How to Make a Real Impact with Your Resume:
Stand Out from the Crowd

See also: Applying for a Job

These days it can be hard to make your voice heard, especially if you are trying to beat off the competition in order to get that dream job you’ve been courting for years. Whatever position you may be applying for, it’s likely that dozens of other equally qualified and enthusiastic candidates will be competing with you for the job.

It’s an area of the job-hunting process that is hugely important, but one that many are often failing to make the most of. Your CV is effectively your calling card, your chance to stick out like a sore thumb, and an opportunity for your skills and abilities to catch the eye of the relevant individual who will determine your fate.

For some, the idea of producing a resume fills them with dread. This is mainly for those who are not all that keen on selling themselves or perhaps those who don’t have a great deal of experience on this front.

Short and Sweet

Keep your resume short and sweet. If possible, keep it down to two pages max. Even if you’ve got a rich employment history, you don’t want to make it appear as if you’ve had countless jobs. This may make you look less like a team player and more like an individual who may not last long at the company.

Having lots of jobs, especially those that don’t last more than a few months, doesn’t look good and will instantly have HR wondering why this is the case. You can cut some of these positions from your resume but don’t leave significant gaps in your employment history, as the flip side is that anyone reading your resume may wonder where you vanished between 2014 and 2016.

Also, and this is a mistake that many people make, be sure that your CV is up to date and current. You might have a CV saved on your computer, but has it since been overtaken by events and circumstances? If you send an out-of-date CV, it’s likely the HR department will bin it straight away.

Avoid Mistakes and Irrelevant Past Positions

Clear up the clutter. Remove jobs and positions that are entirely irrelevant or may actually be a hindrance to the position you are going for. For example, if you are going for a position at a high-tech company, then those months or years post-college where you were flipping burgers are not so relevant.

Also, and this is very important, avoid all and any typos and grammatical errors. This is the kind of thing people in HR notice. Imagine you are going through dozens of resumes a day, and you get one that has spelling mistakes in its intro; it is unlikely you’ll pay much attention to what comes afterward. 

How About a Video Resume?

Even if the position you are applying for isn’t in the internet field, a video resume might be a great way to alert the HR department of the company you are applying to. Producing one doesn't take a great deal of time unless you want to make it something of a professional production. Doing so would show a potential employer just what you are willing to do to get the vacant position.

You can use any one of a number of great editing tools to make it really shine, using video templates that aid you in your endeavors. A video resume might be you speaking to the camera and telling HR about yourself, or it could be more technical and specifically relevant to the position you are going for.

Either way, when you send in your resume, offer the option of a link to a video resume; in other words, give the HR team the option of viewing it rather than it being your only source of attack.

Be Clear and Concise

Try not to waffle. Be clear and concise with every aspect of your resume. This means you should re-read it repeatedly and see where you can cut down the fluff. Also, try to be creative when putting together your resume. Don’t make it too robotic and forgettable. This is effectively a chance to sell yourself so do just that.

Great Intro

The intro to your resume is the area where you can say a little about yourself that isn’t solely related to the previous jobs you are about to expand on. Here you should start with some relevant words and terms that are geared to your attributes. However, try to avoid catch-all terms that HR managers see every single day.

Break it Down

For each previous position you choose to add to your resume and remember you don’t need to add them all; break down your duties, responsibilities, and successes in bullet points. If you do this, then you are showing, in plain English, what you contributed in that position and doing so in a transparent way.

Have Multiple Resumes

If you’ve worked in various positions across different industries and are applying for a range of jobs, then you might want to have different resumes for other vacancies. This will help you stay on point, rather than having a resume that seems a little bit muddled.

ALWAYS Include a Cover Letter

Whatever position you are applying for, you simply must include a cover letter. This is something you can’t avoid and is wholly appropriate. Clearly, the cover letter could be extensive or basic, but it’s a basic courtesy to include one with your resume, be that one that is sent physically (which is clearly not very common these days) or online, where there will always be the option to include one.

A resume delivered without a cover letter is a little like phoning someone, and then when they say ‘hello,’ you just stay silent on the other end of the line.

Be Professional

Your resume can be relaxed, but it can’t be informal. Be professional at all times; this means that if you have a childish or even obscene email address, you should probably get a new one.

The key here is for the language and overall vibe of your resume to be relatively loose but also appropriate. In a way, the resume is the first step of the process, and once you get the interview, you are then capable of adding more layers to the personality you’ve hinted at with your CV.

The Skills You Need Guide to Getting a Job

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Getting a Job

Develop the skills you need to get that job.

This eBook is essential reading for potential job-seekers. Not only does it cover identifying your skills but also the mechanics of applying for a job, writing a CV or resume and attending interviews.

About the Author

I am Eddie Davis. Having produced content in a number of technical fields, it's fair to say that that my experience in these markets is superior to most. Whether it's cybersecurity, editing software or anti-virus products (and many other areas) I've worked and written for some of the key players in the industry and as such my work comes from a place of experience. I try to inform and educate, while making sure not to alienate those with less know-how: it's a tricky bridge to cross but it's one I've journeyed on for some years.