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6 Ways You Can Make Your Resume Stand Out When Applying for Popular Roles

Recruiters receive a staggering number of resumes each day. The average job posting receives 250 resumes—and only 3% of these lead to applicants being called in for an interview. An effective resume is one that immediately stands out in a sea of similarly structured applications. It should highlight your most relevant qualifications and skills, helping you stand out from the crowd and maximize your chances of getting an interview. Here are some ways you can ensure that your resume puts you in the best position possible when applying for jobs. 

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1. Study the Job Post for Keywords

Every job post is designed with the intention of finding the best fit for the position. Therefore, job listings are often filled with keywords that will help you decide whether you should apply. Once you’ve found a role that suits your needs, be sure to tailor your outreach using the same keywords used in the description. This will help to assure the recruiter (or the AI tool they’re using) that you have read the job description and that you understand the requirements. 

2. Avoid Unprofessional Fonts and Formats

There’s a right way to stand out, and there’s a wrong way too. One easy way to get disqualified early in the recruitment process is to demonstrate that you don’t understand professional conduct. When designing your resume, always opt for fonts and formats that are clear, readable, and not jarring to the reader. For positions that are more creative in nature, you can choose formats that are a little more unconventional. However, for administrative positions, you should limit yourself to more conservative and simple layouts. 

Also consider your email address. If your personal email address contains informal terms or language, create a new one that is simply a professional variation of your name. 

3. Don’t Overload the Resume With Irrelevant Information

When applying for competitive positions, it can be tempting to cram as much information as possible into a resume. However, it’s very unlikely that all this information will be relevant to the recruiter. When reviewing an applicant, recruiters often skim resumes and an overload of information can obscure the accomplishments or qualifications that are actually relevant to them. A good rule of thumb is to limit your resume to information that can comfortably fit on one or two pages. 

4. Highlight Achievements With Action Words

Your choice of words when you describe your roles and responsibilities in past positions can be hugely influential in deciding how you’re perceived by recruiters and hiring managers. You want your resume to stand out. But instead of increasing the amount of information you include or trying a non-standard format, take a look at the words you’re using. Don’t just say where you worked—highlight the impact you had in that workplace.

When writing an overview of your experience, lead with verbs. Instead of starting with overused words such as “led,” choose specific action words such as “administered,” “managed,” or “operated.” According to industry research, this can increase the attractiveness of your resume by as much as 140%.

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5. Always Proofread and Edit Before Applying

Resumes represent your opportunity to make a good first impression on the recruiter and hiring manager. Your resume will determine if you get called in for an interview. Typos or errors in your resume can harm your chances of being shortlisted for the position. Before sending your resume to a recruiter, you should always proofread it to ensure that it’s free of mistakes. 

Apart from mistakes, you should also read through your resume to make sure you’ve clearly expressed your relevant strengths. Avoid long sentences and unnecessary buzzwords and keep your points as easy to understand as possible. 

6. Adjust Your Resume for Each Job Application

Each job application is unique and requires a different approach. In a bid to complete as many applications as possible, some applicants can end up sending identical resumes and cover letters for every position. However, it’s much more effective to focus more on the quality of your application than the number of positions you’ve applied for. With every application, adjust your resume to highlight skills and experiences that might be most relevant to that position—and preface each with a unique cover letter. 

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