There are millions of jobs advertised online every day, ranging from platforms such as LinkedIn and Infojobs to more informal posts on Facebook or other social media. For each position, the employer will likely receive scores of applications that they will have to sort through, with the vast majority of applicants never hearing back from their application.
Add to this the strength of competition for any job from minimum wage up to graduate level and you have a system that makes it incredibly hard to stand out from the rest of the resumes unless you ‘know someone’ at the company you’re applying to. So how CAN you stand out against the crowd?
The first thing you should have in mind is that this process is very slow, sometimes is hard to find a match between your qualifications and the perfect position. Be ready to dig in for a constant effort! Experts claim that the 80% of the job hunting process you should spend networking, even though making a good resume is important you will need to build contacts in the industry in order to learn the right person to put your resume in front of to avoid the masses.
So what about the other 20%?
1. Be creative!
Generally, the Human Resources team is tired of traditional, bland looking resumes and CVs. Even though you are applying for a conventional company, let your creativity run wild! Create two or three different designs or format for your resume, each one with a different approach. A picture is worth a thousand words, make it visually appealing!
Using software like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator will help you create a visually stunning document with the added benefit of allowing you to showcase your abilities with the software which will be a real-life portfolio for the employer to hold in their hand. If you aren’t as au fait with these systems then even using templates or finding inspiration online will be a great first step to originality.
2. Make It Relevant
First of all, if you are sending your resume to a different country research a few on how they usually elaborate on them. In The U.S.A, for example, related to the citizenship rights it is not allowed to enclose a profile picture. Certainly, such details are ignored even though they are very important. Take care!
Research the company you are applying to or the sector that you want to work in thoroughly, and set out your stall accordingly. This will help you portray your knowledge of the business or industry and impress your potential employer right off the bat!
In addition, you will organize your resume considering your hard skills and your soft skills, in this second one they are looking for specifical skills such as negotiation, critical thinking, complex problem solving, emotional intelligence, judgment and decision making, cognitive flexibility or people management. Don´t forget to include those keywords!
3. Quality vs quantity
The time an HR professional spends on reading a resume is about 3 or 6 seconds. One page is enough for a good resume! It is for this reason that we need to know that every word we add to our resume counts and have to bring added value. Furthermore, every skill we put on it has to be demonstrable if they ask for it in the face to face interview. With this in mind, it is worthwhile preparing several examples of when you used these skills in real life before an interview so you’re not caught off guard!
To avoid words numbers also can be used, organize your resume on a timeline and give some significant figures, this will help you to make it shorter and also be a little change from the status quo that will help your resume stand out a little more.
While including your education, professional experience and personal information is vital; you should also include a bit about yourself. What are your achievements outside of the professional arena, such as in sports or other pursuits? What do you like to do in your spare time and why? All of this will help an employer determine if you are a good fit for their team.
4. Interactive resume
If you are applying to a non-conventional company related to social media for a job to work on the Internet, I will recommend you to explore another way to get the attention of your headhunter. This is especially true in the modern age where the world is more visual than ever, so creating a thrilling experience in your resume will make you stand out against the others.
You can be inspired by Anaëlle Antigny, a young French creative who decided to use Instagram Stories to create her resume; or Robby Leonardi, a New York designer who made his resume in an old school video game style.
Whilst you don’t need to go to all this effort, using your design skills to create a completely unique resume experience will definitely make you stand out, even if you aren’t successful in all of your applications. It’s about getting the information in front of the right people, and an interactive resume is an ideal way to do this.
5. Sell Yourself
One of the main issues many people have when putting together their resume is that they don’t sell themselves. All the qualifications and experience may be there, but the company wants to hire a person, not an automaton.
Use your resume as your market stall to showcase the kind of person you are, as well as your professional aptitude and qualifications. This has the added benefit of boosting your confidence at the interview as they will have chosen your resume out of the possible hundreds of others with similar or the same qualifications.
Still not getting the results you want? You may also be interested in reading about why resumes get rejected.