We all know that hiring managers are being inundated with resumes for current job openings. We wanted to know:
What is the best way for your resume to stand out amongst the vast competition in today’s job market?
To answer this important question, we turned to 5 industry experts in career development. Here is their top notch advice you don’t want to miss.
J.T. O’Donnell, founder of Careerealism.com, says “The best way to get your resume to stand out is to have it hand-delivered by someone who works at the company. There is no getting around this fact: Over 80% of jobs today are gotten via referral. In fact, a lot of hiring managers aren’t even posting jobs anymore because they can’t handle getting barraged with resumes in their inbox. Instead, they ask trusted employees if they know anyone who would be a good fit for the organization. So, you have to network constantly to A) hear about opportunities, and B) to get people to walk your resume into the hiring manager.”
With our current global economy, the face of competition has certainly changed. The playing field isn’t quite as level—you are no longer competing with people your own age; now you battle professionals with years of experience and advanced degrees. So how do you really differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack in terms of your resume? First step: I highly suggest narrowing your focus. Focus on three to five companies that you really want to work for rather than a mass mailing. Secondly, put in the time to get to know the people that have the decision-making power for your top five selections. The best way to do this is by connecting with the HR people on Linkedin. It is a great tool to use to become directly linked with the hiring manager. Thirdly, work on developing a relationship and show them how badly you want to work there and what an asset you will be. Now you have a name associated with those companies—a direct connection to send your resume. Remember, you’ve built an online reputation and the HR Rep is already intrigued because he or she is familiar with your initiative and communication skills.
I see a lot of resumes and the one thing I cannot stress enough is to read the job description and application requirements thoroughly. If samples, cover letter and resume is asked for, please make sure that you send everything that has been requested. Often times applicants will send links to check out their writing samples or links to a website—sometimes those links don’t work and quite honestly, I don’t have the time to search out work on websites for over 300 applicants. What really grabs my attention is whether you have done your homework. If you mention my online magazine in your cover letter and let me know that you have looked through the site and the qualities that you bring to the table that will help to grow my business then your application will be more thoroughly looked at. That initiative may pay big dividends in the job search arena—it demonstrates that you truly want to be a part of our team.
The job search is never easy but if you keep at it, the position you want is only one click away!! Happy job searching.
Amanda is the co-founder of bizMe.biz, an online magazine that is the bizgal’s career coach—guiding and mentoring the young professional as she gains her career savvy, budgets her paycheck, and acquires her lifestyle. It’s like having the honest, real-world advice from a trusted professor and the encouraging support of a best friend all packaged together in articles that reflect a “just like you and me” conversation. Please visit www.bizme.biz or @bizmebizgal on twitter.
The first 2 things that come to mind for Melenee is a well formatted resume and using a somewhat unique font. Here’s what she had to say:
Formatting; By this I mean using a good amount of white space on the page and not letting your resume run on to 2 and 1/4 pages. That 1/4 page will drive me nuts… I don’t care how many pages your resume is, as long as it contains relevant content and the margins are even left to right and top to bottom.
Unique font; As a recruiter who can read 100 resumes a day and the majority are in Times New Roman or Arial, it’s refreshing to see a Century Gothic, Verdana, or Book Antiqua.
DONT use color, downloaded fonts, or overly creative page formats, UNLESS you are in the creative field. Then all of that is a MUST.
Melenee Suarez Burns, Executive Recruiter at a High-End Retailer
To learn more tips from Melenee, check out our previous interview: Notes from an Executive Recruiter
Abby Kohut believes there are two “best” items you can do when updating your resume.
First, you need to make sure that you are using the relevant keywords for your profession and that you are listing them correctly. Using the right keywords will ensure that your resume rises to the surface and gets noticed by a recruiter. Be sure to spell keywords correctly and avoid abbreviations of words that you want to be searchable. For example: If you are “proficient in Word and Excel”, say that you are “proficient in Microsoft Word & Microsoft Excel.” The same goes for Office vs. Microsoft Office. A recruiter cannot search on the words “office”, “word” or “excel” because they are too common on a resume – people excel at their jobs, work in an office, and type 40 words a minute. If you have technical skills, list the correct versions (e.g., 3.1 vs. 4.0) and spell the applications correctly (e.g. Quark Express vs. Quark XPress). Do not add extra keywords on your resumes in a white font, because although they appear to be invisible to you, they won’t be in a recruiter’s database and you will be automatically disqualified.
