4 Tips to Make Your Resume Stand Out
By Chelsea Gladden 2013-01-13 15:13:59 UTC
Chelsea P. Gladden is the Director of Marketing and PR for Flexjobs. an award-winning service that helps job-seekers find professional opportunities that also offer work flexibility, such as telecommuting, freelance, part-time or alternative schedules. To learn more about Chelsea, visit Flexjobs.com or tweet her @FlexJobsChelsea .
There it is: a stack of 150 resumes, received in the first hour of posting a job, piled up in the hiring manager’s email inbox. How will you stand out? These four tips for creating an effective, well-organized resume, should help you stay at the top of the pile and in the top of the hiring manager's mind.
1. Stick To a Standardized Font
For most positions, HR reps just wants a resume they can read and that captures the skill sets they are looking for. Fonts such as Times New Roman and Georgia are your best bets for making it readable, as well as a 10- to 12-point size. Acceptable sans-serif fonts include Arial and Tahoma. Whichever your choice, make sure to stick to one to keep it presentable versus using a few different fonts that can crowd the page and make you appear disorganized. On the other hand, if you are applying for a creative position such as graphic design, your resume will likely be expected to bend the rules and show your creative pizzazz.
2. Keep Important Points at the Top
Assume a hiring manager is going to skim your resume quickly, in 15 to 20 seconds, and will concentrate mainly on the top half (much like you might skim the headlines in a newspaper). They will want to see immediately that your experience is a fit instead of tossing out your resume to get to the next in the pile because they didn’t see that you are a match.
Highlight your most relevant skills and experience first and then work your way down to other pertinent information. The following resume subheadings could be included: Contact Info, Summary of Core Qualifications, Relevant Work Experience, Relevant Volunteer and Other Experience, Education and Honors & Awards.
3. Don't Be So Stiff
Resumes are not just a showcase of your experience and skills, but also of your personality. Speak with confidence and ease when describing your accomplishments. Try to come across as friendly and open, professional but personable, and super-knowledgeable in your field to add depth and interest to an otherwise rather boring document.
4. Clean Up Your Resume Regularly
Again, go for a resume that will be easy on the eyes and is formatted well, with plenty of white space. Attempt to keep it to one page (or two pages if you have more than five years experience in your field) and be absolutely certain there aren’t typos or grammatical errors — these will instantly land your submission in the trash. Be sure to review your resume often and make changes and updates as needed. There's nothing like a last-minute job application and an outdated resume that gets a too-quick scrubbing instead of an in-depth cleaning to derail your chances at being hired.
Though you spend hours on your resume to stand out, hiring managers just want to be able to easily weed through their very large pile as quickly as possible. Sending in a clean resume that gets straight to the point will be your best bet at landing the interview.
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