But hard work alone won't get you across the finish line. You'll also need to find a way to set yourself apart from dozens, or even hundreds, of other applicants who all possess the same basic qualifications. Try these four resume moves.
1. Emphasize the Combination Factor
You have a degree in computer science, or marketing, or finance, or liberal arts. And that's great. But what if you knew that every other candidate in line for this position had the same degree, with the same grade point average?
It may be too late to go back and add a minor in a contrasting discipline, but you can still do two things: 1) gain contrasting experience by volunteering, earning certifications, and joining open source groups, and 2) using your resume to highlight the contrasting experience you already have.
Every resume in the stack might boast an accounting degree. But how many if these accountants also happen to have experience with early childhood education, or music theory, or IT? Just one.
2. Get Help
If you happen to be applying for work in a field related to graphic design or layout, you may already have the skills it takes to put together a truly beautiful and perfectly presented resume. But if not, you'll need to get some help and perspective so you can still make a strong visual impression.
3. Explain, Enrich & Expand
A formal resume should be less than a page long and should emphasize brevity, clarity, and relevance at every turn. But if you also develop an informal resume that you can post online on your blog or website, those rules and standards don't apply. In your online version, you can feel free to tell long stories, add infographics, upload videos, and make your case in any way you choose. Include a link in the contact information section of your formal application.
4. Include Your Entire Story In Your Summary
Begin your resume with an introductory paragraph about four lines long. And keep in mind that this summary will be the first—and maybe the only—section of your resume that potential employers actually read. So make sure it contains the highlights of the document below. Use these four lines to make a complete case for why you should be hired.
Resumes Involve Both Art & Science
These tips will help you create a bit of distance and differentiation between your own credentials and those of the hundreds around you who may be competing for the same positions. But you'll also need to add your own special spark, and no clear set of directions can help you define who you are and what you have that make you different from everybody else. To do that, you'll need to start with a LiveCareer template and then add the details and style that make your resume yours, and only yours.