Posted on | September 7, 2012
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Differentiate or Die” which was the title of a bestselling book. That phrase not only applies to promoting products and services, but also to promoting yourself. In today’s competitive job market your resume is very likely going to end up in a large pile of resumes of other qualified people that are showing very similar education and experience. Keep this in mind when you build a resume.
Obtain the Interview by Standing Out
There are countless articles on the internet that list the types of things that should not be included on a resume but relatively few that suggest important possibilities that are often neglected. That is what this post is about. Hopefully one or two of the suggestions below will spark a helpful idea on things to include that will differentiate yourself from the competition and help you stand out enough to land that interview.
1. Understand what the Employer is Looking for First, then Build your Resume to Fit
Don’t create a generic “one size fits all” resume. Serious job seekers will often create a custom resume for a job they really want. By taking the extra time to thoroughly research the company and job you are interested in, you will be ahead of much of the competition.
Before you even begin crafting your resume determine what the exact personality traits and skill sets are that the company is looking for in a candidate. Once these things are determined, tailor your resume around these things as well as you can. The goal is to include what the employer is looking for. Taking the extra time to do this will pay off immensely.
2. Speak to the Search Algorithms
We now live in a digitally sophisticated society that has electronic gatekeepers. These electronic gatekeepers scan resumes looking for industry specific keywords with extreme accuracy to target the exact experience and skills that are desired. This is true whether your resume is posted online or whether it is sent directly into a specific company that is hiring. It is just as important to differentiate yourself to search algorithms as it is to the human being looking at your resume.
Applicant Tracking Software
Many large companies now use applicant tracking software, which scans resumes for specific keywords relating to skills, education, experience, job-specific phrases and certifications. Be sure your resume gets past the electronic gatekeeper by using well thought out keywords and phrases that are targeted at the position’s desired qualifications. Include keywords from the job description and also keywords specific to your industry.
3. Extra-Curricular Activities
Non-job related interests and activities present a great opportunity to build your character on paper and to offset gaps in experience. This can be particularly helpful if you are young and lack industry experience. Brainstorm which past and current activities relate in a specific and positive way to the position you are interested in.
Demonstrate that you are Self-actualizing and Highly Motivated
Demonstrate that you are proactive and highly motivated. Avoid including anything that does not specifically related in a positive way to the job you are applying for. Don’t put anything that could be perceived as controversial.
4. Use Action Verbs to Sell Yourself
Whether you like it or not, your resume is a sales brochure which is selling you. Action verbs need to be used abundantly. Use them to promote your achievements and give the resume direction.
5. Use Numbers to Sell Yourself
Whenever possible you should consider using specific numbers and tangible results to demonstrate experience, strengths and achievements. Specific numbers help quantify your previous experience in a more impressive and credible way. Numbers highlight results.
By doing your research and building your resume around the specific job you want using relevant keywords, you will make it past the digital gatekeepers and be favorably noticed by the hiring manager. By showing relevant extracurricular activates and using verbs and numbers to tell your story, your resume will be more focused and compelling. It is well worth the extra time to include these types of things on your resume and they will increase the chance of getting an interview.
Your comments: Did these tips sparked new ideas for you to stand out with your resume? share your comments below
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