The second way to stand out from the crowd is to list accomplishments for each job that you have on your resume. If you are a Customer Service Representative, I am quite sure that you know how to answer the phone and help customers. What I want to know, instead, is why you are the best Customer Service Representative I could possibly hire. I want to know if you help more customers in less time than your peers. I want to know if you turn 100% of your irate customers into satisfied customers. I want to know if any of your customers called your boss to tell them how wonderful you were. I want to know if you enter the majority of your orders without mistakes. Those are the things I will ask you during your interview, but the way to get the interview in the first place is to make sure that I know about them on paper.
Abby Kohut , President and Staffing Consultant, Staffing Symphony, LLC
Her websites include www.AbsolutelyAbby.com and www.CareerWakeUpCalls.com
You can also connect with Abby on twitter @Absolutely_Abby
Ilona Vanderwoude, founder of CareerBranches.com, gave 3 must-haves that will help your resume get noticed among your competition:
1 – Your resume needs to be branded.
When your resume is branded, it clarifies why YOU should be hired over anyone else with the same background, with the same type of responsibilities, and even similar achievements. A personal brand is organic and authentic. It’s really about who you are and your core skill set, and then distilled into the one, overriding factor that would make you irresistible to employers. It is also something that you would absolutely love doing.
How you can do this: Once you find your brand, you want to turn it into a branding statement of 1-2 sentences max. This goes in the top third of your resume. Remember this: Companies will interview you for the money or the bottom-line part of your brand. But they will hire you for the chemistry part. However, without the money part, you don’t get through the door in the first place.
2 – Your resume needs to be focused.
Trying to keep your options open on your resume almost always backfires. So we want to create a clear focus to make it instantly clear who you are and what you do.
How you can do this: If you’re staying in the same field, simply bold your title (or variation thereof) at the top of your resume. “Global Marketing Specialist,” Or: Global Marketing Specialist with 15 years’ experience in consumer industries. If you want to pursue different types of positions in different industries, make sure to tweak your resume so you have multiple versions. Just remember that an unfocused resume is an ineffective resume. It may feel counter-intuitive to you if you’re not sure what you want to do or if you want to keep your options open, but focusing your resume is vital.
3 – Show proof of your statements.
In other words: back up your brand and brand statement with specifics.
How you can do this: In your resume’s top section, create a summary of a few lines max – don’t go overboard – and weave in either quantifiable achievements or mention one or two representative successes that show some context (where you did this and with whom). This part is often called the summary, or profile. It doesn’t matter what you call it, and you certainly don’t need to label it on your resume. People will get what it’s about. Next, make sure to quantify your achievements throughout your resume when describing your achievements. Provide some context for them by comparing your accomplishments to industry or company averages, or to those of your peers or your predecessor. This way, your resume does not read like a job description. Instead, it will give readers a very clear picture of what unique things you have done and what sets you apart from John Doe with a similar background.
As a parting thought: Always make sure that everything on your resume is there for a reason and is relevant to your target. Your resume need not be all-inclusive. Anything that’s not relevant distracts from your core message.
Ilona (“rhymes with Fiona”) Vanderwoude is a nationally published resume expert and New York City’s only Master Resume Writer (1 of only 28 worldwide). Her specialty is working with multi-talented professionals who simply can’t pick one passion or career.
Please visit www.CareerBranches.com to claim your 3 free gifts, read her blog at www.blog.CareerBranches.com and follow her on twitter @CareerBranches and www.FaceBook.com/Ilona.Vanderwoudeto keep up with the latest discussions and developments. Ilona is also teaching another class in February so don’t miss out..contact her for details!
We here at Workchic want to thank all these ladies for sharing there expert advice on making your resume stand out. We hope you will use these tips to put your resume ahead of the pack. Good Luck!