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Get Attention With Your Resume – Avoid Getting Lost In The Dreaded HR Void Erm, Database
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Get Attention With Your Resume – Avoid Getting Lost In the Dreaded HR Void Erm, Database

Ever wonder what happens with your resume once you hit the “apply” button? Most likely the 30 seconds the individual spent reading the document was not enough to warrant a second glance.

Trust me I know, as a recruiter I read dozens of resumes each and every day and if I can’t identify why I should call an applicant in that time frame, well, it truly does get lost in a pile on my desk and hides in a database with hundreds of thousands other candidate profiles, never to see the light of day again.

That last part was a little over kill, but hey, you get where I am going with this. My goal is to help you write better resumes that are targeted for the audience you would like to appeal to. Read more to learn how to get better results with your resume.

Write for your industry

If you work in a creative industry, like media, event planning, app development, advertising or even architecture, take some creative license and showcase your style and what you bring to the table. You can imbed videos, a link to your personal website or online portfolio, anything really, as long as it showcases your creative genius.

If you are in a more technical or traditional line of work, say construction, engineering or IT, a project list format should be considered including the most relevant high lights of each project you have been involved in. You may have to create a few versions detailing various projects depending on where you are applying and what type of work that company performs.

Avoid the Copy, Paste, Repeat formulae

Copy and pasting the same job description for each company you have worked for is not helping your cause either. Yes, you may have very similar functions from one position to the next, but the point of the resume is to showcase the best of your work and your ability. Remember, you want to get attention with your resume, not blend in with all the rest!

One Page, or Beyond?

There is this myth that a resume should be no longer than one single page. Unless you have very little working experience, it is safe to go beyond the first page in order to allow the reader to get a sense of who you are.

However, a 10 page resume will not likely be read in its entirety, so keep the information you include on point, clear and concise. The idea is to ensure that the resume screener would like to know more about the information included within. If their eyes are glazing over half way through, you have lost your audience.

Buzz Off!

Nix the buzz words that everyone else is using and avoid paragraphs of useless information about how you can use Microsoft Office, and have are a “team player” that “works well with others”.

The first paragraph about you should contain a short description of who you are and how you can help the organization you join. These few sentences should be able to paint a unique picture of why hiring you would be a smart decision. Just avoid the buzz words. Please.

Brag a Little!

Now that you have rid your CV of all the boring and meaningless buzz words, why not replace them with all the great things you have done in your career? You can include sales awards, new programs you have implemented, efficiencies you have found, honourable mentions, fund raising, or whatever! It is almost like a little high light reel, staring you and only you! Consider putting on the first page.


Again, your resume should reflect the industry that you are in. If you are in an artistic and creative line of work, you can take liberties here to show off your amazing abilities and grab the attention of your audience. If you are in a more staid line of work, a more traditional format should be used.

Pick a font, any font, and stick with it throughout the body of the resume. Bolding, Italics, and underline, should be used sparingly, generally for the company and title you held in each position. Otherwise, plain old text should do the trick.

Size really does matter, so please have the text always in the same size font. You want to get attention with your resume, not turn the reader off.

Clip art, regardless of your industry, should be strictly avoided at all costs. Seriously, my colleagues and I have a good laugh when we get these types of resumes, and seeing as it is 2013, clip art should not be anywhere near your professional document regardless of your industry. Write that down. You want to get attention with your resume, just not that kind!

Your paragraphs should be justified to the left, not in the middle of the page, and don’t try to encroach on the margins. Imagine what your resume will look like printed and print off a copy before sending it anywhere so you can correct any formatting issues first. If your text is starts in the middle of the page, you have a problem.

Edit, Edit, Edit and Then Edit Some More!

You know, I once received a resume from an highly educated engineer with an MBA from Harvard. He had two grammatical errors in the first page of his resume alone. Harvard MBA means nothing if you can’t avoid simple spelling and grammatical errors. Really, it was a terrible first impression to make.

Ask a colleague, friend, or mentor to read it over a few times. A fresh perspective can often catch these little errors better than the author can. Your editor may also be able to provide constructive criticism that will help your resume get to where it needs to be.

Remember to include accurate dates or employment, all courses, certifications, training programs, and education relevant to your professional life.

Want to get attention with your resume? Then remember to write for your industry, eliminate useless phrases and buzz words, shine a spot light on yourself and your wonderful achievements, format with readability in mind and don’t forget to EDIT! With these things in mind, your resume has a fighting chance in making it to the interview pile and out of the great void of the HR database.

Street Talk

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