When looking for a job, whether it is at Microsoft or the local insurance company, the first line of offense is your resume. The resume is what they will use to make a decision whether or not to interview you. This piece of paper represents not only your work history, but your personality and interests too. Here are some ways to perk up your resume and get it noticed.
Make your resume stand out. Do not make it look or sound like all of the others. You want to avoid using the same terms and words that almost everyone else uses on his or her resumes. Words such as “responsible, timely, productive” are truly over used. In order to stand out and get noticed use some new words or phrases. Use the Internet for different ways to say the word. Also a Thesaurus is a good tool to use.
Make it look different. No we are not telling you to print it out on bright pink paper (although it will get noticed, just not in the way that you want). Instead of using the typical chronological order resume that almost everyone uses, try something different. There is a type of resume called a “functional resume”. This type of resume focuses on your skills versus your work experience. For this, you would list an important skill for the job to which you’re applying, followed by a list of accomplishments that demonstrate that skill. If you don’t have relevant skills or a strong work history, you could use a combination résumé, which combines elements of both a functional and a chronological format.
You also want to explain any gaps in employment. Doing it on the resume does two things. It answers the question right away avoiding them having doubt about you causing them to skip over you when they are creating the interview list, and, if you get an interview, it avoids you having to take time to explain the gap. This shows that you are very upfront and are not trying to hide anything.
You want to sell yourself, so be proud of your accomplishments and put them down. Highlight important numbers. Percentages, dollar amounts, sales figures, if you’ve got them, use them. These are great, solid data points that clearly convey your experience, even across industries. Now is not the time to be modest. If you had a success, put it on the resume.
Again, your resume is the first impression that you will make on an employer. You want to stand out and be remembered. Do some of the above tips and try to think of some on your own. Do not be afraid to think outside the box. Just remember, be creative, but stay professional.