5 Ways to Make Your Resume Stand Out From the Crowd

resume paper On the desk In office

If you're starting your job hunt, the first thing you should do is perfect your resume. Whether you're searching for your first job or you've been working for years, you can benefit from making some changes to your resume before you send it to potential employers. 

According to a survey by CareerBuilder, 39% of hiring managers spend less than a minute reading a resume and 23% only spend under 30 seconds looking over your document. To help you make the most of those 30 seconds, here are five ways to make your resume stand out from the crowd. 

1. Use Keywords

Tailoring your resume for each company you apply to is crucial in getting an interview. Not only will it make your resume look better to the recruiter, but it will increase the chances your application will be looked at it in the first place.

Some companies, especially large corporations, use software that identifies keywords in a resume and groups those applicants together for recruiters as the "best fit" for the job. This is why including those keywords and phrases is so important. To do this, carefully read over the job description, and pull out a few of the most important skills.

For example, if the job post calls for a "Seasoned professional with 10 years of experience," you could include "10 years of experience" somewhere on your resume. This way, the software may identify you as a good fit for the position. 

2. Be Specific

Full-time recruiters and hiring managers see hundreds of resumes a week. If your resume includes vague skills, duties and qualifiers, you run the risk of blending in with all of the other candidates applying for the same position. Instead of listing your skills and duties as blanket statements, try including quantifiable evidence instead. 

For example, if you're applying for a job as a pharmacist, you'll likely want to include that you've filled prescriptions in the past. Instead of saying that, you would benefit more by including data. Under a previous job description, you could include, "Filled 500 prescriptions weekly with no customer complaints." This not only shows your experience, but it tells the recruiter you took the extra time to add up the number of prescriptions you filled. 

3. Avoid Small Mistakes

While it may seem obvious to read over your resume before you apply to a job, you'd be surprised at the number of people who don't. This is a surefire way to make yourself look unqualified for a job, even if you're the best candidate for the position. 

If you want to make sure your resume is free from grammatical and formatting errors, read over it several times before you submit it. If you can, have a friend or colleague read over your resume as well, and ask them to pay special attention to the details. 

4. Be Concise 

Recruiters don't have time to read long, drawn-out descriptions about your skills and employment history. If there's a wall of text in your resume, a recruiter is likely to skip over it or stop reading the document entirely. To avoid this, make all the information you include straight to the point. 

Try using bullet points to list your skills and work experience instead of paragraphs. This will both make your resume easier to read and save the recruiter time and energy, making them more likely to consider you for an interview. 

5. Keep it Simple

With the thousands of resume templates out there, it's easy to get carried away with the colors, fonts and designs available. Do your best to keep your skills and experience the star of the show. While you can use design techniques to make your resume stand out, try to pick one element to highlight and avoid the rest. 

For example, if you experiment with a unique color, make sure the layout and font of your resume is more muted. While some recruiters appreciate creativity in applicants, others may see a zany resume as unprofessional. Your experience and skills should be what makes you unique--not the design of your resume. 

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