Although there is varying advice when it comes to making your CV, the general consensus is that you should keep it readable and concise, focusing on information necessary to convince employers that you’re qualified for the job. In general, hiring managers spend an average of 30 seconds reviewing resumes, meaning that you have to grab their attention within that time.
So how do you keep your resume concise and attention-grabbing at the same time? Here are some tips you can follow to make your resume stand out.
Show that you've done your research
Not only is researching the company and position standard practice, but it also exhibits how enthusiastic you are about the job. Some of the best ways to research a company include visiting their website, looking through their social media and company profiles, and catching up on their latest news. You can also get first-hand accounts of what it’s like to work there from someone who’s had experience with the company – either past or present.
This allows you to focus on the experiences and skills that the company is prioritizing. One of the best ways to do this is by highlighting your qualifications that fall in line with what’s in the job posting and what the company’s upcoming projects are.
For instance, if a company is focused on innovation, then you can elaborate on instances where you exhibited creative thinking. If they’re focused on team-building, then highlight accomplishments that attest to your leadership and collaboration skills.
Structure your resume to tell a story
When hiring managers pick up your resume, they need to be able to get an immediate sense of who you are. This is why you should structure your resume in a way that tells your career story. By doing this, it allows you to connect the dots between your work experience and elaborate on how each one has equipped you with skills and qualities that can be beneficial to the company you’re applying to now.
Start with a summary of your most relevant skills and job experiences as an introduction. You can then use the succeeding sections to elaborate on your experiences.
For instance, if you’re making a career switch from a managerial role to a creative one, you would want to highlight how directing others’ output forced you to think creatively. You should also use this section to talk about challenges you encountered, and how you overcame them. In this way, you give interviewers a clear picture of your progress so far and how you got there.
Pay attention to detail in your descriptions
One of the best ways to get hiring managers hooked is by highlighting how effective you are as a worker and a team player. This is easily done by paying attention to how you describe your work experience in your resume. Not only should you include the responsibilities that you held in your previous jobs, but you should also pay attention to sounding authoritative by being careful about your wording.
Make sure that you highlight your achievements by being specific about the tasks that you did, what skills they required, and how they contributed to your previous company.
So instead of saying, “managed team projects,” you can say, “managed team projects to ensure prompt and quality work, helping the company achieve a 15% increase in profit.” Some other key things to remember would be using active verbs and strong words to make stronger impressions.
Include a cover letter
It's a good practice to include a cover letter with your resume, especially if you want to grab attention. Cover letters complement your resume, adding a personal touch that shows your interest and demonstrating the research that you’ve done.
Your cover letter is a good chance to elaborate on details you otherwise can’t include in your resume. Elaborate on why you’re interested in the job, how your previous experience makes you qualified, and what knowledge and skills can be of use to the team. Moreover, you can talk about what your hopes are moving forward, should you get the opportunity to work with the company.
Sending in a resume doesn’t have to be daunting, even if you’re applying for your dream job. As long as you know how to do it right, your resume can elevate how you present yourself and will make you stand out in your employer’s eyes.