Writing a resume is a difficult task. What does the employer want to see on your resume? Should you include all of your previous jobs? What do you write in your summary statement? A resume is an interview, before the interview. Your chance of landing the job interview relies on a (preferably) single-page paper about your experience. So what will make your resume stand out when there is a standard format it? First things first, there are rules to writing a resume that should not be broken and yes, there are ways to make your resume format stand out.
Get to the point.
Resumes’ should be crisp and to the point. Do not try to shrink your font size to add in every single detail about your past position; the employer reading your resume knows there is more that goes into a job that meets the eye. When you are adding in your experience include the: job title, your responsibilities, and an accomplishment you made during your time in the position. Do not recount every detail of every accomplishment or write out your day-to-day routine; save that information for the real interview.
Follow the format.
A resume has a specific format for a reason; your resume is not the only one the employer is reading. Typically, a resume will flow as: contact information, summary statement, experience, education, and skill set/expertise. Do not try to throw off your reader with a surprise and personalized resume format. Keep it organized and easy to follow. If you want your resume to stand out, that is done through your writing and word choice.
Avoid – at all costs – spelling and grammar errors.
Spelling and grammar errors are a sign of laziness and being careless. You wouldn’t address a check to the wrong person, so don’t misspell words or have grammar errors on your resume. Triple check your resume and have a second opinion before submitting it.
This might appear as conflicting with getting to the point, but being specific can still be straightforward. Anyone can say that they surpassed everyone in their last job; so you need to give numbers, percentages, and supporting evidence that you did indeed, surpass everyone.
Customize your resume to the job you are applying to.
Whether you are applying for the same job at different companies or different jobs within the same company, your resumes should not be identical. This does not mean you change, switch, or lie about your skills/experience. This does mean that you highlight the skills and experiences the employer illustrates in the job description. For example: if you are a marketing expert, one company may describe someone who is an internet wiz with excellent social media skills and a second company may describe someone who has great verbal and written communication skills. When applying for the first emphasize your ability and talent with social media (if applicable), and when applying for the latter highlight your ability to interact with people and your writing skills.
Keep it short and sweet.
A standard resume format sticks to one page. On average, the individual reading your resume spends six seconds looking it over. Only include what is important, what you think makes you stand out from the rest. Unless you are applying for an executive level position, the one-page rule is something to be well aware of.