3 Ways To Make Your Résumé Stand Out From the Crowd

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Pages.  Reams, really.

An ocean of paper

They come without ceasing. Daily, they arrive to pile up in someone’s “To Do” basket. Ivory-colored pages of expensive, heavy stock share the same basket with copy paper ones. An occasional bright pink page incongruously blasts its color past the old-fashioned versions. Human resource offices have tried to do away with paper copies in favor of electronic ones that don’t take up any space, but they still arrive at HR departments as if they might be the sole exception allowed.

How to distinguish yourself on paper

A million and one tips for job searching and résumé writing are at your fingertips on the Web. Do some research online to find the best and most trustworthy sources applicable to you and your field. Among some tips you might come across are these suggestions:

Speak the language

You wouldn’t send a résumé written in English to a German company looking for an American fluent in German, would you? Of course not. Nor would you refer to the people entering the front door as “customers” when you’re applying to a doctors’ practice to work with patients. Every field has its own lexicon, keywords or buzzwords. Use them in your résumé, but only after you’ve asked a person currently in the field if they’re still commonly used and if you’ve used them appropriately.

Underscore your flexibility and adaptability

This recommendation involves showing prospective employers that you’re flexible, can adapt to new systems, learn new techniques and adjust to new company cultures. One way to demonstrate this is to spend time in unique environments. Whether you’ve lived near the Grand Canyon, volunteered throughout your high school years or gained valuable study abroad experience in Germany your junior year of college, people want to hear your stories. In your recollections, you’re demonstrating your flexibility and the ease with which you’re able to make daring improvisations when necessary, yet make sound decisions.

Emphasize your skills

In today’s pared down office, many employees are expected to multitask and to do it well. So, write out all the skills that leave you head and shoulders above the other candidates: copy editing, accounting, fluent in Japanese, experienced SEO strategist, Excel master certified. You never know what skills a company, boss or interviewer considers “transferable” to the position for which you’re applying.

giant stack of resumes

Do the very best job you can to write a résumé that’s appropriate to the career field you’re pursing. A résumé for a law firm associate is very different than one for a baseball coach. And all those reminders to reread it several times for typos? Do it. And then do it again. You only get one time to make this impression.

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