Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Making Your Resume Stand Out

Is there a way to make your resume stand out without making it too long? What can separate it out from the stack of scores of resumes on someone's desk? Should you include references on your resume, or just say, "References available upon request?"

Many businesses have a standard format that they require, so that there's not much room for innovation. But if they have spaces to add these items, or allow you to run off the resume and add a few things, consider these tips from a couple of personal experiences.

  • When my brother, who works at a major energy company, was soliciting resumes for an engineering job, he said that he wished that people had included their references so that it wouldn't be one more step for him to ask.
  • When I helped one of my sons write a resume to try to get a job as a motorcycle mechanic in LA, I actually included about three quotes from people in the auto shop where he formerly worked.

    We thought, "what characteristics are people looking for in a mechanic? Let's see, they want someone who's reliable - will show up on time every day. Someone who's nice - easy to get along with and fun to work with. Someone who's willing to learn new things and take on new challenges." Then, we went to people at Acworth Automotive and asked if he exhibited these qualities. They gave us little blurbs, something like:
"Benji's a really nice guy, a pleasure to work with." - Annette - office manager

"Shows up every morning by 7:30 - on time. A damn hard worker." - Pete - owner

"He's a quick learner - challenged us to give him at least one new job every week." - John - transmission specialist

It was a short, little resume - it was the only mechanic job Benji had ever worked. Yet, they hired him as a motorcycle mechanic at one of the most respected motorcycle dealerships in Hollywood. And get this - he'd never owned a motorcycle or worked on a motorcycle. He'd only worked on cars! Yet, one of the managers said, "good resume!"

If it's not practical to get little quotes like this from a former job this time around, consider getting them in your new position as you continue to build your resume. Especially in times of tough competition in the job market, doing something to make your resume stand out makes a lot of sense.

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