We typically see one type of resume in the job hunting world - white paper, black font, and probably not much (if any) color.
While this is the standard and will work for its intended purpose, it often doesn’t have a lot of personality. Certain jobs require more formality, so the standard is your best option, but for those jobs that ask for creativity in the job description, or simply demand something unique - add some personality!
Here are some of our favorite ways to do just that:
Change the design: Most resumes follow the same standard layout, but they don’t have to! You could put your document into unique, colorful sections, or simply add blocks of color for each section heading.
Add some color: Color is just more fun to look at! If you’re keeping it conservative, simply add color to your name at the top so it stands out. Or, you could really go all out and do your whole resume in one color. Of course, ensure that this is still easily readable, and also send over a copy that doesn’t include so much color in case they’d like to print it.
Be conversational: Formal language has its place, but it’s not always in a resume. You can still talk in a conversational way that uses layman’s terms. Be sure to include all relevant data and qualitative data, but present it more casually. For something extra fun, you can even include charts or graphs with your numerical data!
Make it fit: Are you interviewing for a position at an art gallery? You could change your resume to look like an easel, or feature a paint palette in a way that’s relevant. You can always tailor your actual resume to the job position in a memorable way.
Add something unexpected: Most hiring managers are used the same old thing. Surprise them! Add a creative drawing or graphic, use a custom font, or simply present it in a unique way.
Try a different format: Resumes don’t always have to be on paper! You can try a video or slideshow resume. Of course, make sure this is okay with the hiring manager, and possibly leave these for the job positions that say they’re actively seeking something different in your application.
Add a photo: It can be nice to put a face to a name. In some cases, you might want to include your photo. You could also include a photo of something you accomplished, whether it was a build in your job work, or an event photo from something you planned.
Include what’s needed: No matter how you choose to add personality to your resume, it’s important that it still includes important information. Be sure you’re not leaving out any important and relevant job positions, accomplishments, or education. At the end of the day, that will still be the most important part!
We all know the importance of a resume when you apply for a job, but there’s often more to the application than just that. There’s the cover letter, recommendation letters, resume, and anything else requested by that particular position.
We’re sharing our best tips to keeping your whole job application professional and effective, so you’re ready to apply when those ideal positions come along.
Even if you’re not actively job searching, sometimes the right position just pops up. Be ready for these opportunities! Every month or so, take a few minutes to update and review your materials. This will keep things fresh, keep you from scrambling, and help you avoid losing future opportunities due to time.
This is also a good time to prepare all potential documents. If you only have a resume so far, draft a cover letter and seek out at least 2-4 professional recommendations to have on file.
A professional application is short and sweet! You may think you need to elaborate or sound wordy to be impressive, but employers receive a ton of applications. They will greatly appreciate that you kept to the most essential information.
Along with keeping things short and sweet, don’t be afraid to use bullet points liberally! It allows employers to easily scan your information for items that jump out, and keeps information in bite-sized pieces.
You can utilize bullet points in all areas of your application - the cover letter and resume, as well as any other documents required by the posting.
If you want to submit a professional application, it should be free from spelling and grammatical errors. Take the time to really proofread well, and ask a friend or family member to take a look as well. We can miss small errors by seeing the same piece of writing so many times, so don’t be afraid to have several sets of eyes on it.
Errors and mistakes can make you come across as careless, even if that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s worth the extra time to ensure that all of your materials are perfect!
These days, not all job postings are standard. Some of them require additional writing samples, tests, and so on. You need to read very carefully! They’re often looking for someone who follows directions.
Be sure that you include everything that is asked for, and don’t include other things that are not. Each employer usually has a very specific skill set and documents that they’re requiring, so it’s best to stick to that.
To start, ensure that you have a cover letter, solid, updated resume, and recommendations, which can either be attached or ready upon request. This will give you a foundation, and any other requested materials can be created quickly!
Resumes are crucial parts of our application process. We typically can’t get a job without one! While they’re very important, they can also be tedious and frustrating for your potential employers. In addition to that, they often have an enormous amount of resumes to sift through. Whether it’s too much text, ancient job positions, or any combination of both, it’s important to stand out among these resumes.
