to secure a job.
Tailor Your Resume
The average young employee can now expect to change jobs an average of 12 times over the course of their career, which can quickly make for the quite the lengthy resume. While it is tempting to spend page after page describing your accomplishments at every job, this is not the best approach to take. A traditional resume is no more than two pages in length, and it is very unlikely that a recruiter will spend the time reading beyond that point.
A resume does not need to be a list of every job you have ever held, rather, a better approach is to tailor your resume to fit the needs of the role for which you are applying. For example, if you are applying for a sales role, mention previous roles in retail and customer service-based environments. If your intention is to be a manager or supervisor, choose the roles which emphasize your leadership qualifications and achievements.
Talk About Accomplishments, Not Just Responsibilities
A typical resume will break down a candidate’s job history by the various responsibilities they entailed. A role as Sales Coordinator may feature notes such as:
- Responsible for discovering new leads
- Meeting target sales numbers specific periods
- Answering customer questions regarding new products
A better approach is to make sure your resume promotes your career accomplishments and not just your responsibilities. In other words, your resume should say what you did, not what you were supposed to do. The more specific about your career accomplishments you can be, with facts, figure and financial results, the better it is. Those same resume points would therefore read:
- Discovered 400 new leads and achieved an 82% conversion rate
- Achieved a yearend sales total of $112,756 – outpacing the company target of $100,000
- Created and proposed a new workflow for sales team that addressed common customer questions
Get Rid of Typos
Your resume is your first chance to make a good impression on a HR manager and recruiter, and a single mistake can be enough to taint their image of you. According to one survey of HR managers, 20% said that a single typo would cause them to throw away a resume, while a further 28% said they would consider two typos would be grounds for immediate disqualification.
You must take the time to carefully proofread your resume for all forms of typos, including spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and formatting inconsistencies. Whether it’s writing “there” instead of “they’re”, switching tenses mid-sentence, or using dashes after previously using bullet points, these errors and typos can make you seem inattentive or even lazy. Your application deserves a thorough review before it is submitted.
You want your resume to make you appear as appealing as possible to prospective employers, and one of the best ways to establish a professional image is to avoid bashing your previous workplace. Discussing the negative aspects of your previous employer will only come across as petty and vindictive. Recruiters want to see that you can remain respectful of the workplace, even after your employment has ended.
For example, let’s say you were hired as a salesperson and were able to set new records within your first few months. The wrong way to mention this on your application would be: “Responsible for setting new sales records and quickly became the leader of an unfocused team in desperate need of guidance.” The better way to tout this accomplishment would be:
“Established new company sales records within the first six months of employment. Subsequently collaborated with colleagues to establish new sales criteria and procedures, and oversaw their implementation for the betterment of the company.”
Stick to Boring Fonts and Colours
The desire to stand out with your resume is perfectly understandable, but the way to do this is through the contents of your resume – and not the appearance of the resume itself. Do not use unusual fonts or colours in an attempt to stand out. Having your previous work experience detailed in bright red Old English font will bring attention to your application, but not in the appropriate manner.
HR managers and recruiters expect candidates to project a degree of professionalism, starting with a resume displayed in a traditional font, in the appropriate size and colour. It’s hard to go wrong with size 12 Times New Roman. It may not be the most interesting in appearance, but it will ensure that your resume projects the professionalism which businesses expect.
Your resume should always be an honest representation of your work experience and credentials. Recruiters look for applicants who are truthful, which makes it seem incredulous that according to one poll, 78% of applicants admit to including misleading information on their resume, while 40% admit to flat-out lying.
Now that most businesses have fully transitioned into the digital age, it is quite simple for HR managers to conduct background checks on prospective employees. A quick internet search can yield all the information and contact info a recruiter needs to confirm an applicant’s experiences, and immediately identify any falsehoods. You would not want to have a co-worker who lies and tells half-truths, so there is no reason to cast yourself in that role by including misleading statements on your resume.
Your resume is the first step towards getting your dream job. By following a few simple principles to make your resume professional and appealing to HR managers and recruiters, you will greatly increase your chances of becoming the successful candidate. You owe it to yourself to place your best foot forward before you step into a recruiter’s office, and a professional resume will accomplish just that.