5 Ways To Outshine Competition With Your Resume
Your resume can help or break your chances of landing the desired job. It is the first point of contact of HR professionals and recruiters with your persona and can become a great self-promotion tool if you know how to shape it to make your life story a must-read narrative showcasing you in your best light. Keep in mind that these people go over enormous amounts of resumes every day. This puts additional pressure on prospects to come up with innovative ways of presenting information to capture the recruiter’s eye and not land in the pile of rejected job applications. Turn your story into a customized and engaging narrative, relevant for the job that you are applying for. Do your homework – i.e. perform an extensive research of the company in which you would like to grow professionally. This could give your resume the competitive edge that will put you ahead of the job hunting pack.
Here are some tips on getting the most out of your resume and making a step towards scoring a job interview. With just a little bit of out-of-the-box thinking and practice, you can turn it into a masterpiece.
1) Make your story powerful
Use the summary section of your resume to tell your reader who you are. What we mean by crafting a compelling story is not fabricating one. Rather, you should create an authentic experience for the recruiter and make yourself alive on paper. Establishing a connection with your reader will set you apart from the regular templated resumes and intrigue the recruiter. It will also lend more credibility to your accomplishments.
You should research the company and the position that you are applying for – that will give you an idea what the organization stands for, what challenges it faces, what it looks for in the prospective candidates. Tailor your story to address these.
Cover the basic elements of a story – have a compelling character, a genuine setting and of course, a plot that is easy to follow and conveys your message. In most cases, the character will be yourself, your colleagues or your customers (it some case it might even be your boss). The setting will usually be your company or your division. As for the plot, you could write about a major project you have been working on, or discuss how you handled a crisis in the organization. You can also guide your reader through a major personal challenge that you have managed to overcome.
2) Focus on relevant experience (work-related or volunteering)
You should carefully choose the experience you want to include in your resume. Given the constrained space you have as well as the limited time recruiters will spent on browsing through your life story, be very strategic about the information that you provide. If you are aiming at a managerial position, including summer jobs from your youth years might not be the best idea unless you have interned at a major corporation in your chosen field of occupation. Emphasize on jobs that have enriched your skills arsenal, particularly skills that you believe will be crucial in the job that you are aspiring to get. You should adopt a similar strategy when it comes to including volunteering experiences. Volunteering for a cause is worth mentioning in your resume as it reveals personality traits. Including an organization that you regularly donate your free time to is a good candidate for your resume as well – it will indicate to your potential employer that you are reliable and trustworthy person.
3) Research the company and the job
The benefits of spending time on getting to know the organization you are hoping to become part of are twofold – it will help you determine whether this is the right place for you and you might be able to identify opportunities for improvements that you can exploit in your resume. For example, emphasizing how hiring you can benefit the organization and help it achieve its objectives. If you want to go a step further you can actually show them what they will be getting by hiring you – i.e. you can develop an expansion or growth plan that the company utilizes to capture market share or provide recommendation as to how they can deal with a negative public reaction. That will set you apart and will reveal your genuine interest in the company to the recruiter.
4) Quantify your achievements
Make your achievements stand out to the recruit – quantify them. Numbers add credibility, have a real meaning and show your contribution to the success of an organization. More so if they exceed the benchmarks of the latter. Numbers are also more visually appealing and help break the boring lines of text
5) Make your resume visually appealing
Lastly, using your creativity to make your resume easy to read, look and quickly find the relevant information will be a smart move that will be appreciated by employers. Don’t use every bit of white space to cram more details – make sure the information is presented neatly and elegantly. Don’t overdo it with the font, use a common one that makes your resume look professional. Group your information under clear headings and if you want to emphasize a particular section, don’t hesitate to do it by employing different techniques – by shading it or presenting it in the form of an infographic. Use keywords in your narrative but don’t go overboard – let them blend naturally into your life story.
Give those easy to follow tactics a try and you might find that adding a little bit of extra effort into customizing your resume can make a big difference in your job search.