diplomatic language services blog post on how to make your resume stand out

How To Make Your Resume Stand Out

So you have found the perfect job for you, and you feel like the perfect fit for the job. You write up a great cover letter, send it off with your resume, and you wait. And wait some more. So, why aren’t you getting a call when you just know you are made for this job?

The answer? Your resume doesn’t stand out. Your experience doesn’t stink. But your resume does. Statistics show that up 78% of all job applicants underrepresent their skills and breadth of experience when writing their resumes. 78%!

Alright, that is a made-up statistic, but take it from this recruiter and recruiting team – many of us don’t utilize our resumes to full potential. Our one chance to stand out to a recruiter, our shot at making a fabulous initial impression and many of us are sending our resumes off blithely unaware of the wasted opportunity.

But there is hope! Follow these tips for how to make your resume stand out, put some life back into your resume, and you may just receive that call you have been waiting for!

Keep Design Simple

Recruiters are taking you at face value, and beauty is not in the eye of the beholder. If you have gotten too creative with the formatting, used too many graphics or bright colors, recruiters are going to take a pass. Quite possibly without even reading it. Classic font/color/formatting truly is the way to go. Unless you are applying for a job that specifically requires exceptional artistic merit, or the job requisition asks for outside-the-box-resume-writing, don’t.

Avoid Spelling/Grammar Errors

Spellcheck was invented for a reason. Do not ever submit any job applications until you have done the following. Read over your application/cover letter/resume at least a few times; have someone else read it over at least twice; reread your application again. And one more time before clicking ‘send’. Little will put you instantly out of contention for a job faster than a bunch of misspelled words, an incorrectly addressed cover letter, or poor grammar.

Be Explicit About Your Skills

Assume the recruiter doesn’t know anything about the industry and/or position for which you are applying. Chances are they do, but they are also not in the business of extrapolating your specific skill sets from your resume by reading between the lines. If you speak four languages fluently and it’s relevant to the job, put that on your resume. Spell it out for the recruiter – they will thank you for it.

Humility is a virtue…sometimes. While any recruiter worth her salt will see right through an overly boastful resume, it’s also acceptable – necessary, even – to brag about your legitimate accomplishments. Saying that you invented the internet or singlehandedly turned a flagging company around – while working as an intern – will buy your resume a one-way ticket to the bottom of the heap. But if you exceeded your sales goals by 35%, if you were presented with a Certificate of Excellence in your chosen field, you should include that. Recruiters want to see accomplishment.

Know That Recruiters Will Likely Look You Up

Be cognizant of what you have posted on your social media accounts. In this day and age, it is very easy for a recruiter to check up on you. If your LinkedIn account dates don’t jive with those on your resume, that’s a red flag. If your Facebook page is filled with raunchy vacation photos, your professionalism – and candidacy – will probably be called in to question. So just be mindful of what you post, and keep information on any professionally-oriented sites relevant and accurate!

There are no guarantees in the job hunting world, of course. There are many reasons why you may not receive a callback about an application, not all of which are within your control, unfortunately. But follow these tips for how to make your resume stand out, make a few tweaks, and you may find yourself interviewing for that perfect role in no time!

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By Kate Marden