8 tips to make your resume stand out

  • July 19, 2021
As a young professional, one of the things you're probably still getting a hang of is creating a resume. Being at a relatively nascent stage of your career, there's not a huge lot of experience for you to work with.

However, it’s still important to do the best you can at properly presenting yourself to your next prospective employer. That’s why we’ve put together this essential guide of dos and don’ts to make professional resume. These are the things to keep in mind if you want your resume to stand out:

Keep it minimal but optimal

One of the first temptations you must avoid is cramming everything you can think of into your resume. Remember, the person screening your CV is going through ten, hundred or even more candidates' submissions. If you jam it up with every little thing you ever did while on the job ("Fetched coffee for the team at regular intervals") then you're probably going to lose their attention before they're halfway through the page!

Instead of an all-encompassing list, think of it as a marketing leaflet that's trying to sell you as the right person for that job. So look back on your career carefully and map out a resume outline where you plot everything you ever did. Include minute details, special projects, and initiatives can all be included.

Once you're done with that, scan through it very carefully. Cut and paste only those parts that you think would count towards being the most relevant accomplishments and skills for the position you're going after.

Remember, the person going through your CV runs through hundreds of job resumes daily and is someone who knows what to look for. And should you have it, and the rest of your resume shapes up well enough (age, education, location, language skills and more) there's a good chance you'll be shortlisted.

This is one of the most important things to remember about making any resume. Everything else we list below is tertiary, by comparison.

Also read: 5 tips to ace any interview

Reverse chronology vs functional resume

When it comes to organizing the information on your resume, there are multiple ways to go about it. There is the functional resume format, also known as a skill-based resume. It lays the focus firmly on your skills and areas of expertise. However, this approach is usually employed for a very specific opening. Say if you haven't really held a traditional job before, or your experience is a mix of enormously different roles, going with a functional resume is ideal.

For most general purposes, though, a reverse chronological resume is the way to go, where your most recent experience is listed at the top. In fact, if you opt for a functional resume without a valid premise for going that route, you could very well invite suspicion from the screener about what you may be trying to hide.

A page is all you (should) need

Keeping in line with the need to be concise in your descriptions, try to keep your resume to within a page, especially if you have less than 10 years of experience.

While it's not sacriligeous to go up to two pages, ask yourself honestly if the extra material that's going beyond the first page is truly necessary.

Consider an online supplement

In the olden days before the proliferation of the internet, you had to cram everything in your physical resume only. However, today, with most interactions happening online over email or messaging, you could consider including in your digital resume a link to an online supplement for any additional material that you wish to showcase.

There are countless online portfolio makers where you could upload your noteworthy achievements and special projects. This way, you could keep your resume to within a page while also allowing the screener the option to probe deeper if they wish.

If you go this route, you could maintain two versions of your resume - one for digital viewing only and the other for physical viewing.

Simplicity matters

It's understandable that you want to make your resume stand out. However, the ways to go about it don't involve slathering the page with a slew of colours laced with multiple font families. Instead, keep it simple and easy to digest for the screener.

Opt for a utilitarian but contemporary font such as Arial or Calibri and don't deviate in font sizes beyond 10-12. You could use a different font for fields such as your name, headers and the names of the companies that you've worked for. Also, it's important to leave a decent amount of empty white breathing space for better legibility.

Dealing with career gaps

There's no arguing the fact that career gaps generally tend to raise an eyebrow. It could lead to your profile getting overlooked for another. However, this is not always the case. If your career is otherwise stellar but for a gap, the employer will likely give you a chance to explain it. After all, there are plenty of valid reasons such as personal emergencies, injuries and a need for extended maternity leave beyond the mandated six-month period.

Also, if you've pursued a greater goal during a career gap, such as taking up a course to enhance your skillset, or tried your hand at entrepreneurship, you can mention these things in your resume.

An outdated CV is yesterday's news

This may seem like a basic suggestion but that's precisely why it's something many of us forget to do often. It's very important to keep your resume updated at regular intervals and especially after a major achievement.

Today, there exists a plethora of job sites. And chances are that many of us, your resume is floating on most of them! With that in mind, ensure you update them all. That's because you never know on which platform your resume might click with that perfect opportunity.

Honestly is the best policy

It's natural to want to present ourselves in the best way possible. However, make sure that desire doesn't take you to the verge of lying. Sure, we all tend to embellish our achievements a bit. However, if you do that, keep in mind that the person at the other end can usually tell when something doesn't add up. And should they happen to dial up your references to cross-check, it might not end well for you!

Whether you're a student with nothing but an internship to your name or a young professional, a well-written resume will be key to your career growth. Along the way, you can turn to mPokket for a timely cash infusion by way of an instant loan whenever you need.

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