How Can You Make Your Resume Stand Out? | ISIC Australia

Looking for some resume tips to help you stand out from the rest of the crowd? Read on for some tips!

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If you have just graduated and you are looking for your first ‘serious job’, you might wonder where to start with your resume and indeed, writing one that stands out from those of competitors is a challenge. According to a study by TheLadders, recruiters spend just six seconds looking at each resume before they make an initial ‘fit or no fit’ decision. The study used ‘eye tracking’ methods on 20 Human Resources professionals to examine exactly how long they were spending on each CV and the answer is next to nothing. How can you ensure you include the right information so that recruiters can decide you are the perfect fit in just a few seconds?

Clarity and Structure are Key

In the above-mentioned study, researchers found that resumes which had a clear format and design, engaged recruiters’ attention more than those that made it difficult to identify their structure. Don’t make the mistake of writing your resume on a blank Word document. Use free online CV models to ensure that each of the main categories – which may include Work Experience, Skills, Educations, and Honours and Awards – are clearly visible. That way, recruiters will know exactly where to head in no time at all.

Selecting the Right Fonts

Fonts are everything in graphic design, and there is a good reason for this: font directly affects readability, but also express how serious, creative, and professional you are. Some of the most popular sans serif (no tail) fonts for resumes include Times New Roman, Arial, Tahoma, Century Gothic and Lucida Sans. If you prefer serif (with tail) fonts, consider Georgie, Bell MT; or Garamond. The nature of your font will depend on the industry you are applying for. For instance, you may decide to opt for a serif font if you are applying for a position in design or the arts, and opt for sans serifs for a business or legal type position.

Choosing the Right Design

Research shows that distracting visuals reduce recruiters’ analytical capability. You can definitely use features such as shading, bold type, and colour to differentiate different sections in your resume, but don’t include any design feature without there being a purpose for it. Feel free to be a little creative, whenever doing so does not interfere with readability. For instance, some jobseekers use dot points to indicate their skill at languages, or at specific computer programmes or Microsoft Office. Whatever you do should have a clear aim: that of providing a pleasant yet clean visual experience for your readers.

Matching Skills and Experience to the Company

As a student, you may not have amassed a long list of jobs for your work experience section, but recruiters who are interested in your resume won’t necessarily be demanding this from you. Rather, they will look to skills and abilities that will match their needs and those of positions they eventually will need to fill. Thus, it is vital to research the corporate culture and specific jobs of the companies you are applying to, catering your resume to each company. Some key skills most companies will be looking for include goal setting, teamwork, and consistency. Think of ways you can demonstrate these skills, by listing extra-curricular activities, involvement in any student organisations, and any previous internships (either paid or unpaid), and indicating your specific roles in these settings. 

It’s a competitive world out there, so it is important to draft the kind of resume that will reveal your professionalism, work ethic, and desire to form part of your company of choice. Personalise your CV as much as possible, doing research into the type of employees your target company is interested in. Present a well-structured, clear CV that does not fall into the temptation of prizing format over content. Make it easy for recruiters to find your main categories and be honest in each, thinking well of the skills you have obtained both as a student and as a person.

This article was written by guest contributor Lucy Turner for ISIC Australia




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