When you stand out, you become memorable to the employer or hiring manager. When a job position is popular, it can hundreds - or even thousands - of positions. Check out our tips to make sure you’re standing out among the crowd!
Boring is out! The standard black text on white paper can be tiresome and even hard to read after so many resumes. If you have some design experience, take a stab at a unique layout. Or, you could experiment with fun colors.
Although standing out is important, your resume still must be readable and professional. You can inject personality and uniqueness while still staying true to yourself, the job position, and the work environment.
Long resumes are often the least fun part of a hiring manager’s job. Make it easy on them! Keep your resume to one page if possible, two at the absolute max. Remove any old information, fluff words, and information that isn’t pertinent to the exact job positions you're applying for.
Get very specific with your qualifications, achievements, and job positions. Keep only the most important information in your resume, and leave any lengthy job descriptions for interview questions.
Remove as much general information as you can. For example, “I produced $30,000 of additional revenue for the charity event,” not “i.e. I successfully planned a local event.”
Hiring managers and employers want to know, as specifically as possible, what you’ve accomplished. Data and numbers really stand out more than “fluff” terms, and they help you to get noticed. It’s very impressive that you increased attendance, saved money, made more money for a charity event, and so on. It’s not as impressive that you created “outstanding marketing pieces,” since that information cannot be qualified or verified.
Creating a stand out resume removes unnecessary information, making it easy on those who are potentially hiring you. A great resume is one that was given time and attention, making it unique and fun to look at. Spend some time making the resume reflect you - in a professional way.
Your resume is one of the first things that a potential employer sees from you. It comes before you meet in person, and is often opened before the cover letter.
Prospective employers want to know what you’re all about - and quickly. It’s a great time of year to update your resume before the new year and get it in great shape as you revamp your materials. These are some of our best tips to update an already established resume.
Are the most recent items on your resume? Sometimes we only update them every few years, so your most recent job positions might need some care and expansion. Be sure to include everything you’ve done since the last update - and don’t leave any blank time unless you truly weren’t working.
On the other side of the most recent are the old items. If you’ve been out of high school and/or college for 10+ years with a substantial resume since then, you don’t need to include clubs, memberships, and so on, unless they’re extremely relevant to the job position for which you’re applying. A simple note of the name, city and state of your high school, along with the name, city, state, grade point average, and major/minor from college is just fine.
Do your best to keep your resume to one page, maximum two pages. Employers want to see quick, efficient information that will help them move quickly through the application process. Make this easy on them!
In keeping with giving your potential employer a break, include some data that truly stands out easily. Saying that you “helped with the marketing” is fine, but saying that you “designed and distributed 10,000 flyers” and “helped grow attendance by 35%” is more impressive and quantitative.
Additionally, this makes your accomplishments much more concrete and easily measurable. If you can’t find hard numbers and figures to present, get more specific about what you did at your jobs and skip the generalities.
Now is a great time to make sure your resume is free from errors! Nothing is worse than spending all your time on your resume materials, sending them in, only to realize that you had an error or two.
This will automatically diminish credibility in the eyes of your potential employer, so do your absolute best to eliminate errors now. Have friends and family members review your resume for errors too. Sometimes, all we need is a fresh set of eyes to point out something wrong - or something that can enhance your resume.
There’s nothing more disheartening than sending out job application after job application and not getting a reply to a single one. This is especially true when you’re trying to find a work-at-home job, feeling isolated but trying to stay on task job-hunting instead of binging the latest Netflix show. The struggle is real - but I’ve got a few tips to help your applications get noticed!
Remember how every teacher you’ve ever had told you again and again: read the instructions? Follow the instructions! Don’t ignore the instructions! Well, that’s the first rule in getting your application noticed too. Read the instructions, and follow them to the letter.
