You Are Unique, Why Does Your Resume Sound Like Everyone Else? 7 Tips to Stand Out

Just how many resumes are received for a job opening?

A lot.

Of course it depends on the position, industry and demand; and what little research I found was an average of 75 for each position in 2009 and up to 250 for each position in 2013.

Needless to say, there is a lot of competition for great positions. So many that many companies use software as the first step in eliminating a great majority in an attempt to get a manageable number to review.

With all this competition from other candidates and computers weeding you out – why would you want your resume to look like everyone else’s when you are not like everyone else?

The common sense answer is that you would not; however, the difficulty is figuring out how to make your resume sound like you to get the attention you want and deserve.

Here are some seven tips and suggestions to make your resume your own and stand out among the crowd:

1. Know What You are Selling

Your resume is your personal sales statement. In order to sell any product, you must know the features and benefits. What do you bring to the table, how can you add value, what makes you better at what you do than your competition?

2. The Proof is in the Pudding

It is not enough to tell a prospective employer that you have x years’ experience in a field. Length of time does not equate to quality or value. Haven’t you worked with someone who has been at a company for an extended length of time and wonder how they are still there because they have no clue as to what they are doing? Exactly.

It is important to demonstrate your expertise, skills and value. Instead of telling them you prepare reports (no value, statement only) demonstrate the value of this task, perhaps something like, “compile and present monthly x reports identifying new avenues and opportunities for growth” What is the value to what you do.

3. Duties vs. Value

To be frank: no one cares what you were hired to do; they care what you did. Listing out job duties as bullet points is simply posting your job description on your resume. It only tells the reader what you were hired to do, which does not demonstrate value.

To determine value, think of these questions:

Who do you work with?
How do you work with them?
What do you do?
Who benefits?
What is the value received by you doing what you do?

From there you can create a value-centered bullet point for each task integrating the answers to these questions into your bullet point.

4. Templates are a Start

There are many templates available to utilize when building your resume. These are fine, as a start; however, they do not customize your resume for you. If you feel stuck on how to start, templates can be a good kick starter. Just remember to personalize it after you fill in the blanks.

5. If it is You is Should Sound Like You

We each have our own style and that cannot be captured in a template or by sounding like everyone else. If you are a very dynamic, go getter than you want to use words that reflect that side of you. If, on the other hand, you are a behind the scenes kind of person using dynamic words is a contradictory.

Think of it this way – when you read a book you get an image of a character based on the words that are presented. This helps your mind form an image of that character in your mind. The same is being done when someone reads your resume – they are forming an image of you based on the words you chose.

6. Research

Keywords are king. If you are having trouble finding the right keywords, find job postings of the position you seek, copy and paste them into tagcrowd.com – this gives you a word cloud of the keywords used in the position.

Another option is Google similar resumes to see what phrases or keywords are used. Do not copy and paste the whole resume, just utilize these to get a sample and make them your own.

While you are searching similar resumes, click on the “Images” tab of Google and look at them from the visual perspective. At this point, do not read them, just let your eye flow over the many, many resumes before you and see what you are naturally drawn to. You can then emulate this design into your own style.

7. Would You Hire You?

Writing your resume is a daunting and not fun task. Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to say the right thing that end up saying nothing at all. Take a step back from your resume and read it from as though you were the hiring manager and ask yourself, “Would I hire this person and why?”

Challenge yourself to prove that you own that next job and make sure your sales presentation supports that sentiment.

Lastly, relax and do not try to write the one be all end all resume of all times in one setting. Your resume will need to be tweaked and modified for each position. It is an evolution at every turn so allow yourself to grow and modify it as you go along the process.

The very first resume you write may not be the worst or the best, but through the process of revisions, tweaks, research and modifications the real you will come out and get the attention of the right hiring manager for the right job!

Lisa K McDonald, Brand Strategist, Professional Resume Writer and Career Coach helps people identify and set a path to achieve their professional goals by using the V Formula: Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility

Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.

Important Components of a Professional CV

A professional CV or curriculum vitae can be termed to be very similar to that of a resume. However, it is a more comprehensive and a detailed document showing your achievements and history in a detailed manner. It can also go on for multiple pages. There are certain important points that you must essentially keep in mind while making your professional CV. These points have been stated below.

• The font size that you use must range from 10 to 12. This is a professional font size range. However the font size of the name can be a bit large.

• You must include a page number and your name on each page.

• Always include the organization, job title, date, location and also the description of all the activities that you have performed. Also the skills that you have developed in each of all your experiences must also be briefly explained.

• You must be honest and positive about all your experience, capabilities and skills.

• Remember to proof read your grammar, punctuation and also syntax. These must be flawless.

• Each of the bullet points must start with an action verb. You must use descriptive and meaningful verbs.

The main sections of a CV

The main sections of a CV have been stated below.

Your contact information

• Contact information includes address, phone, email and your name.

• It can also include your LinkedIn profile and your website if any.

Education details

• It must have a list of all your educational qualifications, your most recent must be first.

• Location, institution, graduation year and degree along with your GPA must be mentioned clearly.

• Dissertation and thesis title as well as the advisor.

Experience

• Experience can easily be divided into several categories. These categories include professional experience, relevant experience, volunteer experience, teaching experience and various other experiences that you may deem suitable.

• Also include job organization, ob title, dates, location and description.

• The description should always be bulleted into fragments of sentences that start with a very strong action verb.

• You can elaborate, but it is essential to be specific.

Additional sections

There can be various additional possible sections like your research interests, publications, presentations, professional associations, awards, honors and fellowships. You can also include the foreign languages learnt, courses taken, certifications, additional information and various professional references that can be suitable for the job you are applying to. Community or social service information can also be included in this section.

How To Not Go Too Far When Making Your Resume Stand Out

In many lines of work, creativity gets you points. Be careful, however, about getting too creative with your resume. While an interesting design can help you stand out, it’s important not to go overboard.

Step 1: Determine How far is too far

It depends on the accepted decorum in the field you’re seeking to enter. While buying a billboard featuring your picture and a job plea might score a home run for an advertising position, it likely wouldn’t get the same reaction in a more-conservative field like banking.

Certain resume tactics are highly likely to receive negative attention in most fields: Adding glitter or an odd background. Using perfume. Appearing at your prospective employer’s office in costume to drop off your resume. If such tactics are considered well outside the norm in the field to which you’re applying, you may find yourself the butt of jokes rather than the recipient of a juicy offer.

Step 2: Make sure your resume is still readable regardless of design

While an interesting design used in your resume can help you stand out from the pile, you do not want graphics and format to overwhelm and blot out content.

Step 3: Having fun in your resume may result in unintended effects

You may find yourself the butt of jokes rather than the recipient of a juicy offer because of:

- Attempts to be funny or cute.

- Coming across as boastful or arrogant.

- Using slang, profanity or emoticons.

- Sharing highly personal information.

The best way to set yourself apart from the pack is to find out what qualities hiring managers in your specific field seek in resumes. While most organizations want to see evidence of your technical and functional job skills, they’re also looking for clues about your:

- Emotional intelligence.
- Passion for your work and work ethic.
- Ability to work as part of a team.
- Professionalism.
- Communication skills.
- Ability to follow through.

Distinguishing yourself involves coming across as professional, competent – and creative.