How to Create a Résumé That Stands out From the Rest

Published: Jan 16, 2018

 Job Search       Resumes & Cover Letters       
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Creating a résumé sounds deceptively simple with all of the available templates and technology out there. But in today’s job market, crafting an effective résumé is actually more difficult than ever. There are countless résumé templates available to job seekers for free, and even more that are available at varying costs.

The unfortunate truth is that no template by itself is going to be effective. If there were a magic template to help you get hired, it would quickly become overused and stop being effective. Below are some tips for job seekers on how to create a stand-out résumé that will catch the eye of a recruiter or hiring manager.

Combine Templates

The problem with templates is that no two employers are ever going to be looking for exactly the same résumé. If your résumé looks exactly like everyone else’s, it’s basically up to luck as to whether yours gets picked from the pile. Many employers look at individual résumés for less than three seconds before deciding whether they go on the short list or in the garbage. So, it’s crucial that you differentiate your résumé from the rest.

If you’re having trouble getting started, look up résumé templates and combine your favorite aspects of several, to create a unique final product. Just be sure that if you copy and paste anything, you go back at the end to make sure all of your font is the same, and the formatting between sections is consistent.

Tailor Your Résumé

Different employers look for different things, so you’ll want to tailor your résumé to each position. Sometimes you should highlight your education, while other times you should focus on your job history. In some cases, you may want to discount both and focus instead on hard skills that qualify you for the job. And don’t forget to use terminology specific to each job description when writing your résumé.

Since creating a customized résumé is a very time consuming process, you want to make sure that your final result is something you can use in the future with minimal tweaks. But at the end of the day, you’re guessing at what employers want to hear, and that’s not always going to be right. So be authentic, and focus on the qualities that make you a strong candidate for the job at hand.

Use New Formats

Sometimes, a paper résumé isn’t going to help you, especially if the company requires an online application with all your job history information. In this case, digital résumés, online portfolios, video résumés, and professional social media profiles can be great supplements to your application. If you’re corresponding with a recruiter or company representative, you can include links to your work online to show you’re a serious, qualified candidate. Having a résumé ready to go is important, but being able to supplement it with examples of your work can sometimes tip you in favor of getting the job.

Show Your Flexibility

Today’s economy has changed the way many businesses operate. A significant number of businesses are increasing the number of independent contractors they hire. So even if you’re applying for a full-time position, it’s a good idea to put any freelance or contract experience you have on your résumé. If you don’t get chosen for the full-time position, the company may still want to utilize your skills as a contractor.

Job hunting is never easy, but building a stand-out résumé that highlights your skills is always worth the effort. Once you have a solid résumé, you can use that as a template for future jobs.