Everyone – and we mean everyone – has to battle with the job market and resumes at some stage in their lives.
Sometimes that’s when you’re right out of college and trying to find an entry-level job that pays you in money and not peanuts. Sometimes it’s when you’ve had enough of your current job and want to finally get into a career you actually care about. And other times it’s because you felt the wrath of a troubled economy and got made redundant.
Whatever it is, though, the first step to getting the new dream job of yours is having a resume that stands-out from the crowd like Elton John in front of a white wall.
Getting a job is as competitive as it gets. It’s like a shiver of sharks sensing blood in the water, each of them desperate to get the first bite. That’s what trying to land a job is like and it’s why you need to get a bit creative so that your accomplishments and skills and experience and personality aren’t overlooked.
The problem is, creating a stand-out resume isn’t an easy feat. Alas, to help you out, we have rounded up the kind of amazing tips and tricks and bits of advice that will ensure your resume gets put in the “interview them!” pile and not the trash can by your potential employer’s desk.
1. Block Colors Are Too Bold To Toss
Once upon a time, formatting a resume meant having your name at the top, bullet pointing effectively and picking the kind of type that would appeal to your employer.
But come 2018, that isn’t the case anymore. It’s all about the design these days and, as any designer will tell you, a good design is all about your use of color. It’s what draws the eye, it’s what highlights the important parts and irks out a bit of emotion from the reader. That’s why we recommend you use blocks of color when creating your resume.
Not only will this help your potential employer work through your resume, it will improve the flow and comprehension and that will go a long way in making yours stand out.
Our Advice: Try having a black block at the top to give your name and title a really bold standing on the page and a softer colour down the side, such as a light red or pale blue, to highlight your information, references and online portfolio.
2. Fonts Can Feel Fantastic
Whether you like to believe it or not, every little detail on your resume will stand out, especially the creative ones. It’s what we are trained to pick up on. That’s why you should think carefully about the fonts you use because, in no uncertain terms, this detail will communicate your personality more than any other.
Sure, some career choices may require you to keep it safe because it’s more about what you say than how you display it. But there are plenty of jobs where fortune will favor the brave – artists, creative copywriters, writer-writers, marketers, designers etc.
Our advice: don’t go over the top by using a dozen different fonts, no matter how much you might like them. Instead, pick a maximum of two fonts – one that’s out there and another that keeps it clean and fresh and clear – and use them to make you stand out from the other people vying for the role you want.
3. Get Creative With Your Tone
When you were reading the different job descriptions on the different jobs boards, a large part of your brain was picking up on the tone of voice they used in order to find the one that appealed to your personality more than any other.
This is because you won’t want to work in a corporate office where life is grey and your colleagues lack any kind of personality. You want to work with people like you, not first generation robots. The same goes for the recruiter reading your resume. They want to feel your personality break through in your tone of voice and that is why you need to write with heart and passion.
Our advice: Be you. Be witty and charming and colorful and bold. Or, if you struggle to write with this kind of flair, email the impossibly friendly founder of Copper Milk Creative and ask him about the resume he wrote for his best friend (his name is Dan), which landed him a job he thought was well out of his reach.
In fact, the marketing agency that he ended up working for printed it out and stuck in their boardroom wall as a reminder of how genius it was. Who knows, he may even write you one too.
4. Add Tiny Details That Count For More
Everyone that writes a resume includes a bunch of generic things. Yes, these things are vital to the hiring manager, we’re not disputing that; it’s how they are presented that really gets under our skin.
Instead of glossing over your achievements, find a way to quantify your results and instead of using the usual examples to make yourself seem more compatible, like I played team sports, try and find something valuable you offer that no one else will.
That could be CPR certification, a Blue Peter Badge, a woman of a tournament trophy – anything that will showcase your awesomeness in a way that others haven’t thought of before.
This is your time to brag and brag big, so don’t hold back or think you need to tone it down. You don’t.
5. The Epoch Of Infographics
Like we mentioned above (somewhere!), resumes used to be a single page of words in a single font designed to conform to the norm. Thankfully, these days are over, and proof of this is the rise of infographics – and graphic design in general – which has upped the resume-making game more than ever. Graphics just have a way of quantifying your experience and skills and presenting them in a way no amount of words can. This isn’t just important because space is an issue on the resume-writing front, but because time is precious on the reader’s side of things too.
Our advice: go all minimalist and concise by looking at the information you want to portray and then seeing which bits will make good infographics. It will make your piece of paper pop more than any other, help the reader learn about you quickly and accentuate what you want to say.
However, be careful about using infographics as it doesn’t go with just about any industry/ profession, so do your research.
6. Get The Basics Done Right
It’s true, resumes don’t have to follow a set structure. That said, there are certain skills that you need to know about, accept, embrace and adhere to, and the first of them is the one to two-page rule.
Trust us, your inability to keep your resume short says more about your editing skills than it does about your accomplishments. There are only some niche jobs which require some level of expertise that will require a detailed resume.
The other unwritten rule of resumes is personalization. A big part of a recruiter’s job is reading resumes, so they can tell the difference between a resume has been written for them and one that has been sent out to a hundred different companies, and the big difference is incorporating the kind of keywords that come up in job postings.
For example, if you are applying for a sales job, you need to mention your customer service skills in the same way anyone wanting to be in advertising needs to mention they are creative.
Of course, if you don’t know what sort of keywords to drop in, try reading the job description again; they tend to drop loads of them in. Another great little tip to know about is hyperlinking.
These days, everyone has online portfolio somewhere – it could be your own website or it could be LinkedIn – so hyperlink to it. This can only help you out.
Did you find this article useful? Let us know in the comment section and best of luck in your job search. Subscribe to the blog for more information.