In the movie Legally Blonde, the title character Elle Woods lands an internship at a prestigious law firm thanks in large part to her pink, scented resume. And while Elle thought those elements gave her resume a little ‘something extra,’ real-world employers wouldn’t be impressed. So, in an age when algorithms weed out hundreds, if not thousands of resumes, what steps can you take to help yours stand out?
Time for Tweaking
Whether you have five minutes or 15 minutes, take the time to look over your resume to see where it needs improvement. Remember, if you are qualified for a position, it should be easy for a recruiter to find evidence of that on your resume. This is where keeping an ePortfolio will help. Not only will you be able to extract information to use on your resume, but you’ll also be able to link to your ePortfolio to show further evidence of your qualifications.
1 – Make your hyperlinks live – All links to email, social media, and your ePortfolio should be live (and current/not broken). Anything you can do to make it easier for a recruiter to learn about you will go a long way in moving your resume forward to the next round.
2 – Remove your address – Don’t let where you live keep you from getting the job you want! Removing your address lets recruiters focus on your qualifications and not your location. In its place, add a link to your ePortfolio, along with other relevant social media handles.
3 – Update your skills section – Time to update those hard and soft skills that employers want. You’ll also want to remove any skills that are outdated or are considered skills that employers assume you have (e.g., proficiency in Microsoft Word).
4 – Create a specific skills section – You may have a variety of skills related to a position, such as foreign language or software. To help them stand out, try creating a specific section and listing those skills under the heading. Just be selective about what skills you choose.
5 – Add a qualifications section – Nix the career objective. It’s obvious and takes up valuable space. Replace it with a six-sentence summary that presents your greatest achievements, major skills, and important experiences. The right keywords will get noticed in the applicant tracking system and hiring managers will read your important information right away.
6 – Leverage your experience – You should never lie on a resume, but when you’re starting out, the experience section of your resume can look sparse. If it’s relevant, consider putting part-time work on your resume. Also look at significant volunteer experience where you’ve played a vital role, or if you’ve freelanced.
7 – Cut and condense – Keep your bullet points for any given position to under seven. Recruiters don’t have time for in-depth reading—no matter how good your bullet points are.
Before You Submit…
Ready to send? First, copy and paste your resume into a word cloud generator like TagCrowd (it’s free) and see which keywords stand out. If they aren’t the words you want to be remembered by, go back and tweak some more. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details, so make sure your details count!
Share in the comments tweaks you’ve made that got your resume noticed.
Photo Courtesy of: Nic McPhee