Recently, I found myself out a job and searching online ads for a new one. This time though, I want to go for the jobs I dream about. My resume is filled with great experiences, but I want my resume to open the door for the work I desire.
Don’t we all want to wake up and do the work we dream about? We can. All we have to do is apply.
But, when there are so many others standing in the doorway too, what sets us apart? What gives us that first impression turning our dreams into reality?
Our resumes. They go before us, clearing the way, telling our tales of past jobs and lessons learned. So, how can we write them to really set us apart?
Here are five ways to make your resume stand out.
1. Customize your resume: Look over your work experiences and decide which ones are best for this job. If you aren’t sure, look over the job description and see if skills from a previous job apply to this one. Open a new word document page to create a tailor made for this job resume and keep your original intact. You never know what skills the next opportunity is going to require!
2. Keywords: Add words from the job description into your resume. Some companies use applicant tracking software or an ATS to scan resumes for keywords to decide which ones go onto the next phase. For example, if the job description says ‘skills in word processing, editing, proofreading and writing’ be sure to include those words in your resume. This helps you stick out and move forward.
3. Bullet points: Pretend to be a manager for a moment. Your day is busy, but you need a new employee, so you sit down to a stack of resumes. By the third one you get tired of reading and start skimming because, let’s be honest, this is a lot. What can you do, as one of the many resumes in the stack, to make your accomplishments stand out while holding the attention of your busy future employer? Write your skills from past jobs in bullet points and include your major roles and responsibilities in these points. This emphasizes your skills while giving your future employer a more efficient way to learn about you.
4. Professional Development: Add a bullet point including professional development and growth from your previous work experiences. This shows your future employer deeper insights you gained from past experiences plus it sets you up with some good talking points during an interview. For example, I use ‘developed interpersonal communication skills’ from my time working in clinics and I always get asked about it during interviews.
5. Proofread: Take the time to read your resume out loud and make any necessary corrections. If another person can look over it too even better. This sounds simple, but it makes a huge difference!
There’s never a wrong time to pull out your resume and freshen it up. Who knows what doors will open as you start knocking!