With hundreds or thousands of qualified applicants applying online for every available job posting, how do you ensure your resume stands out from the pack? For starters, your resume needs to communicate how strong and qualified you are as a candidate. Employing the right strategies helps you create an impactful resume that grabs attention.
Customize Your Content
Believe it or not, many job candidates still mistakenly believe they can get results from mass-applying to hundreds of jobs using the same generic resume template. By tailoring your resume content to match each job, you immediately stand out as someone who focuses on the employer's needs. Read the job description thoroughly, and do your research on the company to help you determine the most relevant skills and experiences to emphasize in your resume for each application.
Use Keywords Wisely
Due to the overwhelming popularity of applicant tracking software, most candidates know that to make it past the system, their resumes must include the right keywords. But there is an art to using keywords; overloading your resume with them or putting them in places where they don't match the context is a surefire way to have your resume flagged by the system. Place keywords where they flow naturally, and use them only a few times throughout your resume to catch the attention of hiring managers.
Your resume should ultimately identify who you are. Think about what you excel at within your current position. What do you do most consistently that brings value to your organization, and what would bring value to a potential employer? Once you have your answer, create a three- or four-sentence statement that sums up who you are and what you bring to the table. Placing this at the top of your resume in lieu of an objective sends a strong message to employers.
Keep It Simple
To minimize glitches and formatting issues, keep your resume as simple and straightforward as possible. Using embedded tables, charts and graphics might be eye-catching but could result in a big mess on a computer or smartphone screen. You want your resume to be easy to read and follow, with a healthy amount of white space to give the eyes a rest. If you want to add creativity, try using a different font than the oft-used Arial or Times New Roman. Stick to simple, legible choices such as Calibri or Helvetica; these offer just enough of a difference to give your resume a fresh look without sacrificing functionality.
With so much of today's job hunt being conducted online, it's more important than ever to make a resume that speaks volumes and grabs attention. When you send out a clean, professional resume tailored to a specific position, you give yourself a major advantage over the competition.
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