We’ve all been there: browsing job boards and realizing we’re in desperate need of perking up our resume. After tinkering, editing and rearranging, you press print and realize something – it looks just like everyone else’s. How are you supposed to stand out? How can you make sure your resume isn’t boring?
Here are a few ways you can personalize your resume to catch a recruiter or hiring manager’s eye:
1. A generic experience section: Instead of labeling this as “work” or “professional” experience, try customizing the section to fit your skill set and the position you’re looking for (i.e. “Event Planning Experience.”) Having a specific keyword in the heading brands your skill set and has a great overall effect on the direction of your resume.
2. You’re all about responsibilities, instead of accomplishments: Many of us fall into the trap of describing what we do day-to-day instead of detailing the results you’ve accomplished and projects you’ve completed. Instead of showing what you do, detail the impact you’ve work has had on your organization.
3. Cliché buzzwords galore: Doing a search of over-used resume buzzwords is dizzying. Saying you have a “go-getter” mentality, create “synergy” among your colleagues and “think outside-of-the-box” immediately bore most recruiters. Instead of sticking with clichés, go with examples of how you’ve demonstrated these traits in your work. Adding results and accomplishments are much most interesting and make your resume more memorable.
4. No life outside of work? It’s a problem: Sure, your professional experience is your bread and butter of a resume, but how do you show your passion for your field or other attributes you can bring to a position? Think about adding a section on your “Community Involvement” or “Leadership Skills”; whether you involve volunteer work or the tutoring you do off the clock, relevant time spent outside of the office is a great way to show off who you are as a person.
5. Missing a Cover Letter: Writing an outstanding cover letter is something very few people put the necessary effort into. However, given the usually strict structure of a resume, your cover letter should be a space for you to feel creative and color outside of the lines a little; introduce yourself as a person and not a skill set.
While deciding how you want to structure your resume is obviously one you should take personally and make according to your own preferences, these are just a few tips to help you stand out in a stack.
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