Make Your Resume Stand Out

I'm pretty sure your resume is great. I thought mine was too. But how can we make sure that we stand out above the crowd? With PR people seeing plenty of resumes everyday, I want to make sure that I make an impression that isn't anything like what they've already seen.

The first step in making sure that your resume is in tip-top shape is to put yourself in the place of a recruiter (more specifically, the recruiter you might actually give this resume to). What will they expect to see? What do they want to see? And what is going to blow them away?

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make on your resume is being like everyone else. If you're using the same phrases, words, and layouts as all the other resumes in the pile you won't be remembered. If you want to be hirable, you've got to be exciting!

A recruiter spends an average of only six to 10 seconds on a resume. Like, WHAT?!? I'm not even joking. So, needless to say, you need to shine--and quick! Let's grab the attention of all of the PR staff by throwing out some of the common mistakes and cliches that everyone does.

Always highlight accomplishments, not duties.

It's easy to slip into the rhythm of just listing things you did. While stating that you "worked at Dairy Queen and attended staff meetings" is great, it's not really something that will make you look any better than the 15 other people who also worked at DQ. Instead try talking about how you achieved the honor of being employee of the month once, or maybe about how you organized a new daily to-do sheet that is still used today. Employers don't care much about what you've done as what you've accomplished in your various activities.

Don't use outdated content or designs.

Haven't I preached enough--you want to stand out! So, using the same template as everyone else is just not going to cut it. Avoid resume templates that make your resume look like a thousand others and try to be a bit creative. Also, keep in mind that this is the age of technology. Try building an online portfolio and adding a link in your resume. Your portfolio can be more in-depth and more visually appealing because there isn't a one page limit. You can build instant credibility with a web portfolio that loads fast, is visually professional, and contains well-written sections showcasing your accomplishments, mission statement, core values, career progression, and leadership abilities.

Your resume shouldn't be one and done.

There are at least 10 resume types like chronological, functional, and others designed for spot opportunities. And each one has a specific purpose. The end game for all resume writing should be to obtain quality interviews. So, do you think every company, every position, and every person likes the same type of resume or wants to see the same things? No. Do some research before you apply and change your resume up a bit to match what you think they might be looking for.

Avoid meaningless adjectives.

My best advice is to drop the qualitative descriptions and add years of experience, job-specific technical skills and quantify achievements. Your resume doesn't have any backbone or meaning unless all of your statements are accompanied by proof and an explanation.

Cut out the word "creative."

It's just tired and overused, and nobody wants to hear it anymore. Creative was the top buzzword for two years in LinkedIn's annual survey of cliches. Instead of telling the recruiter you're creative, show them evidence instead. Use your portfolio or blog to show just how creative you are, but you don't need to say it on your resume. I've seen some really awesome cover letters that really showcase the person's creativity, or I've even heard of creating a video resume which could be super awesome.

Make sure your contact info is correct.

Oh em gee! Can you imagine that feeling you would get if a recruiter was trying to contact you and just couldn't because your phone number was wrong? That would be so devastating. Double, triple, and quadruple check that. Also, while in college I thought it would be best to put my home address since I'm always moving, but it's actually better to put your current address. Think of it this way, if a company is going to mail you some information do you want it to go back home to Mom and Dad or go directly to you?

Don't bury your skills list at the bottom.

When a job posting lists specific skills that are required for a given job, be sure to feature these skills front and center. You want them to catch the eye of the employer in the first third of your resume. 

There are many other things that you want to make sure you don't mess up on like proofreading for typos, using correct phrases, and ridding your resume of the "responsible for" phrase. Your resume is the stepping stone to getting a job, so invest an extra 30 minutes to make it attention-grabbing!

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