Some companies even throw a trick into the instructions - seriously. For example, the instructions may direct you to put a certain word into the subject line of your email. This proves that you read completely through the job listing and application instructions. Congratulations! You make it through the first round, and you’d be surprised to hear how many don’t. Other companies might instruct you not to include any attachments with your initial email, specifying that any emails with attachments will be deleted unread. (A worthy precaution on today’s Internet.) If you skip over that request and include your résumé as an attachment? You won’t even be considered, no matter how qualified you are for the job.
Following directions is the easiest “in” you’ll ever get with a company, so don’t skip over this simple step.
My next tip is equally as straightforward: personalize every cover letter or email introduction that you send. Start with who to address your letter to - researching the company in question should turn up who’s head of HR or hiring. If you can’t find out the person’s name, address your email to the Human Resources department or to the Hiring Manager.
Follow that personalization up with a letter that shows you’ve looked into the company and understand who they are and what they do. Focus on how your skills and experience can help you deliver on the company’s promise to their clients. Try to give specific examples of what you’ve accomplished previously that back up your claims of how you can be an asset to them.
Whatever you do, don’t write one letter and send it everywhere you’re applying. Hiring managers see enough form letters that they’ll most likely pick up on it and delete your application before reading any further. It is okay to write the overall structure of a letter once and use it as a template - I know there’s nothing scarier than a blank page, especially when you need to sell yourself. Just make sure you’re tweaking and customizing it for each application.
Just as you must personalize each cover letter for each job application, you should also tailor your résumé for each application. As much as we’d love to believe every résumé is one-size-fits-all, they’re just not. You might be able to get away with one résumé for each job type - say you’re applying for writing jobs, teaching or tutoring jobs, and customer service jobs. Say you also have relevant experience for each. You could make three different résumés: one that prioritizes your skills and experience related to tutoring children in a certain subject, another that highlights your amazing customer service capabilities, and so on.
In fact, having a résumé for each job position you’re pursuing is one of the more efficient ways to manage your time when job hunting. You do the bulk of the work up front when you write your résumés, and then simply tweak it when you find a position you’d love to land.
How should you tweak your résumé for each job application? Look at the job listing, and pay attention to the specific qualifications they’re looking for. Note which ones they list first, or seem to put the most emphasis on. Then make sure your résumé uses similar language and puts your most desirable qualifications first.
This tactic for getting your work-at-home application noticed is a little trickier, but it’s a great skill to develop to improve your chances at jobs that attract tons of applicants. Essentially, you need to use the right keywords in your résumé to get your application in front of an actual person. That’s right: sometimes you need résumé SEO to beat an applicant tracking system (ATS).
The problem is that some large companies receive applications in such high volume that it’s impossible for them to examine each one. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day. So, they use a set of keywords and an applicant tracking system to automatically weed out those résumés that don’t feature the correct qualifications for the job. Of course, this means that you might have the best qualifications in the world, but you’re never going to get your résumé read if you don’t use the correct keywords.
A great way to choose the best keywords is by getting specific - use terminology that’s unique to the industry and position, and make sure you both use common acronyms and spell out what that acronym stands for. For example: “Certified Coding Specialist (CCS).” The Muse has some other great tips to help beat the robots.
My last tip is this: follow the KISS rule, but also be memorable. KISS means “Keep It Simple, Sister,” of course, and is a great mnemonic device that’ll keep you from getting long-winded or muddled in your cover letter, introductory email, or résumé. But keeping it simple doesn’t mean being bland, boring, and just like every other applicant in their giant pool of applications. Instead, infuse a bit of creativity into your application - use a unique subject line (while still following any instructions given about the subject line!). Write a sentence or two that’s funny, or surprising while describing what you can do for the company - just make sure it’s also appropriate and accurate! Don’t promise anything you can’t deliver.
With these tactics in your back pocket, you should be well on your way to breaking free from the crowd and getting a hiring manager interested in you. Good luck, and drop me a line about how these tips work out for you!
Author Bio: Angie Nelson began working from home in 2007 when she took her future into her own hands and found a way to escape the corporate cubicle farm. Today she shares her passion for making money from home on her blog The Work at Home Wife. Visit her site for a great list of places to find virtual assistant jobs.
