Every single day, employers are receiving tens, if not hundreds, of résumés, and on average they are spending a measly six seconds reviewing your content. So, it is up to you to use that time to impress the reader and convince them to ask you to a round of in-person interviews. The issue is how?
A Plus spoke to résumé experts from around the country to help you figure out the three best ways to make your résumé stand out among a pool of thousands. Here is what we discovered.
When editing your résumé, one of the most important things is how it looks. It needs to be clean, visually appealing, and most of all, creative. Rachael Bozsik, CEO and Founder of The Brand Girls, a personal brand consulting firm, says your résumé should appeal to the person hiring you and should aesthetically be in line with the industry you are looking to work in. Bozsik always tells her clients that the more creative your industry, the more flexibility you have to show your personal style with your résumé (similar to dressing for an interview).
In the past, Bozsik has had clients looking to apprentice with top-tier world-renowned photographers incorporate their own images into the résumé. Bozsik also spoke of an interior design student who used one of her own watercolors as the background of her résumé.
If you are pursuing a style-focused career within the fast-paced pr/lifestyle/events industry, it is a must to include your social icons on your résumé (Instagram, Tumblr, blog, LinkedIn url etc.)
Eliminate all pictures that do not show you in the most positive light, and make sure all images are cropped in a similar fashion and use a similar filter. It is all about being visually cohesive.
But regardless of your industry, there are a few things you must do to make your résumé stand out visually:
A. Choose a maximum of three colors (unless you are in the super creative space), think black, white and a small pop of color (gold, pale pink etc.)
B. Save your résumé as a PDF (if you send it to employers as a word doc you run the risk of your résumé layout being changed)
C. Save your résumé as your full name you must realize that employers are getting hundreds of résumés ... make their life easier and include your name when saving the doc.
D. If you included clickable hyperlinks to your social channels, portfolio or YouTube you will have to use a Creative Suites program to make the programs "clickable." Then make sure they are saved as a PDF.
Even if you're going into a more conservative field where a visually creative résumé would be frowned upon, you can still get creative with your wording. For instance, Lori Bumgarner, passion and career specialist, suggests calling your skills section "Strengths" or "Areas of Excellence." Instead of calling your profile "Summary of Qualifications," call it "Competitive Advantages." This all sounds much more dynamic (and less boring!) and will generate interest from the reader to want to find out more about you. Although it is just a slight change, the hiring manager is going to be impressed with your out-of-the-box thinking and desire to implement change.
Dr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, owner of Feather Communications, says that another great way to increase the quality of your résumé is to include a testimonial section. "I often encourage them to add a section on their document titled Endorsements, Recommendations, or Testimonials," she says. This allows the résumé to highlight snippets of information that people have stated about the person. For example, a sales professional may include a quote or written recommendation from someone that applauds their relationship-building skills, persuasiveness, and strategy planning abilities. Or, an accountant may include a quote from a previous manager that appreciated the person saving the company $10K in operating expenses. This section is just one additional way for the candidate to emphasize their positive qualities by using verbiage from a third-party source.
Once your résumé is done and perfect, the only thing left is to get it to your future employer. Yes, you could email it to the generic email address that the company noted on the application, or you could go one step further. Laurie Berenson, certified master résumé writer and owner of Sterling Career Concepts, LLC, says the best way to make your résumé stand out is to deliver your résumé to your target company by hand to a receptionist or front desk. This is to avoid getting grouped in with the rest of that day's mail. Once they see that you went out of your way to drop off your application and résumé, it is more likely they will look at it and be impressed.