In a competitive job market it is imperative to do what you can to stand out and to appeal to your audience. From highly customized resumes and cover letters, to personal branding, to extravagant resume layouts – there’s a ton of ways candidates are trying to set themselves apart from the crowd. Depending on the job or even the industry, this can have different reactions.
So what are the best ways to stand out?
We’ve reached out to our recruitment team to ask for expert advice on what candidates can do to stand out in the current job market. Here’s their advice.
I would say concise descriptions of their past work experiences (when a resume is too long, it can seem a bit all over the place, which – I find – most of the time, is a direct reflection of the candidate. I also really like when candidates include work achievements in their descriptions!Carly D’Orazio, Client Manager, Top Quality Recruitment
I like seeing a concise Skills/Certifications section – great place to add in buzzwords. Remember that we search for things like “HACCP Certified” or “Lean Six Sigma”, we do not search for words like “Team Player”. It isn’t any less important, just less noticeable!Robert Bodanis, Client Manager, Top Quality Recruitment
A clean, sharp resume. Proper punctuation, spelling + grammar. Clean lines and not too much going on. Sections separated neatly and font + size remain the same/similar. When I see a messy resume with way too much information/way too much going on, it’s hard for me to remain focused on what’s important and what is not.Nicole Zwolan – Client Manager, Top Quality Recruitment
I like easy to read or resumes that are pleasing to the eyes in a resume, seeing everything at a glance, resumes that sum up what they do can be easily read. Find tuning the resume to a specific role or showing all their credentials in one spot, also quantifying their credentials and relevant skills and accomplishments would be nice to see as well.Angela Greig – Client Manager, Top Quality Recruitment
Something that stands out particularly to me is grammar/spelling – and something that is easy to read. Full sentences are typically passed over – so definitely jot form / concise and clear as mentioned above. And definitely a resume that has either their responsibilities from each employer or accomplishments from within that role (or both)! Seeing resumes that just list the employer they worked for with no additional details added would make me wonder what skills or experience that specific candidate actually has – and in most cases, I would just pass on them and move onto the next candidate.Samantha Jakel – Client Manager, Top Quality Recruitment
I like seeing the problems they solved as the emphasis, rather than just their day to day activities. Also, like Nicole said, being too wordy is a killer. We read so many in a day, a novel just makes it difficult to properly asses what we’re looking at.Eric Ennis – Client Manager, Top Quality Recruitment
Bullet points of Skills – A Must. Direct focus on what you can provide the employer – Make it obvious. A short description under the companies worked – provides searchable keywords – and lets reader know more about your employer. Our job is to make you look good – we have one chance to make a good impression.Elaine Bonin – Client Manager, Top Quality Recruitment
- Customize your Resume: Make it obvious what value you bring to the table.
- Searchable Keywords: Make sure to mimic words used in the job description and highlight all important qualifications in your resume. Many employers use software to index your resume so having the right keywords can put you in the forefront.
- Focus on Problem Solving: Rather than listing your previous job description, focus on what you did to make the workplace better.
- Grammar and Spelling: Proofread your resume. Having spelling mistakes can be an immediate deal breaker for some employers.
- Keep it Organized and Visually Appealing: Keep your qualifications and certifications together, use point form where possible, make it easy to read through.