You want your resume to make an impact on the reader. You want the recruiter to read it and be blown away by your levels of experience and skills, and to want to find out more about you.
But how do you make your resume work for you like that, highlighting the differences between you and the other candidates, when you’re not there to do the work yourself?
Here are five ways to boost your resume’s exposure:
1. Embrace the white space
People get intimidated by large blocks of text and tend to skim over them, or ignore them altogether.
But it’s in the large blocks of text that you will have included the crucial data you want to convey. These will be the parts of your resume where you’ve demonstrated why you’re such a great fit for the company.
If your resume includes bulky text and doesn’t read so easily, it’s time to give it a makeover and embrace the white space.
Break down hefty paragraphs and utilize bullet points. Not only will this convey important information in the most concise, punchy way, but it will also keep your resume easy on the eye and more inviting to read.
To ensure your resume looks slick and balanced, also make use of clear headings to break your resume into digestible chunks. Do this, and the hiring manager will be able to easily identify what makes you a great fit for the position.
The hiring manager who wrote your job ad will have liberally sprinkled keywords, relevant to the industry and the particular skill set they’re looking for, throughout the advert. Find them and repeat them in your resume.
To make sure you reference the most relevant terms, drop the job description into a word document or print it, and highlight any words that are industry-specific or are frequently referenced. When incorporating these keywords and phrases in your resume, ensure they are injected naturally to help you appear professional and genuine rather than robotic and fake.
By speaking the hiring managers language throughout your resume, you make their job a lot easier. Give them what they're looking for and your resume will shine brightly.
Featuring volunteer work prominently on your resume will help to highlight your commitment to a particular issue area as well as your interest in staying busy, impactful, and productive, even in your free time.
If you haven’t got specific examples locked down for your interview question responses just yet, volunteering will give you the added benefit of having something to talk about when asked the infamous “can you describe a situation or time when you had to…” question, regardless of whether the role is for a nonprofit.
Some key transferable skills gained through volunteering include:
These skills are valued greatly among all nonprofits because of the nature of the industry. Therefore, when you have identified the volunteering experiences you wish to talk about in your interview, be sure to reference the key skills you have as a result to prove why you’re a fit for the position.
It won’t be the font you use, nor the color of the paper your resume is printed on that will boost its exposure. It’s the content that you have included, so use the real estate (never more than a page or two) to your advantage. While your skills and experience should be listed in chronological order so that the hiring manager can review your resume quickly, you don’t have to include everything in your repertoire. Cherry pick the ones that best demonstrate your abilities at achieving what the recruiter is looking for. Just look at the requirements listed in the job spec if you’re unsure what to reference.
For example, if you work in sales, include how you boosted sales by X% in your last job. Or, if it’s marketing you’re in, explain the exposure you got for that project you worked on, and how that translated to Y number of supporters gained or Z+ donations made.
You get the idea.
5. Make the most of all opportunities
So you took some time out to go traveling, or spent that summer working on a farm? Spend some time identifying what you may have done on your travels that can be transferred into hard skills and experience on your resume. Even if they aren’t relevant to the industry you are trying to break into, you will have learned something from them that will boost your resume further.
Let’s look at some skills traveling offers, for example.
As a result of your travels, you may consider yourself adaptable, as you adjusted to a new culture. If you travelled solo, you may have gained plenty of self-confidence and self-motivation, too. It’s likely you will have had to budget effectively while on your adventure, which is another valuable skill for any workplace.
These are just a small selection of abilities and attributes gained through an opportunity unrelated to work, but it’s clear to see how much weight they add to your skillset, therefore making you a more attractive hire.
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