You may have the skills, talent, and experience to perfectly fill a job, but if employers don’t notice your resume in the middle of all the other applicants, you’ll never get the chance to prove it. There are a few elements of a good resume that will help make you look like the best candidate on paper – like the kind of person they will want to have in their company – and give you a better chance to stand out from the rest of the pile.
Make it “Look Pretty”
Before anyone actually reads the words on your resume, they’re going to notice the physical appearance first. Make your resume “look pretty” by keeping things clear and concise. Use small paragraphs and bullet points and keep everything properly structured. Once you’ve given them a reason to look a little closer, you also need to make sure there aren’t any little blemishes that could ruin their impression. Check and double-check for misspellings and don’t overuse industry-specific jargon. Use plain and professional English and stick to relevant points.
Make it Relevant
Pay close attention to the job description and tailor your resume to match. While you don’t have to individually compose a new resume for every job (it is, after all, pretty much a list of skills and experience), if you pay attention to what the employer wants you can include some important keywords that will clue the reader in to your aptitude for the job.
Using the right keywords can be extremely useful. Whether your resume is first read by a computer or someone in human resources, there’s a good chance that it is only going to receive a quick scan as they look for the best prospects in the middle of many potential employees. Both the computer and the person who is tasked with clearing out the unqualified masses will be looking for certain words to jump out at them. They’ll know exactly what words tell them you may have something to offer.
Make it about Accomplishment
When you list your skills and experience, you need to tell the employer something about your actual accomplishments. If you simply repeat the job description back to them (I have good communications skills, work well with others, etc), parroting the basic requirements for that position, you won’t actually tell them anything they need to know.
You need to list accomplishments, and you need to be very specific about it. Exactly how did you contribute to your last company? Provide quantifiable claims. Don’t just say you were “amazing” or “successful.” Give them something tangible and verifiable.
Make it about Them
Well, technically, your resume should be all about you. At the same time, though, you shouldn’t be highlighting your skills and experience just for the sake of making yourself look good. You need to make yourself look good to them. You need to show them how your skills and experience will benefit their company. This, in turn, will tell your future employers that you are the kind of person they want to bring into the company.