5 Ways to Make Your Resume Stand Out

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A resume is more than a piece of paper that lists your experience; it’s a marketing tool. When you apply for a job, chances are you’re competing with hundreds – if not thousands – of other candidates. While the best candidates should always rise to the top, regardless of how many people applied, it doesn’t always work that way.

Sometimes, the best resumes slip through the cracks. One of the main reasons a resume gets marginalized is because it fails the eye test. That might sound vain, but it’s true. Believe or not, studies suggest that some recruiters spend a mere six seconds reviewing a resume before deciding whether it’s worth a closer look.

Here are 5 tips to avoid having your resume dumped into the discard pile:

Bullet Proof

When fingering through hundreds of resumes, recruiters don’t want  – nor do they have time – to read bulky chunks of text. Make their lives easier by neatly organizing everything into clean, consumable bullet points.

Remove Unnecessary Words

By eliminating words like “the”, “a” and “an” you can make your resume more succinct without sacrificing content. The difference may seem trivial, but it can make a big difference. Example:

BEFORE: Worked in the shoe department of the men’s clothing section during the busiest time of the day.

AFTER: Worked in shoe department of men’s clothing section during busiest time of day.

Keep it Concise

It’s OK if your resume is longer than one page, but make sure all the information it contains is relevant. If you’re applying for an engineering job, that stint you had as a pizza delivery driver in college probably doesn’t matter. Don’t add information just to add information.

Keep it Clean

Your resume should be aesthetically pleasing. Choose a clean and reasonably sized font. Don’t choose a small size just so you can squeeze in more information. Also, be consistent with formatting. If you change the size of one headline, make sure that change gets reflected across the board.

Change Format

Most recruiters strongly prefer that applicants submit their resumes as a PDF. When sending your resume as a Word document, the formatting can get thrown off and make your resume look wonky. PDF maintains the appearance of the document both on screen and in print.

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