Top Ten Tips to Make Your Resume Stand Out
By Janet Hoffmann, President of Hoffmann and Associates
Your resume is just one of the tools needed in your quest for the perfect position. However, it is important that it represents what you have to offer a prospective employer and today the qualities of an effective resume may look very different. Here are a few tips to help yours work for you.
- Objective Statements - Potential employers are more interested in what you can do for them versus what you are looking for. They want to know if you have the performance record and competencies to help them with their challenges. Rather than opening with an objective statement, create an executive profile with big picture highlights of your accomplishments and your business value.
- Focus – Hiring managers continue to be flooded with resumes. They are challenged to sift through all the ones they receive and paragraphs of information tend to make the process more overwhelming. Resumes do not need to be a biography and listing your last 10 to 15 years of experience is usually enough. Keep paragraphs clear and concise and when it comes to bullet points, apply the old saying “less is more”.
- What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) – Highlight your accomplishments versus listing your responsibilities. Potential employers are looking for how you can help them with their challenges – the WIIFM. Use statements to describe your accomplishments that include what the problem was, what action you took and the results you achieved.
- Benefits – When describing your accomplishments, use numbers (time, money or percentage improvement) and specifics to quantify them. This helps to create a concrete picture of the business benefit a prospective employer receives when hiring you.
- Keywords - Most companies use digital databases to search for and store candidate resumes. They will use key words to search these databases. Make it easy for a potential employer to find you and use key words specific to your industry. Job descriptions and related job ads are good sources for key words used to search candidates in your industry.
- Professionalism – Inaccuracy and misspelled words speak volumes. Jargon and slang may leave a negative impression. You want your resume to attract attention for all your accomplishments and how you can help a potential employer; not for the one misspelled word. Be sure to proofread your resume and double check dates or statistics. Having someone else proofread your resume is a valuable step.
- Presentation – Simple is better. Use a traditional font so that it is easy to read and display on all computers. The proper amount of white space will give your resume an uncluttered look and improve the legibility.
- Unnecessary information – Avoid irrelevant or non-job related information. Things such as hobbies, marital status and non-professional affiliations are not necessary and may even hinder your getting the job. Even phrases such as “references available upon request” are unnecessary. Use the space for more important information.
- Tell the Truth – This seems like common sense but there are those who lie on their resumes. Many potential employers conduct background checks and many regularly search on line for information about their candidates. Not telling the truth will prevent you from getting the job and may damage your credibility at the same time.
- Don’t Be Shy – Many people are uncomfortable talking about their accomplishments. While you don’t want to exaggerate you definitely want to take credit for the things you have done. Your resume is your first opportunity to put your best foot forward.
About Janet Hoffmann
Janet Hoffmann has an extensive restaurant background in both operations and human resources. She is currently the President of Hoffmann and Associates, a consulting firm specializing in the areas of human resources strategy, organizational effectiveness, leadership development, talent management, employee engagement, employee relations, executive coaching and interim human resources executive support. Janet works with her clients to identify their needs, develop practical solutions and facilitate change to enhance their business performance through people.