Tired of submitting countless applications during recruitment season with no luck? We’ve compiled a list of 10 ways to spice up your resume and make it stand out from the rest.
1. MAKE SURE ITS CLEAN AND CONSISTENT
Before even considering anything else, make sure your layout is clean and your formatting is consistent. There is a surprisingly large number of places your resume’s formatting may be inconsistent – and although these inconsistencies may not be directly noticeable, they’ll take away from the overall cleanliness and flow of your resume.
One key difference to look out for is the types of hyphens being used in your dates and timeframes – make sure they’re the same size.
“June 2019 – June 2020” vs “June 2019 – June 2020”
Another thing to look out for is the spacing between your headings and body text. You want to make it as easy as possible for a recruiter to skim over your resume and catch the most important information.
The font you choose can also have a significant impact on the recruiters ability to skim over your resume. Picking a font that is clean, modern and easy to read is one of the most important parts of cleaning up your resume. While Calibri is great, it’s also the standard used by most applicants and won’t make your resume stand out from the rest. Here are a few new fonts to try out:
2. REPLACE YOUR OBJECTIVE STATEMENT
Many recruiters have confirmed that objective statements are outdated, and aren’t usually worth reading. This means that you can take advantage of this new found space and create something better than an objective statement – a summary of qualifications.
This section is meant to go exactly where your objective statement would normally go – at the top of the page. It should include a summary of all the skills and experience you’ve gained over the course of your employment and school experience. It should include the skill you gained and how you gained it – (ex. Highly proficient in Microsoft Excel after gaining practical experience working as a Research Analyst Co-op).
3. ADD PERSONALITY
Professionalism doesn’t mean you can’t let your personality shine through on your resume. Try and let your layout reflect who you are as a person, and choose words that you’d find yourself using in everyday life.
Chances are, you’re applying to work for a specific company because your values align with theirs. Make sure your values are evident on your resume – try and include what’s important to you and what you’re passionate about in addition to the skills you have.
4. QUANTIFY WHEN POSSIBLE
Whenever possible, try and attach a number to your accomplishments. If you reduced reporting errors by 15% during your internship, include that metric. If you can’t put a number to what you accomplished, try and place emphasis on what it was that you achieved or brought to the organization during your experience.
“Developed a tracking system that helped significantly increase efficiency of reporting quality.”
5. MAKE SURE YOUR FORMATTING IS COHESIVE
While this article may be about your resume, its formatting will only be as good as its consistency with your cover letter. Make sure that everything you choose to do with your resume, you do with your cover letter. The margins, font, font size and spacing between any headings or paragraphs should all be the same.
The goal is to create a cover letter and resume that flow together as one clean, cohesive package.
6. MAKE IT RESULTS-ORIENTED
Like previously mentioned, try to put the focus on what was accomplished rather than what your responsibilities were in a certain position.
For example, rather than saying you were “responsible for tracking and reporting”, you could say that you “tracked progress in a database and created a year-end report highlighting accomplishments in the communications department”.
7. INVITE RECRUITERS ONLINE
If you haven’t read our LinkedIn 101 article, make sure to check it out. Once you’ve given your profile a refresher, add that link into your resume. Very few employers are reviewing paper copies these days, so including a hyper-link to your LinkedIn saves them the extra step of searching for your profile from scratch.
Add the link to your profile at the top along with the rest of your contact information, and make sure the link text says “LinkedIn” – no lengthy URLs.
8. VERB SWAP
Add some excitement to your experiences by doing a verb swap. Even if the job itself wasn’t exactly the most thrilling, there’s always a way to add some action into the language that describes the experience.
Check out this fantastic list of action-words we found that categorizes by type of achievement. No matter how confident you are in your resume, this list is guaranteed to provide you with at least a couple of options to freshen up your descriptors.
9. ELIMINATE ORPHAN WORDS
This is another simple way to make sure your resume is clean, skimmable, and optimizes space as efficiently as possible. An orphan word is a word that ends a sentence on a new line. A best practice is to try and avoid having any single-word lines, and try to make sure your lines are at least half as wide as your page.
Sometimes this may require some rewording, but if it means saving 2-3 lines worth of space, you’ll be thanking yourself later when you’re not faced with trying to cut down a two page resume into one.
10. USE A WORD CLOUD
This can be a fun last step once you think you’ve perfected your resume.
A word cloud generator allows you to upload a file, and the generator will create a word cloud that shows the most prominent words in big, bold letters, and the least prominent words in smaller lighter letters. This allows you to know which words will stand out to the recruiter the most, and helps you to predict what your resume will have you remembered for most.
TagCrowd offers a free and easy to use generator – try it out on your resume and see how successful you’ve been at creating a resume in accordance with the impression you want to leave recruiters with.
TRMC wishes you the best of luck this recruitment season – let us know in the comments what kinds of tips and tricks you’d like to see next.