When you apply for a job, your resume is the golden key that determines whether you get to the next steps of the hiring process. No matter how qualified of a candidate you are, or how top notch your interview skills are, no one will ever know if your resume doesn’t catch the eye of employers. On average, a hiring manager only spends 6 seconds looking at your resume before they decide whether you are a candidate. To increase the odds of getting your foot in the door, here’s how to make your resume stand out to employers:
1) Keep the content relevant to the job
Tailor your resume to each specific job you apply for, paying close attention to the skills and experience needed for each job. Make it as easy as possible for hiring managers to find information that shows your ability to do the job. Leave out any jobs that don’t add to your qualifications for the job you are applying for; they will only take up space and distract from your most impressive experience. Research several job descriptions of the position you are applying for beforehand to find the most popular industry keywords. Include at least a few of these keywords towards the beginning of your resume to make your resume stand out to employers.
2) Use action verbs
To entice employers to keep reading your resume, use vivid action verbs that allow them to visualize your career successes. Use verbs that show qualities hiring managers look for such as leadership, thoroughness, creativity and teamwork. Some examples of action verbs that are sure to make your resume stand out to employers include “executed”, “negotiated” and “promoted”. Avoid more boring verbs such as “did” and “worked on”. Also, some adverbs that will help you effectively describe your experience include “assertively”, “thoroughly” and “instrumentally”.
3) Measure your accomplishments
Employers’ eyes light up when they see numbers, dollar signs, percentage signs and any other numerical data that shows your specific contributions in past jobs. To show the impressive results you can generate at their company, make your resume stand out to employers by giving metrics around your accomplishments at past jobs. For example, “Effectively executed a campaign with other marketing team members, producing 30% more leads than any campaign that was launched during the previous five years at the company.”
4) Avoid “keyword stuffing”
For a hiring manager to ever set eyes on your resume, you must optimize it with the keywords that employer is looking for. But don’t go to the extreme and include so many keywords the resume is unreadable. While you may get through resume screening software, hiring managers are likely to get turned off by the keyword stuffing when they read it and toss your resume aside.
5) Use Colors Tastefully
Visually appealing elements are sure to make your resume stand out to employers, but use discretion. It’s best to use standard fonts such as Times New Roman and Arial, and keep the text in the body of the resume black. But you can use tasteful colors for the header or border or throw in a few small colorful images. Just make sure you don’t overdo it with too much color, or use colors that are too loud such as neon orange. You want your resume to portray you as professional and sophisticated.
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.