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How to Build a Resume that Stands Apart

A resume is only as good as the content on the page. The content on the page is only as good as its candidate, or is it? It’s not uncommon for a CV (Curriculum Vitae) to exaggerate the skills and experience an applicant might have. In fact, for most, the art of resume writing is what sets you apart from the competition. The most difficult aspect of composing this document is predicting the readers’ preferences. Standard resume dos and don’ts might be completely irrelevant if the personality, education, or experience of the person viewing it doesn’t align with traditional schools of thought. If you want to beat out the competition, master the following 6 things.

Keywords

With today’s job search going almost completely digital, hiring managers have to go through many more resumes than in the past. Because of this, most mid to large size companies are using keyword searchable databases to scan through all of the resumes to provide them with the best matches.

As time consuming as it may sound, getting the job you want usually means tailoring your resume to that specific job. The posting or job description usually gives enough information for you to work with. The recruiter will most likely have the keywords they use to search for the perfect candidate somewhere in the posting or job description. Make sure to build in these words to your resume before submitting it, but be careful not to stuff them in your resume in an unnatural way.

LinkedIn recently released this list of overused buzzwords in resumes and professional profiles. Unless you’re confident one of these keywords will be used to search for this position, you should try to avoiding using them.

Connections

It’s all about who you know, or…..don’t know. If you’re sending your CV to a specific email address, take it a step further and increase your chances of landing the job. With so many online resources today, it’s not hard to track down the hiring manager or even their director and copy them on the email as well. Use LinkedIn, the company directory, or Google to see what you can find.

Delete

This tip once again emphasizes that dreadful fact of having to revise your resume for every application, but it should prove its worth. Think carefully about what is relevant for the position/company you’re applying for and delete any details or duties that don’t focus on what the potential employer wants. If the recruiter sees something that has absolutely nothing to do with the industry during their one-minute glance, they may throw your resume out regardless of whether you have everything else they’re looking for.

Digital

Very few hiring managers will print out a stack of resumes anymore. This means that making sure yours can easily be downloaded, scanned, uploaded, and printed (just in case) is critical. If you’re not as tech savvy as you’d like to be and you’re not sure if it meets the criteria, send it to a few friends and make sure it reads the way you want it to no matter if they have a MAC, PC, ’07 Word or ’11 Word.

Links

Add hyperlinks that will send the recruiter to various sites or pages showcasing your skills. Examples of these links include: published articles you’ve written, personal websites, personal blogs, and social media profiles (if used professionally). It’s usually safe to do this when directly emailing your resume to someone, but if it’s going to be scanned by a database it may view it as ‘spammy’ due to links. You also don’t want a link showing up on a printed copy.

Bold

Most people do not use bold strategically when formatting their resume. It’s often used simply to separate different companies you’ve worked for or schools you’ve attended. The primary purpose for this feature is to make something stand out. Do you want the name of the last company you worked for to stand out? Or do you want the fact that you ‘doubled the company’s revenue in six months’ to stand out?

Formatting your resume can be an entirely different topic but if you only remember one formatting rule, remember this one. Always put the most important information at the top of your resume, and your most important achievements at the beginning of each paragraph or section. This helps when, not if, the hiring manager quickly skims through the first page, they should catch what’s most important.

Use your best judgment when trying to beat out other applicants. If this is a position or company you’re passionate about, you’ll know better than anyone what others might not be thinking about when sending in their resume. Pull out all the stops.

Lannette Price

Lannette Price is a senior consultant at Resume.com where she helps users build and edit their resumes online. Lannette enjoys helping job seekers perfect their resumes and find their dream job.

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