In a competitive job market — much like so many are experiencing now, an outstanding resume can mean the difference between getting a call for an interview or it going to the next resume in the pile. Making your resume stand out among the stack of dozens, hundreds or, in some cases, thousands of resumes the employer receives is almost always a positive thing, unless, of course, it’s sticking out for the wrong reasons.
A great resume always includes contact information, including your first and last names, phone number and a professional-sounding email address. Throughout the resume, dates are listed as well as pertinent skills.
Although it may seem redundant in the time of technology we live in, spell check is more than necessary on your resume and you should always check it through a dedicated spell check application and on your own. After all, almost nothing will stick out to a potential employer than misspelled words. You don’t want to say a “Bachelorette” when you mean to write “Baccalaureate” in your education section. Within the same line of thought is to always spell out your words unless you’re using widely accepted or industry-specific acronyms or abbreviations. Although “text speak” may be acceptable on social media platforms and, well, texting, it’s not acceptable on your resume.
Keep it Relevant
Your resume should be relevant to the position — and nothing else. Even if you have a “Skills” section, the skills you list should offer support to the position. Explain — briefly — what a skill will offer to the position if the relevance doesn’t automatically present itself.
Keeping the information on your resume relevant also means not offering personal information, particularly involving your personal life. Your potential interviewer may ask certain questions about your personal life to get to know you during an interview, and you should keep it at that.
In this same line of thinking, your resume should be tailored to the position you’re applying for. During these economic times and this competitive job market, many people are applying to several different positions at the same time. If you’re one of these people, making several resumes tailored to each industry is your best bet.
Deciding What to Exclude
Your resume should always be honest — never lie. That being said however, you may choose to exclude certain work experiences or other experiences. The resume should highlight your skills and what you will offer to the company. In essence, your resume is a sales brochure for you. A good resume gets you noticed, a great resume gets your foot in the door for an interview.
Exclude very short past work experiences and highlight work experiences that pertain directly to your potential position. If none of your past work experiences are in the same industry as the position you’re applying to, offer your best work experiences and the skills you gained that will pertain to the position.
Having your resume stand out is a requirement, but having it stand out because you consistently misspelled words or mentioned personal information instead of skills can cost you the interview.