How do I make my resume stand out?
An attractive job opening will see the submission of hundreds of resumes, needing to be quickly narrowed down to establish a shortlist. The truth is, in these situations a recruiter or HR Manager doesn't have time to go through each page line by line. Instead, they look quickly, sifting out unattractive resumes with a few quick checks and paying attention to the ones that stand out. Here are our tips for making it to the shortlist.
Before you start, please know it takes time to craft a succinct and effective resume that communicates everything it needs to within seconds. This will take effort but is definitely worth the commitment.
1. During her time in HR at a Big 4 Bank, Michelle Battersby drastically reduced her pile of Resumes by tossing anything longer than 2 pages. That's right when it comes to resumes more is definitely not more. Try to get yours down to one page, with two being the absolute maximum if you have a very good reason to push past one.
2. Save words with visuals. This doesn't mean including a photo of you graduating from uni instead of writing it down, but it does mean:
Using the logos of programs you're experienced in rather than writing them out
Showing proficiency levels in graphs
Using email/phone/social symbols before each detail
3. Don't treat it like a shopping list. Simply writing down your past roles is not enough, it is essential for your potential employer to know how that job is relevant to the one your applying for, so let them know! Write down a few things you learnt in each previous role or educational facility.
4. Design is more important than you think. This doesn't mean decorating your resume like its art class, but this does mean spending time ensuring it is organised in the most sensical and efficient way. Recently, candidates have chosen to create coloured sections or columns for different types of information to clearly communicate where one section ends and another begins. Conducting this through using sensically organised text boxes also allows you to efficiently use the space on the page, rather than organise it line by line with lots of white space. Ensure your colour scheme isn't too offensive and matches the industry you're applying for.
5. Tailor your resume for each role you apply for. This may seem a bit tedious, but it really pays off. Customising your resume to ensure optimal relevancy for your potential employer may involve playing certain skills, program experience and job roles while cutting out irrelevant strengths and previous experience to make it seem like you were tailor-made for this position.
6. Read over it with care! When narrowing down resumes, all the details matter. One simple spelling error could be why someone else gets picked for the short-list over you. So check it, have someone else check it and then check it again before submitting.
7. Please don't use a default resume template, especially from popular sites or programs like Microsoft word because you won't be the only one! Spend time taking inspiration from templates but crafting your own unique layout and colour scheme that's right for you.