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How to make your resume stand out

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The process required to land a job is pretty much cut and dried. You write a resume, attach your school records, certifications and other relevant documents then transmit them online. Or you could package the same documents, include a cover letter and personally submit them to the Human Resources department of the company of your choice.

The job application process is routine and that is exactly why you may not land the position by going about it this way.

Think about it. You’re not the only one who submits their application through e-mail, a website or personalized visit. You’re just one of hundreds of applicants who sent their resumes to the recruiter on that particular day.

The job market can be highly competitive. There are thousands of applicants every day competing for a small number of available jobs. According to a study, on average, it takes 43 days to find a job.

In healthcare, it takes even longer at 65 days.

You could be telling yourself, “I’m confident of my chances. I put time and effort to make my resume stand out. I’m sure the recruiter will notice how different my resume is compared to others in terms of look and content.”

By putting time and effort, do you mean you employed the following techniques to your resume?

  • Simple design; Calibri font size 12, left- aligned, 1” margin all- around and bullet points.
  • Tailor- fit to company; highlighted accomplishments and experiences relevant to the needs of the company.
  • Keyword- rich; researched best keywords to describe hard and soft skills.

Guess what? Chances are, other applicants did the same thing. You’re not the only applicant who knows these techniques and valuable tips. It then shifts to a battle of content; which applicant was able to pique the interest of the recruiter?

The numbers on job hiring are against you. For every 250 applicants, only 4 to 6 applicants will be called for an interview.

That’s a rejection rate of almost 99%.

Of these candidates, only 1 will be awarded the job. That is 1 out of every 250 applicants or less than 1% of every published job post.

With the odds stacked against you, how can you stand out in a crowded business world?

First, you have to change your view on the resume. Yes, it is a required document when you apply for a job but it doesn’t have to be like everyone else’s resume. Let’s take this idea one step further.

A resume is often described as a marketing kit; its purpose is to sell your abilities to the recruiter. But if you have to tailor- fit its content to meet the needs of the job, why not make it an example of what you can do for the company?

For instance, you want to apply for the job of Digital Marketing Manager for Chanel. Instead of submitting the standard format of a resume, why not send one that looks like ad copy?

  • Create a stunning logo that represents your brand on the Header;
  • Add a catchy tag- line that defines your brand value proposition;
  • Layout the sections of the resume in the same way as you would highlight the selling points of an ad copy;
  • Include a professionally- done picture; ask the photographer for ideas on how to take a photo that best captures your personality.
  • Smartly use color accents that represents Chanel; since your market is women, use purple, blue and green. Women are more receptive to these colors especially for fashion products.
  • Reference the job posted by Chanel for the keywords you will use in the ad copy to highlight your work experience, education achievements. Skills and proficiencies.

This type of resume is a radical departure from the standard format. But ask yourself these questions?

Does it answer the needs of the job?

Yes.

Does it give the recruiter an idea of your personality and what you can do for the company?

Yes.

Is it indicative of your creativity which is important as a Digital Marketer?

Yes.

Are you taking a risk with such a format; risk- taking which is part of the soft skills of a Digital Marketer?

Yes.

So what’s stopping you from taking a radical departure from tradition?

As valuable as a resume is, it is just one of the tools you can use to land the job you want. Perhaps a more powerful tool is a Personal Website.

A website is your professional business address on the Internet. Having one for yourself shows the recruiter just how invested you are in building a career. Second, only 25% of businesses have websites. Already, the website sets you apart from the 75%.

How many applicants for the job have a website? Not as many as those who did the same techniques you used to make your website stand out. You might even be the only one.

You can apply the same principles to your personal website:

  • Have a visually appealing logo at the Home Page which includes your tag-line;
  • Use keywords that were referenced from the job post;
  • Utilize color shades of purple, green and blue;
  • Add a sub-page for your portfolio;
  • If you can secure testimonies from previous employers or clients, run them at the Home Page in a slide format.

You should include the link to your personal website at the Header of your resume.

Finally, why not use video to capture the interest of the recruiter? Video marketing has many benefits and can transmit tons of valuable information within the first 2 to 3 seconds.

Video marketing works because it appeals to the sense of sight, sound and when expertly done can trigger favorable emotional cues.

According to Kickstarter, campaigns that include videos have a funding success rate of 50% compared to 30% for those without videos.

In our previous example, you can produce a video that shows what a typical day is like in your life. You can show the recruiter of Chanel your process of creating marketing campaigns for clients. You can include footage of your team meetings or when you discuss strategy with clients.

You can even embed statistics to validate your qualifications as a Digital Marketer for Chanel. Make sure to state the keywords during the video and frequently emphasize them throughout the presentation.

The bottom-line is if you want to stand out in a crowded business world, you have to create opportunities for yourself.

In a highly competitive environment where demand is higher than supply, the rewards can be worth taking calculated risks. By making the recruiter recognize you, it sends a powerful message that no one wants the job more than you.

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About Felix Tarcomnicu

Felix Tarcomnicu is the founder or ResumeOK, a company that helps job seekers write professional resumes and increase their chances to land their dream job. You can get in touch with him on Twitter.

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