Most of the time, it’s your interview—not your resume—that actually pushes you to the front of the pack and scores your final offer. But sometimes, the decision-making part of the brain works in mysterious ways. And some managers set their sights on a candidate after the very first glance at his or her resume.
Of course, this lucky candidate will still have to move through each stage of the selection process, but from this first moment, the hiring manager’s mind will already be more or less made up. And it may take some serious issues to change the outcome of events that have already been set in motion.
So how can you become this candidate? How can use your resume to convince employers to root for you and give you the benefit of the doubt? Here are a few tips that can help.
1. Use Your Connections
If you know someone—or even if you know someone who knows someone—who might know this specific hiring manger, lean on this contact. Reach out to the person if you can and ask her to put in a good word for you. And in the meantime, mention the person’s name once in your cover letter, and mention your shared institution, former employer, or alma mater in the summary section of your resume.
2. Consider Your Brand
We all have a personal brand, a signature style, or a simple detail that sets us apart and helps potential employers remember who we are. In your case, start with a color. Which color represents you best? Red suggests passion, blue indicates intellect and a calm approach to problem solving, yellow implies a sunny and upbeat demeanor, green suggests creativity, orange is friendly and collaborative, and purple is a royal color that implies dignity, wisdom and experience.
Which one represents you best? Consider adding a flash of this color to your interview attire, and in the meantime, build the tone, style, and emphasis of your resume around this simple message.
3. Write Well
Of course your resume and cover letter will need to be grammatically correct and free of spelling errors if you hope to land the job. But take this a step further. Don’t just express yourself adequately. Be brilliant. Show your readers—don’t just tell them—that you take written communication seriously. Polish your sentences until they shine, and if you need help, get help. Reach out to a professional editor in your circle of contacts.
4. Love What You Do
Before you sit down to draft your resume and cover letter, think hard about why you entered this field in the first place. What drove you into this profession? And once you stepped in the door, what pushed you to excel, learn, and grow every day until your skills reached their current level? Try to channel that excitement into your bid for this job.
Don’t Leave a Single Detail to Chance
Take every word of your resume and every step of the process seriously. Visit LiveCareer for an award-winning resume builder and job search resources that can help you gain an edge over the toughest competition and land the job you need.