There’s a common saying - “the face is the index of the mind”. A pleasant face sets the aura of a positive welcome sign to those facing you. It is already half the impression in your favour. The rest must be taken care of by your brain and mouth.
The face is the perfect analogy for a good resume. A good-looking, crisply-written and impressive resume is the very reflection of core professionalism. It is half the battle for the job already won! The balance again is the duty of your mannerism, talks, and attitude. Once on-board of course, it is nothing but your skill and caliber! Still, a resume is what gets your foot across the door, and thus you need to know how to make resume stand out.
It so happens that many-a-time, most of us, after reaching a certain level in our professional arena, take things for granted.
“My work speaks for myself. So, I don’t need to put anything on paper” – this is the attitude that undoes a lot of the so-called “luminaries”.
My friend who has worked for 17 years as a business columnist and has been a speaker at several national and even some global economic meets, was shocked to know that he was not selected as a guest columnist in a new business publication of a corporate group.
Even more surprising to him was the fact that one of his long back interns was selected as one of the writers over him. As we sat down over tea, he started pouring out his venom on the publication, and I suggested to have a close look at the written correspondence which he had with the publication. Within 15 minutes, the flaw came out.
The subject line for the application (with the profile attached), was – Requirement of a guest writer for ABC business Data Standard Ltd.
But what my friend typed was - Requirement of guest writers for ABC business Data Standard Ltd. It was that single letter which created the impression of an overconfident but casual person with the editorial board!
The moral – Never take things for granted for a while penning down your achievements.
When you go for a job interview, there are only two aspects which will get you that coveted job: your job experience and of course your resume. It is important for each one of you out there to know that an HR Manager will be scanning at least 20 resumes for that job role and it is the first look that will sway his decision. So, if you don’t know how to make resume stand out, you’ll likely be stranded.
There are some key things that any selecting manager will look for in a resume –
Your objective should be to keep the selector’s eyes riveted on the qualifications and add-ons if any. While still weighing in on that, it should travel straight to the job achievements. It means no time to think about uninteresting or what they consider trivial facts.
In short, you need to make it crisp and concise, without self-glorification but hitting right where it needs to be! The most important thing is to create that space in the mind of the selector in the first sixty seconds as compared to twenty odd others.
Everything said and done; certain standard tips are applicable while putting down your professional profile on paper. The digital era is making things very helpful by giving access to many template formats, new ideas, content styles. The basic theme will more or less emphasis on certain key aspects like chronology, clarity, conciseness, crispness, the correctness of grammar and words, etc. It is the C’s all the way!
You can even build your resume online from various templates online.
These were and will remain the driving points. To this, we have to add our own creativity of having the burning desire of imparting that punch effect to the interviewer or selector as mentioned earlier.
Let us run through some of the ever-green points in professional resume making to understand how to make a resume stand out:
There are several good templates available on the internet. Take some time out and make the effort of going through some of the widely used ones. Go through at least a dozen formats, see which one is more used. If you feel you have a good sense of creativity, then make some changes to the template, else it is better to go for it as it is.
This should be the driving factor from the first line of the first page till the last letter of the last page. The various job descriptions, font size, highlighting part, and underlining should be uniform throughout. If diamond points are used at a certain place to highlight key achievements, then throughout the achievements part, it should have the same diamond points. The same goes for underlines or Italics. Uniformity and consistency is the key.
Your resume should not look like a short story or novella. It needs to have minimum text with paragraphs not exceeding two or three lines, at the most. There should be proper space separation after the paragraphs. It needs to be clearly legible for even a casual glance by the interviewer. The lesser the text, but with more emphasis should be the guiding principle.
There are tools like resume checker which will give tips on where to reduce the text and make the desired word or grammar corrections. Once your resume is made, upload it on such sites to get real-time feedback as well as suggestions. There are multiple tools and some of them are paid. The paid sites can give more changeovers. Where required also take the help of a professional career counsellor.
It is a fact that sometimes even after twenty years of work experience at middle-level, one may need the help of professional resume makers. There is nothing wrong in it.
Let us all admit one thing to ourselves. Making a professional resume is a big drag! Nobody likes to do it after a certain age and beyond a certain experience. It is akin to the watchman of our building, asking us, “Who are you?” when you reach your building gates.
A few years back, I was called as a consultant to a start-up firm and those who I was supposed to meet were younger to me. I simply could not digest the fact that someone who wanted my help needed to read about me. But this is the fact. Unless people see you in well-dressed formal suits with good etiquettes, how will they be ever convinced of having a professional association with you?
Similarly, the resume is your face on the paper and it is mandatory for hirers to view it. In the process of doing so, here are a few casual mistakes that you can avoid while drafting your resume –
I hope all these pointers do answer the question “how to make resume stand out?” Always remember that the more effort you put into drafting your resume, the results are surely worth it.