QUESTION: My industry is so competitive that every job I apply for, 100+ other people do too—give me 1 good tip to make my resume stand out.
Have a powerful branding statement on all your professional marketing collateral: resume, LinkedIn profile and cover letter. Clearly communicate what it is that sets you apart from the competition. Make it personal and make it authentic so readers know who you are, what you do and why you do it better than anyone else and can recognize the value you will bring to their company starting on day one.
Leading with a powerful and attention-grabbing headline is my go-to. Don’t depend on the reader to comb through your resume to see what your skills and accomplishments are. Present this information front and center, think billboard. Grab their attention instantly and invite them to want to learn more about what you can do for them.
Tailoring your resume for each opportunity provides a competitive advantage. By aligning your unique value proposition with an employer’s specific needs, you can give yourself a leg-up over the competition. (The majority of applicants will not take the time to do this.)
Success in getting noticed is a result of a resume AND job search strategies. Be proactive in networking and in applying where you want to work, even if the company isn’t advertising an opening. Your resume should include previous results, while showcasing your soft skills; communication effectiveness, decision-making strategy, support for others, and approach to policies and accuracy.
Avoid blending in. The biggest mistake you can make as a job seeker is blending in with the other 100+ (or 1,000+!) people applying for the same job. As a job seeker, you want to make it as easy as possible for the recruiter to put your application in the ‘yes’ pile. One way to do this is by adding some personality to your resume. Consider including dash of color, testimonial, or relevant hobby.
I say this to all clients: It’s not what you’ve done that matters but how WELL you’ve done it. This is especially important if you are competing against hundreds of other candidates. What distinguishes you from the competition is quantified evidence of your achievements. If everyone has “managed a budget”, but you come along with $2M budget management experience, you have just separated yourself.
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