Your resume is likely the most important document in your job search! We’ve compiled tips from HireMyMom.com employers to help you create your best resume. Read along for tips and advice to make your resume stand out and land the job.
Business owners are so busy and often get 30 - 100 resumes. The resumes that get read are the ones with something that HOOKS the CEO fast! Something like: Let me Take More Off Your Plate!
Resumes are boring to read and most business owners have some level of ADD. They are visionary's so ADD serves them but doesn't get your resume read through. BOLD important items that highlight your strengths and experience!
There are many applicants in today's market. It’s not hard to find people to plug hole in a company but it is hard to find GOOD people. Business owners are looking for a GO GETTER.. The P.S. is the most read part of ANY email or letter. PS Your Go Getter Attitude so that you stand out
- Shanda Sumpter at HeartcoreBusiness.com
Proofread your resume carefully. As an employer, I don't know how many times I've received resumes with spelling errors, punctuation errors, etc.
Don't shortchange yourself in talking about your skills, however be succinct and to the point.
Be clear on your level of expertise with technology. For example, if you have used Google Drive once or twice, then say that you've had minimal experience.
- Nancy Hoopes, Onboarding Consultant at ProfitFactory.com
Thank you to our wonderful employees for their expert advice!
Ah, the cover letter - the sister document of your resume! It’s an important but often overlooked part of the job searching process, and one that demands more attention. Whether cover letters come across as an afterthought, are too lengthy, or simply lack any depth, there can be a number of errors avoided by taking a second look.
You want your first impression to be a good one! Be sure that your grammar is perfect, your spelling is correct, and your sentences well-structured.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t inject some personality into your letter, but proper writing rules remain a required element of the job application documents.
The number one goal of your cover letter is to show why you would be a great fit for the job position and company! Your letter shouldn’t go on and on about your accomplishments as a list, but rather convey them in a way that shows relevance to the employer. You should always indicate which position you’re applying for, a bit about why the company is a fit, and maybe even a few key, relevant facts about the company that will show that you’ve done your homework and truly desire working there.
Also, are you very attached to the specific job position or the company in general? If it’s the company, you can also state that you’re open to other positions within your realm of expertise.
Your cover letter should be an overview, an introduction, and the cordial letter to your resume. You don’t need to include everything you’ve done or every detail! This is a place to make more general statements, as well as focusing on the larger reasons as to why you’re a great fit.
While details are very helpful in resumes, you can skip most of them in a well thought out cover letter.
An employer likely receives hundreds or thousands of applications and cover letters for each position posted - and you can make their lives easier.
You can begin your letter with a few brief paragraphs, but then it’s important to move into succinct, bulleted points. This breaks up large chunks of text, allows the employer to see your points quickly and easily, and makes you appear considerate and well prepared.
What do you bring to the table? List specific character traits, past experiences, and job roles that are a direct fit to this specific position. Yes, this makes mass applying much more difficult, but it’s truly worth it for the jobs that you truly desire.
You may have had 10 jobs that you’re proud of, but which jobs, and more importantly, which qualities from those jobs, will allow you to shine in this new role?
By focusing on the company and job position, you’re focusing on the employer’s needs, not your own. Be sure to include succinct, relevant information that will allow the employer to see what they would get from you immediately. Make it easy for them to read, add some personality, and send along your well written cover letter!
A high quality resume is a daunting task, but it’s completely necessary if you’re entering the job search market. Traditional resumes are good, but what can you do to really stand out?
To make the best use of your time and application efforts, read along for some best practices in creating your best resume yet.
Rich, descriptive wording is so important in your resume! Don’t shy away from language that really describes what you did, all while incorporating necessary keywords that fit the job listing. Another useful description comes in the form of data. If you worked at a job position that resulted in a specific outcome or quantitative result, please include it!
The point of your resume is to show the hiring manager what you can do for them, and proven results really up the ante for impressing your potential employer. Additionally, it’s much more helpful than filler content that really doesn’t show results.
Resumes are not one size fits all! Don’t be afraid to show your creative side and make yourself stand out. Can you do something fun with the format that still makes your resume readable but exciting? Is there a beautiful, clear font that stands out? For certain positions, video resumes and social media posts as an application might be par for the course.
