Posted on 13th May 2020 by Becky Brown
How To Write a 'Stand Out' Resume/CV
by Becky Brown
13th May 2020
Writing a resume/CV can be confusing, frustrating and time-consuming. How do I best showcase my experience? Can it be more than 2 pages? Should I exaggerate my Excel skills? With almost a million Australian’s losing their job due to Coronavirus, I have been speaking to more job seekers than ever about their resume. Many have not written a resume for years or are unsure where to start as they embark on the unexpected hunt for a new job.
Having worked in agency and internal recruitment, as well as a being a professional resume writer, I know this can be challenging and I have seen a fair few resumes of all shapes and sizes. From this perspective, I would like to offer some some tips and advice which I hope you will find useful in helping you stand out from the crowd, leaving you feeling motivated rather than procrastinating and pushing the essential task of writing your resume further down the to-do list !
- Write your resume/CV with your ideal job in mind
When writing your resume, you want to persuade the reader you are the person for that job.
Pick out the key skills and experience that your ideal job is looking for and make sure they translate onto your resume/CV. For example, if the job you are applying for is looking for strong digital skills, showcase and maximise your digital experience. Even if your what you are writing seems obvious to you, it may not be for the reader.
If you are considering a career change, highlighting any transferable skills or responsibilities is especially important.
- Lead with key words
Your goal is to demonstrate to the recruiter or employer your technical expertise or potential.
If your ideal job would see you implementing processes and leading teams, start your bullet points with high impact words such as ‘Implemented’, ‘Led’, ‘Drove’. If you are unsure of what words to use, have a look at the position description for the key responsibilities they are looking for.
You want to take into consideration that an ATS scanning software may be used too, in which case having the right words and language in your resume is vital.
Also, never underestimate the power of the ‘synonyms’ drop down.
Let’s talk about the length of your resume. One of the hardest parts of writing a resume is getting all of the wonderful stuff you have done down on paper but not allowing it to get out of hand and turn into a full-blown novel.
Many people I have spoken to are under the impression that your resume/CV has to be a certain page count. This is an old school rule, however having said that, generally you don’t want your resume extending past 4 pages as it then becomes more of a chore for your reader. Be mindful of this.
Pick the key points, rephrase your sentences so that they are concise and punchy and consider leaving out jobs that are irrelevant to the job you are applying for. The more targeted your resume, the better.
- Include achievements
Including any achievements can hold your resume in good stead and is a great way to encourage a recruiter or potential employer to pick up the phone and contact you. Adding any achievements showcases areas you have previously excelled in and suggests your ability to again in the future.
Consider also making these achievements quantifiable. Compare these two examples:
‘Won new clients’
‘Successfully brought on over 20 new clients over a year, resulting in a 50% revenue increase’
The quantitative achievement sounds a lot more impressive, right?
- Expand on your skills
Try to expand on your skills so that you stand out from the crowd. Having ‘Communication’ listed as a skill is good but demonstrating why you are good at communication with an example is even better.
e.g - ‘Communication – ‘Successfully created educational video communicating new business implementations to over 200 employees’ sets you apart from the candidate who just lists ‘Communication’ as a skill.
- Make it easy to read
Finally, recruiters and employers alike sometimes receive hundreds of applications for one job, so you want your resume to be in a clear and concise layout.
Your reader will most likely be scanning resumes initially to identify the main criteria for the role, this means that having the basic information laid out clearly is vital. Make sure that your job titles, companies, dates and locations are clearly displayed.
Don’t worry if you are not a whizz at tables and graphs, sometimes less is more.
Remember that your resume/CV is the window into you and your experience, and even making a few small changes can improve your chances of standing out from the crowd and securing an interview for your ideal role.