It’s no secret that employers receive applications for many more people than they could possibly have time to interview for most of their advertised jobs. So, in order to make the cut, to get to that next crucial step, your resume needs to stand out from the crowd.
Here are three essentials to include in your application that can help you catch an employer’s eye and win over the competition.
How you stand out
If you want your resume to stand out from other applications, show how you stand out on the job. This means listing your accomplishments, the achievements you made at work – or in your other activities, volunteer work, fundraising, school, etc. Employers want to be impressed. Show them how you managed to deliver results that other people in a similar position might not have.
Your accomplishments can demonstrate specifically how you try harder, deliver more, or are frankly more talented than similar candidates. So, rather than spending a great deal of space describing your on-the-job responsibilities, highlight your achievements. Try to focus on what you have done, learned or accomplished in the past that can be particularly useful to your potential new employer.
If you have been promoted, list both job titles on your resume. Employers will be impressed by candidates who are on their way up, those who are being recognized and given more responsibilities in their jobs. Most often people need to change companies in order to move up through the ranks, so make sure your progression of jobs shows this career advancement.
If your job titles haven’t changed, then highlight new projects you took on, advanced skills that you used. The key is that your resume shows that you are not stagnating. Employers are more impressed with candidates who are continuously learning and progressing in their careers.
Crucially, this progress has to line up with the job you are applying for. If the position seems like the logical next step in your career trajectory, you will seem like a good fit with the job. This is because candidates who seem to be over or under qualified or appear to be coming from a completely different career path are often seen as less relevant.
If the job isn’t a good fit with your career path, you probably won’t stay in it for very long. It looks like you’re just trying to get hired for something until a more relevant job comes along.
You can go a long way towards communicating this right fit with the role by customizing your cover letter and resume for each and every job that you apply for. Highlight your skills that are most relevant to the job – and mentioned in the job description. Explain how the position fits with your career ambitions and work history.
Flattery helps too. Pointing out why you are interested in working for that employer specifically usually impresses hiring managers.
A tailored resume that shows why you want to work for this particular employer, how the job fits with your career path, and that you are a stand out employee with significant (and relevant) accomplishments in your past will set you apart from the majority of incoming applicants.