Truly look into the job posting and see what they’re searching for. If it’s a much more traditional job, it might be best to stand out with accomplishments only, but if the company is a bit more fun or seeking creativity, this is your time to shine! Don’t hesitate to try something new - it might just get the right kind of attention and a new job position for you.
A good resume is very thorough. Be sure to cover every recent, relevant position that might help you obtain the job. Also be sure to offer (or simply include) 2-3 quality references and fill in any gaps in employment to avoid questioning or suspicion.
Covering your bases on your resume is a great way to show that you’re thorough in business and life, as well as giving you the opportunity to truly scan your brain and memory for past experiences that fit the job posting bill.
Your cover letter is typically the first piece of communication that the employer sees! Take the time to create a solid, persuasive letter in your personal voice. Of course it’s necessary to use correct grammar, spelling, and so on, but you can absolutely speak in your unique voice.
Your cover letter should be short but informative, including bullet points as to why you’re a great fit for the job and company, as well as why you’re interested in the job. Focus it on the benefits to the new company and why they need to hire you. Again, keep it short and to the point - a couple paragraphs and 4-6 bullets should do the trick!
Put your work and relevant experience in order of importance when listing them on your resume. These days, your qualifications don’t necessarily need to be chronological. It’s important to show the hiring manager what’s most relevant right off the bat, as most simply scan for applicable experience. Show off your best assets first and foremost!
Make yourself stand out and don’t sell yourself short! It’s always important to be incredibly truthful, but be sure to not get too humble and leave out important information. When it gets right down to it, include anything that is helpful and relevant to the job position, and do it in a way that allows you to shine!
Creating a resume is a bit of a task, but it’s one that is necessary in today’s job market. Spend some time making yourself stand out, all while following the new “rules” of resume creation - be yourself, be unique, be thorough!
The new and improved weather this time of year comes with a sense of renewal and change. Many of us are seeking new employment, or simply looking for a new freelance project to fill a few hours. Either way, a resume is a critical component of this process.
While we’re taking the time to spring clean our homes, bodies, wardrobes and so on, why not take a few minutes to update - or “spring clean” - your resume? Read along for some tips on making effective tune ups to your resume.
It used to be that your resume had to be in chronological order - no exceptions. Times have changed and so have resumes! Don’t be afraid to put your experience in order of importance versus a specific timeline. This can be customized for each job position, as you want to put the crucial information that the employer is seeking first.
Go through your resume and determine what is most important or the job that you want and make the necessary changes.
As important is it is to organize your resume, it’s equally as important to remove what is no longer serving you in your career. Do you need to note jobs that are 10 years old or club positions from high school over 15 years ago? In most cases, these kind of inclusions aren’t necessary. Do your best to focus on current, relevant work experience, and craft your resume in a way that highlights those accomplishments that are in line with your new desired work position.
Additionally, you can remove old, boring descriptions from your resume. Make your resume pleasant to read and focus on the most important aspects of your career so far.
While you’re removing the older descriptions, focus on adding in valuable information - quantitative data and results, specific numbers and improvements, and so on. The more specific and measurable you can be, the better. If your job position doesn’t lend itself to this kind of data, still include results from your jobs and/or internships. Employers are interested in what you did, but they really want to know how you’ve helped others in the past, which in turn can show how you can help them.
It’s also incredibly important to include other new, relevant information, even if it’s volunteer work. Certifications, associations, and volunteer positions can tell an employer a lot about you, so they are very important to take the time to include in your updated resume. We often forget these types of notes in our resumes, and they can truly forge common bonds and extra credibility with a potential employer.
This is a bit of a bonus tip, as it won’t actually appear in your resume. Ask for quality recommendations and letters from past employers. It’s incredibly important to have these on hand as you’re sprucing up your resume and getting ready to go through many applications. Give your past employer(s) plenty of time - up to 3-4 weeks - to complete a quality recommendation. When your new potential employers ask for letters of recommendation, you’ll be ready and waiting without hesitation!