Think of a resume as a digital first impression. It’s the first view of you that a potential employer will see. Just like first impressions, you only get one chance to make an impact. Does your resume make the right impression? There are few ways that you can make your resume stand out and make the hiring manager want to call you in for an interview.
The more detailed you can make your resume the better. Don’t just write what you’ve done, write about how you did it. Simply listing your job responsibilities won’t make you stand out from the crowd. Avoid overused buzzwords and replace passive words with ones that speak to actions. Your resume isn’t the place to be modest. If you feel like you’re bragging, you’re probably on the right track. When in doubt, have a friend read through it and ask them for their reaction.
Highlight your most relevant experience first.
When you’re listing your job responsibilities, write about your most relevant experience first. Think about which parts of your current job are most transferable to the position you’re applying for, and list those first. Your first two bullet points or first two lines in a paragraph should highlight your biggest strengths. A good rule of thumb is to use a statistic in your first bullet point and describe a soft skill such as communication in the second. This way, if those are the only two points that get read, they’ll help showcase what you can do.
Use statistics whenever possible.
Talk about the results you’ve achieved using statistics. There are two benefits to using statistics – they’re powerful and they stand out. With the average recruiter or hiring manager spending less than 30 seconds scanning a resume, those numbers really stand out. Just writing that you increased sales doesn’t tell the person reading your resume anything about you, but writing that you increased sales by 35% by training your staff to be better communicators really stands out.
Make friends with the thesaurus.
You want to be as descriptive as possible, but a resume can get repetitive very quickly. The thesaurus will help you avoid writing ‘managed’ a dozen times. Using more descriptive words will create more impact as well. The thesaurus can help you transform ‘Responsible for managing a team of 10 salespeople.’ into ‘Oversaw a team of 10 salespeople to ensure they met daily sales quotas.’