3 May, 2018
With the rise of online applications and emailed resumes, it is increasingly likely the first round of candidate selection will occur before a job-seeker ever has a chance to make an impression in person. When there are far more applications than opportunities to interview, it’s absolutely necessary to make your resume stand out from the crowd.
Some tips to make your resume look professional and stand out from the competition:
1. Do include appropriate keywords in a natural way. Industry buzzwords will help your resume stand out in the filtering process, but this could backfire if you are ‘keyword stuffing’ to game the system. Strong keywords will help your resume catch the eye, but it’s only the first step in differentiating yourself from other applicants.
2. Do pay attention to detail. Choose professional fonts, consistent formatting, and a clear header. It’s crucial to double-check your spelling and grammar, since errors can be perceived as laziness.
3. Do focus on relevant content. Your job history section should be tailored to the position you’re seeking—describe how you’ve progressed with relevant job duties and skills over the years. This section shouldn’t only include job descriptions. According to professional resume writer Greg Faherty, “The HR rep knows the basic duties of your job. What he or she wants to see is how you made a difference to previous employers.”
4. Do include specifics. If you want to demonstrate competence in your field, include some quantifiable metrics of previous achievements and how they relate to the desired position. Keep the needs of the prospective employer in mind when you are creating your resume and then choose metrics that reflect your ability to fill those needs.
5. Do make sure your email address is professional. If you’re still using the same email provider as your grandma who hasn’t updated since 2002, you’ll appear to be behind the times.
6. Do remove distractions from your resume. Weird formatting, unprofessional fonts, and old unrelated experiences will just clutter and confuse prospective employers. Be clear and concise!
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