5 Tips on How to Climb out of Your Resume Rut

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Does your resume reflect the value that you bring to the table?

Quite often, many of us get stuck in what I call a resume rut. We put together our resume, only focusing on the small picture, leaving out some of the most important things that we have done to provide value to our employers.

Today, I’m going to give you 5 tips on how to climb out of that rut and create a resume that really sparkles and accentuates your individuality and value.

1. Stop listing your job description!

If you are simply creating a list of your job duties on your resume, stop it right now! Anyone can list a job description for a position and that is not what grabs the attention of hiring managers or recruiters.

Think outside of the box and list how you specifically contributed to each job responsibility. This leads into the second tip…

2. Provide examples of what you did to bring value—get specific.

Instead of listing your responsibilities, get really specific on how you personally contributed. What did you do to provide value to your employer?

For example, rather than simply listing:

  • Responsible for revising, updating, and maintaining department SOP’s

Change it to something specific like:

  • Overhauled department SOP’s, which resulted in greater efficiency and increased department productivity.

See the difference there? The first one is simply listing what you were responsible for, while the second one is distinctly pointing out not only what you were responsible for, but the actual value you provided.

3. Include numbers when possible.

Now, let’s take it a step further. In that same bullet point, get even more specific. Anytime you can provide numbers as proof of your results, you are golden.

For example, rather than listing:

  • Overhauled department SOP’s, which resulted in greater efficiency and increased department productivity.

Include a percentage:

  • Overhauled department SOP’s, which resulted in greater efficiency and increased department productivity by 10%.

In this example, you are not only sharing your job description and value, but also the extent of your value—the actual results! Hiring Managers love to see results based information regarding your accomplishments!

4. Adjust your Summary for each application.

First, haul your resume out of the past and into the present day by removing the Objective and replacing it with a Summary that highlights your skills and talents.

When you are applying to jobs, make sure that you are adjusting your Summary accordingly. Do NOT submit the same resume to each opportunity with no changes or modifications. That’s an easy way to get overlooked in the first round of resume reviews.

If the job description lists that experience with a specific program that you have experience with is a MUST have, then be sure to say that you have experience with that program in your Summary. Get it out there and up front, where the resume reviewer can immediately take notice!

You see, the Summary isn’t only about what you are looking for. That’s a common misconception that a lot of people have. The Summary is actually supposed to sell yourself—your skills, traits, and how they match what the employer is looking for.

When you submit your resume to an opportunity, the person who initially reviews your resume has only a limited time to review your resume before adding it to the “possible” pile or the “rejected” pile. We’re talking a matter of seconds here.

Make sure that the key things they are looking for are immediately radiating from your resume upon first glance.

5. Don’t be afraid of color and fonts.

You’ve got the experience, you’ve got the talent—the key is to instantly capture the attention of the resume reviewer. Keep in mind that your resume is not the only one being submitted to the opportunity.

When I was hiring recruiters for my team in the past, I would receive hundreds of resumes a week. For one position! When looking at so many resumes, seeing the same black and white Times New Roman font can become tiresome work. It’s so easy to overlook a qualified candidate when you are weeding through hundreds of resumes.

In order to stand out, don’t be afraid of using a different font or even including a splash of color in your resume. Instead of the old, staunch, traditional fonts like Times, try a Sans-Serif font, such as Calibri or Gill Sans, for the main content of your resume. Change up the font for your name and your job titles—make them look different in size and color.

After the resume reviewer has looked at mostly black and white, drab resumes, one with a few simple changes in font and color will definitely grab their attention.

One more thing to keep in mind — Stay with a simple format overall.

  • Do not use tables or photos if you are submitting your resume online. It’s very likely that when you apply to a job online your resume is automatically funneling through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). The vast majority of these systems do not read tables or designs well, so resumes with these things do not upload correctly.
  • Refrain from sending in a PDF version of your resume. ATS’s do not read PDF well, which can cause your resume to be overlooked.
  • Your best bet is to submit your resume in MS Word format. (If you are using a Mac without Microsoft Office, there is an option in Pages to export the document into an MS Word format.)

Formats that are too complex for the ATS can cause your resume to get overlooked in the initial stages. It’s really a shame that these systems are not advanced enough to process different formats, but it is what it is. If you want the best shot at an opportunity, take heed of these tips.

I hope that you’ve found this post helpful in helping you to create a resume that really stands out and markets your talents and skills.

If you would like further assistance with your resume, please contact me at juliaweeks@preparetotack.com.