Cre­at­ing A Re­sume To Stand Out From The Crowd

The Washington Post Sunday - - JOBS -

Have you ever ap­plied for a job that fit you like a soul mate, but never re­ceived a re­sponse af­ter sub­mit­ting your re­sume? You have the right de­gree, you have ex­pe­ri­ence and have proven your­self in the in­dus­try, so how is it pos­si­ble your phone didn’t ring im­me­di­ately af­ter you hit the send but­ton?

Ac­cord­ing to Mon­, 29 re­sumes are up­loaded ev­ery minute to Mon­ster’s world­wide net­work. Ca­ says each month mil­lions of job seek­ers browse job postings on the site. With those statis­tics, it’s no won­der peo­ple are strug­gling to get eyes on their re­sumes and calls for in­ter­views.

How can you pos­si­bly stand out as ex­cep­tional among mil­lions (more likely hun­dreds or thou­sands, but still sig­nif­i­cant) of other ap­pli­cants? While the data seems daunt­ing, the for­mula for mak­ing an im­pres­sion is ac­tu­ally sim­pler than it seems.

El­iz­a­beth Malat­es­tinic, se­nior lec­turer in Hu­man Re­sources Man­age­ment at the In­di­ana Univer­sity Kel­ley School of Busi­ness, says hir­ing man­agers have very spe­cific ideas of what skills and ex­pe­ri­ences can­di­dates need to fit into open po­si­tions.

“Don’t think of your re­sume as a ‘one-siz­e­fits-all’ ex­er­cise. Com­pa­nies want to know how you can meet their needs, so be sure to re­view the job de­scrip­tion/ad­ver­tise­ment thor­oughly and make sure you ad­dress how your skills match their needs,” Malat­es­tinic said. “It’s easy to tailor re­sumes—there’s no ex­cuse for send­ing one which doesn’t show­case how you’re a good fit for the job.”

The way a re­sume is pre­sented also de­pends on the job and or­ga­ni­za­tion you are ap­ply­ing to.

“Keep in mind the in­dus­try you’re ap­ply­ing to be­fore get­ting too cre­ative,” Malat­es­tinic said. “What im­presses at an ad­ver­tis­ing agency might be­wil­der the re­cruiter at an ac­count­ing firm.”

An­other mis­take ap­pli­cants make is in­tro­duc­ing them­selves in an un­mem­o­rable way.

“Many peo­ple send a per­func­tory email di­rect­ing the re­cruiter to ‘see the at­tached re­sume.’ A job seeker should think of that email as a chance to make the re­cruiter look for­ward to read­ing his or her re­sume,” Malat­es­tinic said. “Re­cruiters are of­ten over­whelmed with re­sumes and tend to scan them quickly—use your email to grab the re­cruiter’s at­ten­tion and give that per­son a rea­son to spend ex­tra time on yours.”

In a post on its site, ex­perts at Ca­reerBuilder ad­vise ap­pli­cants to keep re­sumes sim­ple and easy to read.

“Keep in mind, em­ploy­ers tend to have quite a few re­sumes they need to look over, and thus don’t tend to spend much time on any in­di­vid­ual re­sume—at least in the early stages of the ap­pli­ca­tion process. The eas­ier your re­sume is to read, the more likely it is to ac­tu­ally be read. Use short bul­lets that some­one can eas­ily scan.”

Ca­reerBuilder ex­perts also rec­om­mend us­ing spe­cific past ex­pe­ri­ences to demon­strate you are the best fit for the job.

Daphne Wother­spoon, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the IT prac­tice HireS­trat­egy, weighed in on the topic in a Ca­reerBuilder post.

“In or­der to stand out, it’s not enough to sim­ply list the skills you have that match up with the em­ployer’s needs. Frame your work ex­pe­ri­ence with quan­tifi­able or spe­cific busi­ness out­comes you’ve helped achieve. For ex­am­ple, rather than ‘opened new ac­counts and sold into ex­ist­ing cus­tomers,’ con­sider not­ing you de­vel­oped a new busi­ness pipe­line of $3 mil­lion and se­cured 18 new clients,’” Wother­spoon said. “It makes your pro­fes­sional ac­com­plish­ments more tan­gi­ble for hir­ing man­agers.”

In a post on its site, ex­perts at Mon­ster said know­ing what to leave off your re­sume can be as im­por­tant as know­ing what to put on it.

“You might think it’s a good idea to in­clude as much in­for­ma­tion as pos­si­ble to pad a weaker re­sume, but this ap­proach can back­fire. In­clud­ing ir­rel­e­vant jobs or ex­tra­ne­ous ac­com­plish­ments from rel­e­vant jobs tells your po­ten­tial em­ployer that you don’t un­der­stand what they’re look­ing for. Don’t make your tar­get reader fish through a bunch of noise in or­der to find what’s re­ally im­por­tant to her, be­cause she won’t. She’ll as­sume that you don’t get it, and move on.”

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