6 Tips for Making Your Resume Stand Out from the Crowd
Imagine you’re a hiring manager trying to fill a position. You’ve spent all day reviewing dozens of resumes and your eyes are tired. There are two resumes left in the pile for the day. One is visually plain, over-crammed with content, and utilizes a bunch of different fonts. The other is clean, contains a balance of white space and text, and leverages splashes of color and font formatting to draw your eye to compelling details. Which resume do you think will perform the best? Though this is an extreme example, it illustrates how format and design choices can impact your resume’s performance and ultimately affect your chances of being called for an interview. Let’s take a look at a few ways to make your resume stand out from the crowd while ensuring that you communicate the most relevant details.
- Use Bullets Wisely
All too often, job candidates suffer from a death-by-bullets resume. Somewhere along the way they were told that they should bullet every piece of information to make it easier to read. But think about it. What’s the point of a bullet? It’s to draw attention to a specific detail. If you bullet everything, then nothing stands out! Be selective and save bulleting for your most important details.
- Leverage a Results-First Approach
As you develop content for your resume, make sure you’re being clear about the results of your efforts, especially in a bulleted statement. The first few words of a sentence are often given the most attention, particularly in a resume, so be sure to convey the results of your actions upfront.
- Balance Text with White Space
In our example, we talked about one candidate over-crowding his resume with text. Yes, you want to communicate your background clearly, but you also don’t want to overwhelm the reader. You must strike a balance between text and white space to allow the reader’s eyes to “breathe” when reviewing your credentials. You also want to be mindful of including proper white space in the margins of your document to prevent printing issues.
- Choose Proper Font and Font Size
A good rule of thumb for font size is to keep the text in the body of your document between 10 and 12 points, depending on the font you select. Some fonts are naturally larger than others, so you need to be strategic when using them. Another good rule of thumb is to only use up to two different (but complementary!) fonts in a single document; otherwise, your content becomes messy and difficult to read. We typically utilize one font for headers/sub-headers and another for the body of the document. Additionally, choose serif vs. sans-serif font carefully. Sans-serif fonts are typically much easier on the eyes; the edges of characters are crisper than a serif font.
- Consider Integrating Splashes of Color
Incorporating small bits of color into your resume can often make your document stand out by adding a little flair. Don’t go overboard, however. Consider integrating some color into border lines and headers, for example. Stick to a family of colors that fit your level and industry. For instance, shades of red tend to convey power and will work well at the executive/senior level. Blues and grays tend to fit well for healthcare and technology professionals.
- Include Brief Testimonials
When used sparingly, another great way to break up the monotony of a resume is to include a brief testimonial or two from colleagues or managers. It’s one thing for you to talk about your own credentials in your resume, but a testimonial from a business colleague provides a third-party perspective and can strengthen your credibility.
The most important feature of a resume is that it answers the question “Why should I hire you?” But an easy-to-read, visually appealing document will most assuredly bolster your job search results. Does your resume stand out from the crowd? Are you putting your best foot forward when you apply for jobs? Don’t let opportunities slip away. Contact us today if you’re struggling with your resume!