Developing a Stand Out Resume

“The world accommodates you for fitting in, but only rewards you for standing out.” ― Matshona Dhliwayo (Canadian author and philosopher)

On average, 250 resumes are submitted in response to every job listing in corporate America. Recent research estimates that around 2% of applicants are offered an interview and, of course, just one of those individuals will be offered the position. Given these statistics, it stands to reason that crafting an effective resume is one of the most important considerations in the quest for gainful and satisfying employment.

How does one actually make an effective resume to not only land the interview but also become that individual offered the position? Here are four main objectives to consider to create a stand out resume.

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Use the right proportion of keywords.

Using keywords from the industry in which you hope to work can be a very effective strategy. Many employers search for applicable keywords as a part of their initial review process. Appropriate keywords can be obtained by reviewing job descriptions or literature which pertains to the field. One suggestion is to join professional societies in the field, thereby acclimating to the lingo when referencing the positions you plan to occupy. Although this strategy is an important one, it can certainly be overused. Excessive use of industry-related keywords can detract from the unique aspects of one’s resume and give the impression that the writer is simply copying what they have found on the Internet.

Consider the job description.

The majority of job applicants craft a separate cover letter for each position and this is a recommended and effective practice. Going further, a resume should be reviewed and often revised for each position. Sending out the same resume for every job of interest tends to be ineffective. The time it takes to tailor one’s resume to individual job descriptions is minimal and tends to pay off in significant ways. After reviewing the job description, consider your resume and evaluate its fit.

  • Is it clear that your goals are consistent with the aims of the position?
  • Is your level of educational attainment appropriate for the position?
  • Does your experience clearly fit?
  • Have you listed a great deal of experience which is not consistent with the position?

Describe your accomplishments.

A resume should serve as a showcase of one’s education, experience, and accomplishments. When describing former educational experiences, do not neglect to highlight achievements. Likewise, when describing the tasks for which you were responsible in former positions, focus on what you accomplished if you want to stand out to employers. Descriptions of accomplishments provide prospective employers with specific examples of the kinds of activities they can expect from you if you are hired by their company.

Format in an effective manner.

When formatting your resume, use established guidelines for formatting in your field. An error-free document demonstrates that care was taken to present oneself in the best light possible and is generally seen as an indication that the applicant will work hard for the organization. Make sure that your resume is easy to read and that the information it contains is all pertinent to the position in question. 

Get feedback.

The final consideration described here is perhaps the most important one, in that it provides the prospective employee with the opportunity to view their creation in an objective manner. Attempt to obtain feedback on your resume for as many positions as possible and until such a time as you feel confident that you become able to evaluate your own resumes in an effective manner.

One suggestion is to use a career center. The Master of Industrial and Organizational Psychology Virtual Career Center at Adler University’s Online Campus provides students and graduates with access to tutorials on crafting an effective cover letter, developing a stand out resume, searching for internships, and interviewing in an effective manner. A part of our fully online degree program in the area of industrial and organizational psychology, this center also provides students and graduates with feedback and mentorship throughout their search for a meaningful career.

In addition, if you’re considering getting your M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Adler University’s online program, we’re here to help! Let us know any questions you have or more information you may be seeking.

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