As professional recruiters, we look at a lot of resumes, and we also spend lots of time talking to hiring managers who look at a lot of resumes, so we really know what works and what doesn’t. Let’s be honest, most wait until they’re engaged in an active job search before they update and polish their resume, but that’s really the wrong way of going about it. Opportunities come and go quickly. You need to keep your resume fresh and make it concise and appealing so that when a great job comes along even if its really unexpected, you need to be ready to pounce on it. People hear this all the time, but how do you actually STAND OUT from the crowd?
Here’s a great tip you might want to WOW your resume. We recently heard from a Senior Manager in Supply Chain Operations whose immediate goal is to move into a Director role. He’s a really great candidate and will have no problem finding the next big thing but this will likely mean he will have to move to another company to achieve this. But when we reviewed his resume, we immediately saw the problem. It was bland – the same resume as every other resume we see every day. A sea of words and an old style chronological style resume no-one wants to read. He hadn’t updated it in a while, so we suggested he have another crack at it and we gave him some relevent tips about what employers look for to help him stand out in terms of his personal branding and differentiation. We were floored by his next attempt. It was so well done we wanted to give you guys a peek. Maybe you could incorporate this kind of approach in your resume to give it more clarity, zing and polish! Here’s an example
Clean and elegantly designed, this layout is so straightforward you can’t help but be impressed by how logical it is. It talks to a clear mind and that tells us a lot about the person presenting themselves here. Most importantly, it’s a great way to catch HR, a Recruiter’s or a hiring manager’s eye in the 30 seconds one has to grab their attention. But that’s not what makes this resume so great. What makes it really great is how it deploys this elegant design to convey the most important achievement information of this person’s accomplishments, and how it draws the reader’s eye towards those critical quick facts using sidebars.
Sidebars. Magazines have used them to summarize information and save their readers’ time for decades. So why not use them in a resume? Makes great sense. For each position this candidate has held, he includes a bulletpointed list of responsibilities and accomplishments, like you might expect. But his genius move is to put a box on the side (“Quick Facts” or “Quick Stats”) where he gives the major statistics that are most relevent to the hiring manager. How many reports did he have? What was his budget responsibility? How many vendors has he worked with? How many facilities did he manage? These crucial statistics often get lost in long descriptions. Some resumes don’t include them at all!
But with this resume, the reader can find out this crucial information in literally two seconds. It’s all meat and no fat. These sidebars convey the scale of the candidate’s responsibilities. And the hiring manager can then use the statistics for each job as a context for the details that the candidate gives afterward. Genius.
So what does this show us? As a candidate, don’t bury the lead. Use sidebars or other elegant design solutions to put your crucial job statistics front and center. And work on that resume! You never know when opportunity might knock.