It’s All in the Detail: 4 Ways to Make Your Resume Stand Out

July 2, 2018

Back in elementary school, dotting your I’s, crossing your T’s and graduating from velcro to shoe laces were the revered accomplishments of being six years old. These little achievements demonstrated to your teacher that you could follow directions and showed off your sweet shoe tying and marker drawing skills. Now, as we seek jobs and pursue careers, showing attention to detail is no longer the difference between a star or a balloon sticker but could be the make or break come interview time. Simply boasting about one’s detail orientation in the interview can come across as stale or unoriginal. No pressure, but that is not how you want to present yourself moving forward. Instead of simply saying you possess detail orientation in an interview, why not demonstrate to the hiring manager right off the bat this quality of yours in its truest form? Here are 4 elements to look out for in your resume and tips to get you to detail perfection.

  1. Avoid repetition!

Your resume is a valuable document, capable of impacting your trajectory and your career in a dozen different ways. With that said, it is critical to treat the “real estate” of your resume with consciousness, intention, and efficiency.

The “meat” of your resume, the bullet points, should each speak to a quality, experience or skill. Understandably, the day-to-day functions of some roles often overlap with other jobs you have held. Make a point to highlight individual experiences gained at companies that will be an asset to the role you are applying for. Do not copy and paste bullet points from one job to the other – yes, we notice. Write out your unique and important background for each position; make each bullet point tell the reader something individual and unique and show off your impressive skill.

We have gotten to a point where we all recognize an email address or a phone number when we see it. No need to proceed a phone number or an email with what it is, simply include the contact info.

For example, no need to say:
“Phone: (123) 456-7890 – Email:”

Simply having “(123) 456-7890 –” is sufficient and saves you a little bit of space because every word counts! On that thread, if you are an individual with multiple phone numbers (becoming more rare nowadays), include just one phone number that suits your professional search best. Whichever number you respond to quickest, you personally pick up, etc. should be forefront on your resume for easy, “let’s get you in an interview” access.

2. Remove the fluff and the unnecessary!

Nowadays, references are a standard in the job seeking process and will likely be expected by whomever the hiring manager or recruiter is. Including “references available upon request” does not add value to your resume and is simply taking up precious space. Likewise, having the contact information of your references is not necessary on your resume unless specifically asked for by the hiring manager in the original application.

One’s full address is not needed on the resume – city and zip code will do! Especially if you plan to post on job sites, maintaining your privacy can be critical. By putting your city and zip code, you provide the recruiter the necessary applicant location information while protecting your privacy and using space wisely.  Another thing to keep in mind with protecting your address is eliminating recruiter or hiring manager assumptions on your commuteWhile you may be completely fine with a one hour commute (maybe the best morning wake-me-up is blasting Adele in the car on the way to work–no shame there), a recruiter may discount your willingness to do the commute long term and remove you from the running. Avoid this problem and keep your location simple and to the point!

Your interests, hobbies, and pastimes are better left to be mentioned (as they apply) in one’s cover letter and in the interview. Your resume shows your career story and is a sales pitch of your best assets. Keep it to the point and hit delete on a hobby section.

3. Proofread, proofread, proofread.

After you have pressed the save button and congratulated yourself on getting your resume in order, take some time to clear your mind. It is always helpful to go for a walk, run an errand, make some food, or anything that will refresh your brain. Then come back to your resume and proofread even more. By taking a break, you will review your resume with fresh eyes and are more likely to notice anything you missed in the first go-round. I did it with this blog, you can do it with your resume!

Do not shy away from seeking advice or opinions from others within your circle. It can be beyond helpful to have an extra pair (or more) of eyes to look over your resume and give you feedback.  Asking friends and peers to review your resume only gives you additional insight into how others perceive you based upon how hiring managers first see you during your job search. They may see something glaring or obvious that you missed!

4. Submit like a pro.

Many small elements of your resume can amount to a greater, polished presentation and the format that you submit your resume should be taken seriously. Save your resume as your name, first and last. As an executive recruiter, I cannot tell you how many “resume.docx” fill my downloads page. Stand out, be detailed, and make it that much easier for the hiring manager to identify you.

Do you have a format that you really love? Unless otherwise noted, submit your resume in PDF format if possible to keep the lines, fonts, and spaces exactly how you intended. You don’t want to gamble on the hiring manager utilizing a different word processing software.  Avoid the headache and submit as a PDF.

There are many ways you can show off your detail skills to a prospective employer and every interaction counts; your application, emails, any communication, etc. The job is in the details, so pull out the red pen and go edit!

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