Resumés can be likened to any product or service as you are essentially marketing your ‘brand’ to an employer and your resumé is the most effective marketing tool to accomplish this. No matter what the prevailing job market may be, job seekers should always regard it as a tight labor market and plan accordingly to give themselves every opportunity to land an interview. The passport to that interview is an innovative, compelling cover letter, but once an HR director’s interest is piqued, that interest must be rewarded with a resumé that is not only unique and tailored for that particular position, but also noteworthy and remarkable. Here are some tips for building a resumé that stands out.
- Know your audience—Always compose your resumé with your target audience in mind. If you’re applying for a position with an investment banking firm, make sure to note financial responsibilities and innovative investment products you’ve created or overseen. For a graphic design position with an advertising agency, craft an ad using colors and different fonts to get attention. Knowing your audience and crafting your resumé to appeal to their sensibilities are fine ways to stand out from your competition for the job.
- Be innovative—This can be risky, but it will surely get you noticed, and it might give you an edge in your job search. Innovative resumé ideas include writing your resumé on a basketball to apply for a sports-related position, incorporating pictures and calligraphy in your resumé for a job as a book illustrator, or structuring your resumé like a financial prospectus for fund manager position. Don’t be afraid to take a risk in order to stand out just remember your audience and make it appropriate for the position.
- Conduct research—Spend some time researching the company that you’re interested in working for and structure your resumé accordingly. They’ll be impressed that you’ve done your homework and it will be a strong indicator of your interest.
- Incorporate industry-specific ‘power words’—Know the appropriate terminology of the industry and incorporate these terms in the text, but be mindful of overdoing it. Describe professional accomplishments using words that create vivid images which help you stand out.
- Tweak and polish—Resumés should be treated like the first draft of a novel. All the salient points are there, they just need to be refined. Tweak and polish your resumé, and have a friend or trusted colleague look it over as well to make recommendations. Be prepared to revise it a few times and definitely customize it for each position that interests you.
Always remember that the first person that looks at your resumé probably reviews several hundred each month and anything that helps you stand out will surely be a benefit if you’ve done your homework and put some effort into it. While reading these resumé building tips, you’ve likely thought of several more that are at least as practical, useful, and relevant. Incorporate these tips and your own ideas, and you will be well on your way to a new job with plenty of opportunities for professional growth!