Looking for a new job is an opportunity to find a position that better suits your lifestyle or career needs. It may even open up the possibility of discovering new skills and interests you hadn’t previously considered. Nevertheless, you still face the challenge of getting your foot in the door.
Just gaining an interview with a company can be difficult in itself. You could face a significant amount of competition from other equally qualified applicants. As such, it’s important to make certain that the resume you send catches the eye of any managers or human resources (HR) professionals reviewing it. While this isn’t necessarily easy, it is certainly achievable by placing some focus on a few key areas.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can craft your resume to stand out from the crowd.
Represent Balanced Skills
Your skills will be among the first elements an employer will focus on. Indeed, you’ll often find that the AI-driven applicant tracking systems (ATS) many companies are currently using will focus on these skills. As such, to stand out from the crowd, your resume needs to effectively represent your abilities using the right terms that this software will pick up on. Usually, this involves ensuring there is a good balance of relevant skills.
This doesn’t mean you only need to highlight the technical qualifications or experiences required for the industry. Most employers are looking for candidates that demonstrate a versatile range of hard and soft skills. Your hard skills show you have the ability to perform well in the role, while soft skills highlight the personal traits that help you and the business to thrive. Therefore, alongside outlining in-demand hard skills, like bilingualism or a programming certification, you should emphasize your soft skills, like emotional intelligence and leadership abilities.
If your current resume shows unbalanced skill sets, consider what skills you can develop further for greater career prospects. If your project management skills are lacking, for example, look for opportunities in your current workplace to at least start to engage in this area. You can still highlight on your resume that you’ve been actively seeking ways to improve your balance of skills.
Highlight Specialist Knowledge
Showing a good balance of soft and hard skills is an excellent foundation for a standout resume. But, it’s also important to show the areas of expertise you have that perhaps not all candidates will be in possession of. This tends to give managers and HR professionals a good idea of the unique ways you can influence the company’s success.
Specialist knowledge doesn’t have to be focused on how you exceed the technical performance standards for the role. In many ways, it can involve traits and abilities you’ve developed that are less common in the industry but can still be adapted to the workplace. Even hobbies or personal actions can help you stand out.
For instance, a significant level of health literacy can show that you can make informed decisions about your own wellness and influence those of your colleagues. Indeed, a knowledge of organizational health literacy can demonstrate your ability to gain credible information from resources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This skill has been particularly valuable for companies during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as for day-to-day safety protocols.
Tailor For Relevance
One of the big mistakes people make when crafting a resume is only creating a single version and sending that out to as many employers as possible. This is unlikely to gain you positive outcomes. Not every job and company is the same, so your application approach has to take this into account. You need to tailor each resume you send out to some extent to ensure it’s fit for each purpose.
Take the time to review the job posting thoroughly. Take note of the specific skills and experiences the recruiters are looking for. Pay attention to the ethical and value-based priorities of the company. Beyond the job posting itself, look around on the business’ website. They’ll usually have a lot of information about the vital elements of company culture, their various priorities, and what they’re striving to achieve.
You can then adjust your resume to lean into these aspects. This doesn’t mean fictionalizing your job history, personal statement, or skills. Rather, it’s about finding where the company’s needs and your attributes align. Your task from here is to really emphasize these elements through your choice of wording, ordering of skills, and contextualizing your experiences.
Show Your Commitment To Growth
An important thing to remember is that your resume shouldn’t just be a document describing where you’ve been. It should also demonstrate your potential. Most companies aren’t just looking for a finished product but an employee that can develop with the company. As such, your resume must show commitment to growth.
This could include detailing any formal qualifications you’re currently engaged in achieving. You could also utilize the education section of the resume to detail any self-directed courses or learning you’ve pursued. Don’t just list the skills you’re gaining, but also contextualize how you can use these in the workplace.
In the resume summary, cover letter, and even during the interview it can also be wise to talk about your career plan and how your professional and personal development fits into your prospective role. Show not just that you’re pursuing this independently but are active in collaborating with employers for mutual benefit.
Your resume is a key component of gaining new and enriching career opportunities. To stand out from the crowd, you need to make sure this document has a good balance of relevant hard skills, soft skills, and specialist abilities. Don’t forget to perform some research so you can tailor it to fit the company’s priorities.
Demonstrating your commitment to growth can also communicate your developing value to the organization. With some additional focused work on writing your resume, you can improve your chances of gaining an interview and landing the job.