How to make your resume stand out from the pack

May 17, 2017
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Whether you’re just starting the job application process or you’ve sent out 100 resumes with no luck, your resume can always benefit from a bit of change. If you keep using the same resume you’ve used since you applied for your first job, you’re not exactly going to stand out. If you want to be noticed amongst a sea of bland applications, here’s what you need to do to shake it up.

Keep it to one page

This might sound tricky and it is - that's why it’ll be all the more impressive when you pull it off. Employers don’t have time to read through long essays about your experience. They want you to be concise and to the point. Which brings me to my next point…

Keep experience relevant

If you want to be as concise and straight to the point as possible, you might want to get rid of that Year 7 student council position or your first job working at Maccas. Unless you stayed at Maccas at five years and want to show your undying commitment (mostly to nugs), it might be best to not include it. Keep experience relevant to the job you’re applying for and explicitly say how it’s relevant, even if it’s just a sentence summary.

Add graphs, icons, and tables where relevant

If you can pull it off. If you have the graphic skills of a grandma and think it will end up looking like a MS Paint production, you might want to avoid it. But if you have some skills in knowing how to make shit look good, it'll give a bit of character to your resume. You can create graphs and tables online or even in Microsoft PowerPoint and use these to show off your skills in a visual way. In a pile of black and white all-text resumes, your resume will definitely catch the employer's eye.

Keep language simple and the format easy to read

While industry jargon might be good in some instances, avoid making your resume too bogged down in technical buzzwords. If you’re using big words to sound smart, chances are employers will see right through it when your resume makes literally no sense. Keep your language simple, keep away from any difficult-to-read fonts and for the love of god proof-read it.

Tailor your resume to the job description

When you see a job you’re interested in, don’t just hit the application button right away and submit the same resume for every job. Find out what the job application is asking for and answer it directly. If you can’t prove to them you have the skills they’re asking for with direct examples, it might mean you’re not qualified.

Show you have a life outside of work

This might sound completely contrary to the whole "Keep experience relevant" point, but it’s not. While experience should always be relevant, hobbies can give employers an insight into who you are outside the workplace. If you have room on your one-page resume, it’s important to let the employer know you’re a person with interests beyond being a “team player”. If you enjoy hiking or pottery, it’s an interesting fun fact about you that makes you sound more interesting and offers an ice breaker if you land that first interview.

Image: Legally Blonde