Getting Your Resume to Stand Out from the Crowd

by hwrjoel Thursday, January 31, 2013
Think of the life of the average resume: It is written, printed out and sent to a number of organizations. A resume may be sent to every job posting as well as to job services and recruiters. From there, the resume will be sent to Human Resources or others to be read again. If yours is selected for call back, the resume will be sitting on a smaller pile with many others. However, before it can get to that stage, it has to be noticed.

The average resume reader will have dozens if not hundreds of applications and resumes to go through for one or two positions. They will take only a few seconds to narrow down the resumes that are most likely to yield a good candidate for the position (or positions). No company is going to interview everyone who applies for the open positions. They obviously will not be able to hire everyone who applies. It is very important that your resume be one that is noticed.

Avoiding Mistakes in Formatting

By knowing the right format for your resume, your experience and the occupation you are trying to get into, you can avoid any serious mistakes that can keep your resume from being noticed, or even worse, give you the wrong type of notice. Problems with formatting, especially with style, can come about for:

  •     New graduates from both high school and college
  •     Those who are changing occupations or professions
  •     Those who don’t have the experience or education that is asked for

The problem with some formatting types is simple: It may look like you are omitting information on purpose. While this is true, it may seem more of a negative in the eye of whoever is reading your resume than it is actually is.

Avoiding Mistakes in Typing & Wording

In addition to using the wrong format, people can find themselves not getting response from their resume for a number of other reasons. One of these is quite simply faulty editing and a failure to carefully review the resume before sending it along.

Resume readers have likely seen everything that could possibly go wrong with a resume, but it can really make your resume stand out in a very negative way especially if the mistake is in the first few lines of the resume, right in the middle of your personal information.

Always take the time to review and edit your resume line by line before you print it out. Do this again if you make any changes at all, especially if you are editing a resume that you have created on your own. One change could put a line of text into another area and create a reading or appearance problem. Think about it from the resume reader’s point of view: Would you hire someone who sent out a sloppy resume?

Another common problem that you might run into when trying to create your own resume is with wording. If a resume is being scanned into a computer database, or being scanned for the initial screening, you have to know the actual words that work for the computer and inevitably will help you, the job applicant. For instance, job computers prefer nouns over verbs. For instance the phrase “marketing researcher” will get more notice from the computer than the phrase “market researching.”

Avoiding Sending the Resume to the Wrong Person  

Yet another common mistake that might keep your resume from being noticed is a simple lack of research and awareness. If you do not carefully read the job notice or posting you might miss some very important information, like whom to address the resume to.

If you are sending it to a very large company that may be hiring for several different positions in different departments at the same time, your resume is not likely to get noticed because it is not likely to be read at all. Addressing the email or the envelope to the right person gets your resume at least to the right hands.

In addition to making sure that the resume is sent to the right person, it is important to make sure that it is getting sent in the right format and before any stated deadline. For instance, if a posting states that resumes are only to be sent in a certain manner, other resumes that come along will be ignored.

Things that are Really Jarring in a Resume

By using a template service to fill out your resume, you get the margins and other small details correct. Trying to follow the directions from a book, especially an older or outdated book can leave you making big mistakes and many of the basic programs that come installed on your personal computer can leave you simply confused.

Using the wrong resume can leave your resume looking messy, hard to read or just unattractive. A good resume will have white space and crisp margins that give the resume reader a break.

There are other things that can cause an issue with a resume including using the wrong font or font size, or using shadowing, superscript or other unnecessary touches that will not cause your resume to stand out in the right way.

Resumes that do not follow any particular order can also be a problem for whoever is going to read it, especially during the initial scanning process. The average resume reading staffer prefers the reverse chronological format because it is easy to get to the information that they are most interested in at this stage of the hiring and interviewing process. If your job experience is listed in a way that jumps around, the reader might assume that you are either trying to hide something or that you just were not very careful while writing your resume.