5 pointers to draft a resume that stands out

imageJob market prospects look brighter this year. Industry reports estimate a spike in demand for professionals with a combination of core knowledge of a particular discipline, along with experience in business and stakeholder management. Even though you might have all the qualities for a particular open opportunity, how do you ensure that the recruiter takes note of your resume amongst dozens of others? Here are a few pointers that will help you craft an outstanding resume that employers cannot miss.

#1 Outcome-oriented

Job titles are usually generic, and that is why you need a pitch that will set you apart from the crowd. This is usually the difference you made in a particular role for your previous or current employer. If you are applying for the role of a Sales Manager, you must mention what you did and how, to boost sales in your previous position. Similarly, if you are applying for a digital marketing role, the resume should illustrate how you helped improve the digital presence of your previous company in terms of social media presence, website development, search result rankings, amongst others. Statistics are key in catching a recruiter’s attention, as they are likely to spend less than 30 seconds scanning a resume. Also, often, your hiring panel may not have members from your core skill area, therefore breaking down a job into challenges and impact, time taken or saved, collaboration with stakeholders, etc, help the decision-maker better appreciate your contribution.

#2 Keyword-friendly

One size fits all is certainly not a ‘fit’ in the framework of a standout resume. Keep multiple versions of your resume adapted to the kind of opportunities you are applying for. Resume shortlisting is an automated process in most of the companies today. So, unless your profile has the relevant keywords, it is unlikely to appear on the search results listed for the recruiter. Reading and comprehending a job description is paramount so you can add the right keywords in your resume. Beware of blindly copy pasting the keywords as recruiters may see through such attempts. Make a genuine effort to present your achievements around the listed requirements.

#3 Recency and relevance  

Recency is absolutely paramount when you are trying to draft a standout resume. Profile writing always flows in reverse chronology where the latest experience is listed first. The ideal construct of outlining your experience is to first list out the most transferrable aspects of your latest responsibilities to the job you are applying for. Following that, clearly call out the outstanding milestones you could accomplish in the role. It’s good to back your claims with some proof-points like data on how you turned around a situation, or a quote from a supervisor or a colleague that substantiate what you are stating.

#4 Clean layout

imageHiring managers and recruiters, who have to skim through thousands of profiles usually cannot spend a lot of time looking for information they need in order to make a decision. Therefore, cleaner layouts which are easily navigable is always advised. It is best to call out your important information towards the left-hand side of a page – this helps catching the recruiter’s attention easily. Mark out critical data-points in bold so that the reader can instantly comprehend what you are trying to highlight. Use easy to read fonts, section and title headers for maximum leverage.

#5 Eliminate flab

Often when we have spent over a decade in the industry, the temptation is to mention it all – because to you as the doer, no role is less important, irrespective of the position you held. But experts say any detailing beyond the 20-year-mark could date you. At best a 10 year history suffices to establish your qualification for a role. With social platforms like LinkedIn, most people’s careers data is available online. It is best to mention your achievements in the last 5 years and then point the recruiters to your social profile. While many include references in the resume, it is best to save it until the employer asks for one. This helps saving the real estate for other more important and relevant data. Also, this is a good tactic to save some relevant information for future conversations.

In sum, all that a great resume needs is your ability to discerningly draw the recruiter’s attention to all the awesome work you have been doing and illustrating how these add value to the role you are applying for.