The job market is getting more and more competitive. The only way to get your foot in the door (besides mailing a shoe to your potential employer) is to have a resume that stands out. People often get overwhelmed by the thought of creating a resume. They turn to microsoft word for a resume template to guide them through the process and end up with a boring piece of paper that doesn’t exactly exhibit their strengths or personality. Here are a few tips and examples to creating a resume that will get you an interview… the rest is up to you!

Tip #1 – Be Brief
No one wants to read a novel. Condense your resume down to one page. No exceptions. If you really need to free up space move your references to a separate page. I can’t reiterate enough how important it is to keep it short and sweet. Employers know what they are looking for, but if you have a resume that catches their eye it doesn’t matter how much detail is on the page. They will call you for an interview and YOU can expand on every single little detail of your work experience when they ask you about it in person. If they have every piece of information they need from looking at your resume, then what would you have to talk about at the interview? A short resume actually works in your favor and a gives you stuff to talk about about… that way you will avoid awkward silence at an interview!

Tip #2 – Don’t be scared to share something unique about yourself somewhere in the resume. I ride a unicycle & take woodcarving lessons. Interview committee’s love to reference these little tid bits in order to really get to know a candidate. Nobody wants to hire a robot. Show your human side. When helping a friend with a resume a little while back, she told me she always puts “quahogging” on her resume NO MATTER WHAT. She might have her MBA and tons of amazing experience in the nonprofic sector, but it never fails that the interview committee has a few questions about quahogging. In case you are wondering, a quahog is similar to a clam… and she digs for them off the beaches of the cape and then makes delicious stuffed quahogs with her catch!

Tip #3 – Use Color > Use Graphics > Use anything that makes your resume different! You are marketing yourself. What do businesses do to market themselves? They create a logo and pick some identifying colors. Why not use that strategy when marketing yourself? Think of your name as a headline or logo. Make it bold, so they say… hmmm, Who is this Jessica Maguire? What’s her deal?

Tip #4 – EDIT, EDIT, EDIT. I’m the first to admit that I don’t have the keenest eye for errors and tend to focus more on style, layout & aesthetics and miss grammatical stuff as a result (which is horrible to admit, since I’m an English teacher). Have someone else look at your resume to proof it. A new set of eyes is more likely to pick up an error, since we have a tendency to “fill in the blanks” since we know what we are trying to say.

Tip #5 – Consistency. Be consistent with your fonts. Your header should be a bold font, whereas the body should be a simple easy to read font. Make sure you stick to those two fonts throughout your entire resume. And be consistent with your cover letter and reference page too! If you design a cool header with your name & contact info, use that same header and body font for your cover letter and references.

Below are a few examples I was playing around with. The body of the resume remains mostly the same, but I tried some different headers and colors to draw the readers attention.

Pink & Green Dots

Pink & Green Dots


Stripes!

Stripes!


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