10 Simple ‘Out of the Box’ Resume Tips

At a certain point, every resume looks the same to an HR manager. Here are a few small things you can do differently to get noticed and stand out from the crowd.

1. Include a link to your LinkedIn profile in your header.

LinkedIn is very likely to play a part in the modern job search. To use it effectively, you must take the time to build out your profile, make it complete and get recommendations. Including the link on your profile draws the eye, and it will likely get clicked on. This means you get a little more time in front of the recruiter/ HR manager and you have another opportunity to impress them.

2. Hyperlink your past companies instead of including a sentence on what they do .

It’s quicker, saves space, and demonstrates a little bit of savvy. Not to mention the blue hyperlink line is eye-catching and gives the readers eyes a break from the mass of text.

3. Put a page border around your resume.

This is always a nice touch, enhances the visual experience and shows some flair. It’s easy to do in Word. Click on the ‘Page Layout’ tab on the top menu, and you’ll see a little icon that says ‘Page Borders’. Stick with a 1/2pt box and you’re good to go.

4. Widen the margins.

This is less about visual appeal and more of a trick to get your resume on one page. Again, go to ‘Page Layout’ in Word 2007 and click the ‘Margins’ icon. Don’t go less than ‘.5 on the bottom and sides. You can go all the way to the top though for your contact information.

5. Include a resume mantra/ professional headline.

Include a brief one sentence segment directly beneath your contact info that clearly states who you are and why you are great. Here’s a sample: Energetic & Driven Sales Leader with a Record of Exceeding Quotas and Closing Major Strategic Deals

6. Don’t use more than 2 fonts.

A serif font for headings and major info (Cambria works well), and a sans serif font (Calibri is good) for content. The majority or resumes are first read on computers today. Sans serif fonts are much easier to read and flow better on the page – especially if you turn your resume into a .pdf.

7. A ‘˜Selected Accomplishments’ section is more effective than an ‘Areas of Expertise’ section.

Generally, ‘˜Areas of Expertise’ sections take up quite a bit of space and say little of value. Anybody can put an adjective on a resume but it doesn’t become to a hiring manager significant until it is attached to quantifying factors. Where the brief bullet in an expertise section may say “Budget Management”, a an accomplishments bullet will say something like “Proactively managed the budget for a $50MM corporation by reducing headcount by 4, creating an upselling platform for current customers, and implementing a new CMS that reduced costs by 30%.” Yes, that’s quite a mouthful, and no, it’s not a perfect sentence, but it still sounds a heckuva lot better.

8. Quantify, quantify, quantify.

Resumes stand out when they are specific. Who much? How often? Who to? When? Resumes that don’t directly reflect your performance don’t get noticed.

9. A resume skills section should be SEO (Search Engine Optimization) heaven.

Make your resume keyword heavy and you will get found in databases. Fortunately, you don’t need to wonder about where to find the keywords; all you have to do is look at the job descriptions. Generally, the person who wrote the job description is running the search. They’ll let you know what words they’re using in their database searches because it will match what they’ve put in the job description..

10. Say No to Paragraphs

Do not have anything in paragraph form on your resume. Bullets only. Paragraphs simply don’t get read. Think of your resume as a full page magazine ad. Now go look at some magazine ads. Are most of them in paragraph form or are they brief sentences with strong images? Respect the hiring manager’s short attention span and give them easy to digest sentences.