The best resumes are professional and classic, but never boring or long-winded. And it goes without saying that a resume must be flawless. One single typo or formatting mistake could create a chasm of doubt in a hiring manager’s mind as to a candidate’s level of attention to detail (and, frankly, professionalism).
Beyond triple-checking your resume (and having several other people proof it for you), there are a few things that can break a resume out of the pack.
1. Make it interesting. Yes, you want it to sound professional, but that doesn’t mean using the same old dry phrasing from the template you found online. A clean graphic layout and compelling wording goes a long way in grabbing the attention of a hiring manager whose eyes are starting to cross from all the resumes he’s seen.
2. Use real business cases, not corporate jargon. Include names, describe projects, highlight the impact your role had in each case.
3. Always speak in terms of your contributions and achievements; don’t just lay out basic job descriptions. Your resume should read like a list of your accomplishments, not like your day planner.
4. Numbers always speak louder than words. Was a project a success? Exactly how successful was it? Use growth rates, revenue increases, and numbers that illustrate the actual impact your work had on the business’s bottom and top lines. Don’t be afraid to list stats that illustrate your successes.
5. Cover all your bases. But, keep it concise. If you have 15 years of experience under your belt, your knowledge may be vast. But, keep your resume short and sweet, highlighting only your most recent and relevant experience.
6. Demonstrate consistency and growth. How often have you changed jobs? What has your job progression been like? Have you stayed stagnant at a certain level, or have you steadily climbed the ranks? These are the sort of things a hiring manager assesses at first glance. A good resume shows a perfect balance between progression and stability.
7. A paper resume is still important. Often, hiring managers will visit your LinkedIn profile to skim your experience and presentation, but then count on a paper resume to provide a perfectly curated summary of your career.
One single typo or formatting mistake on your CV could create a chasm of doubt in a hiring manager’s mind.
A great resume is only a foot in the door, of course. Interviewing skills and actual talent are paramount to landing the job of your dreams. But without the initial resume to prove that you are serious, qualified and professional, you won’t get very far.
Read our tips for answering interview questions.