RESUME HOW TO: Make Your Personality Stand Out on Paper

resume

 

In a sea of resumes and competition, how do you make yourself stand out? It seems almost impossible to condense an entire history of projects, goals met, experiences, performance and professional passions into a single page… but we’re here to tell you – it’s really not. All it takes is a little effort, some great action verbs and a dash of individuality.

Step #1: Think Before You Jump

Don’t just start throwing down every little thing you did at every job you’ve ever held since high school. Really think about what you want to communicate here. What kind of job are you applying to? Does the company align with certain values or goals you’ve demonstrated in previous positions? If so, THAT would be the story to tell.

Be sure to emphasize and explain any project based work of particular note, (pick your best experience – you are competing for this spot after all), instead of simply listing off responsibilities you had with a previous employer.

It’s typically a good rule of thumb to assume your prospective employer is asking WIFM “What’s in It for Me?” How would you benefit their company? What achievements/outcomes (as quantifiable or qualitative as possible) have you had in the past that could translate to them as your future employer?

 

We love this example from pongoresume.com of the same job experience told two completely different ways:

BAD Experience Section

Senior Commercial Loan Underwriter
September 2005 to Present
Lotsa Bucks Trust, St. Louis, MO

• Took commercial and construction loan applications
• Negotiated terms
• Five direct reports in commercial loans division
• Trained new hires on loan research methods
• Organized company softball team

GOOD Experience Section

Senior Commercial Loan Underwriter
September 2005 to Present
Lotsa Bucks Trust, St. Louis, MO

• Processed $10 billion in commercial construction loan applications for the top commercial lender in Eastern Missouri
• Managed a team of five junior underwriters who exceeded departmental goals consistently for past six months
• Facilitated professional training on loan research methods to shorten learning curve for new hires
• Applied professional team-building skills to development of successful company softball team, resulting in higher corporate visibility in local community and enhanced employee morale

*The last item about the softball team probably wouldn’t be on an actual resume – but it shows how to take a non-impressive skill and tie it in with impressive business results.”

 

As you can see, both examples mean the same things but communicate something much different. The use of buzzwords like “exceeded”, “consistently”, “facilitated” and “enhanced” are all ways in which a candidate can really make their experience stand out.

Always ask yourself, “what value did I create?” when writing your experience descriptions.

Step 2: Get Creative

There are some really creative features you can add to your resume now-a-days to really make them pop. Gone are the boring days of listing a contact, experience, education… employers really want to know what makes you, well, YOU.

Are you currently reading something enlightening that especially relates to the role in question? Add it in a box format, or description – or simply mention it in your cover letter.

Are you going for a social media, digital or tech role and have a large following? Include your profile handles or a link to a personal blog (keep it relevant please). Employers are going to look anyway…

Step 3: Avoid These at All Costs!

I know it’s tempting to buy that cute resume template from Etsy that’s neon yellow, has graphics and features your photo dead center but please – just don’t.

There’s nothing wrong with using a modern template but keep it tasteful – the focus should be on your info.

Also (and this is a big one) DO NOT add protected class information to your resume. This info includes things like your race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disabilities. This would, unfortunately, give some employers a chance to discriminate instead of appreciating an equally awesome individual.

 

So, there you have it! Go forth and be you!

Ready to find an amazing opportunity? Need help with your job search? We’re here to help.

 

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