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The Essentials: Make Your Resume Stand Out From the Crowd


December 9, 2020

Keep it tight Don’t think of a resume as an exhaustive catalogue of everything you’ve ever done. Think of it as a list of reasons why you’re right for the job. For every line on a resume, you should be asking yourself what about it will help sell you. If there isn’t a clear reason for it, it shouldn’t be on the page. The old axiom is true. If you can’t sell yourself in a single page, you probably aren’t going to get the job. Longer isn’t better. Keep it recent Depending on how long your list of applicable experience and skills is, you’re going to want to make sure you’re not selling yourself based on stuff you did a decade ago. Work experience should always be listed in reverse chronological order, meaning your most recent job should be the first thing your next boss sees. Educational experience is a must-include. For a first-time job seeker, it’s probably your most relevant content, so expound on it as necessary and don’t overlook extracurricular experience, as well. For a person with relevant work experience, your academic history is less relevant. You may be able to knock it back to a single line about where you went to school, when you graduated, and with what degree. Keep it clean Readers of a certain age will remember Clippy the Paperclip, the annoying little twit mascot in Microsoft Word that always thought you were an idiot. But Clippy was helpful in this respect: suggesting Word templates for things like resumes. If you’re not a graphic designer, don’t try to be one. There are LOTS of sharp-looking templates for resumes that are professional, clean and simple. Pick one that incorporates modern fonts and includes lots of white space. Adding color and graphics can help, but the use should be minimal. Also, depending on the format you’re submitting a resume, it may not read how it’s intended. Web-based portals often convert fonts and truncate images, and may turn your nicely coded graphic into a ? 404 Page Not Found. Keep it social Probably not a shocker, but most employers do at least a little internet stalking of prospective hires. If you haven’t done so already, take a spin back through the relevant platforms where you’re active to make sure there isn’t content that might read as questionable. Your resume should include links to your accounts. It shows that you’re eager to let them get to know you better, and that you’ve got nothing to hide. The best social platforms in a professional setting are probably LinkedIn and Twitter, but Instagram can show your creative side (assuming you have one) so consider if it’s worth including that, as well. Keep it simple Every job field has its own professional jargon, but remember that the first person to read your resume might not care. Often, resumes are filtered through human resources or an outside recruiter that doesn’t share your intimate knowledge of the position. Your resume should sell yourself to anyone who reads it. Follow these common sense steps and your resume will accomplish what it’s meant to do – get your foot in the door.

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