8 Ways to Subtly Personalize Your Resume

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Generic resumes are boring, mostly. And the fact that recruiters receive heaps of them daily only makes things worse. So, naturally, you’d want to make your resume stand out from the crowd. But how do you do that? By personalizing your resume, of course.

There are a few ways to do it subtly, without making the document look like a Christmas postcard or read like a product ad. Read on to find out the best suggestions.

Make It Targeted

There are three main types of resumes, namely:

  • chronological;
  • functional;
  • combined version.

The principal difference between them is in the way the information is presented. A chronological resume focuses on the work history, a functional one emphasizes the skills, and a combination one is a fine blend of the two.

Whichever type you choose, it’s possible to make it targeted to fit the specific job you’re applying for. To do it, start by reading the job description attentively. Pay special attention to things like job title, duties, demands, and required experience.

It usually helps to utilize some words and phrases from the description. For example, you can mention that you’re a “team player” or, on the contrary, are capable of “making decisions independently” if that’s what the HR mentioned in the job description. Also, remember to include your relevant experience and skills firsthand.

Use an Example

Many professionals, especially those entering the job market for the first time, don’t know exactly what their resume should look like. If you’re having problems with that, check some professionally tailored examples at LinkedIn. There, dozens of samples are sorted by industry. So, you’ll definitely be able to find what you need.

However, remember that an example is there just for reference. It can be used as a sample, but you still need to tweak it to help your unique personality shine through.

Utilize Keywords

Nowadays, recruiters often use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to weed out irrelevant applications. To break through that, you can try to use industry keywords to highlight the most pertinent data.

For instance, you can mention that you’ve “grown revenue” or “helped foster relationships on your team”, or “increased brand recognition”. The most important thing is to be guided by the position you’re applying for, and its description, of course.

However, be careful to use keywords naturally and not put them in just to trick the ATS. Otherwise, your resume will eventually end up ignored as well.

Spice It Up With Action Verbs

Recruiters love action verbs, experts say. Words like “increased”, “grown”, “achieved”, “accomplished” never fail to engage their eye. Once the hiring managers see a sentence starting with a powerful verb, they are most likely to continue reading it attentively.

But make sure that the follow-up is equally impressive. If you manage to hold the manager’s attention all the way through, chances are you’ll soon find yourself at the interview!

Use Metrics and Numbers

As for the follow-ups, the best way to continue sentences that start with action verbs is with metrics and numbers. For example:

  • Drew 500,000 unique visitors to the company’s website by attracting external traffic from social media.
  • Developed a marketing campaign strategy that resulted in 50% sales growth.
  • Have been overseeing operations in 5 regional offices for 2 years, etc.

Recruiters also particularly love metrics and statistics related to:

  • finances;
  • time;
  • size;
  • locations.

Still, pay attention to not overload your document with figures and numbers. Overusing them can decrease readability, which is obviously not a good thing.

Make It Look Nice

Whether you have a long list of credentials or just a high school diploma, you can always make your resume look exceptional by choosing a unique design template. The best option is to create one yourself if you have the skills, but you can also hire a designer or even use one of the templates from the internet. If you choose to download an online template, you should be aware that templates are different depending on the region for which they are created. For example, if you are applying for a job in Australia, you should definitely download an Australian resume template.

However, take care to not overdo it. Colorful designs are not equally suitable for every career field. Small visual treats like colored bullet points or neat frames will do for most industries and positions. But be cautious with bolder designs as they are only acceptable in certain creative industries.

Needless to mention, if you apply for a graphic designer position, the designs should be all of your own.

Crucial Things First

Often, your whole future career depends on just a few seconds. Namely, those are the ones a recruiter spends taking a glance at your CV. If you fail to grab their attention instantly, you may never get a second chance to land your dream job.

To ensure this doesn’t happen, put the most relevant details at the beginning. This will increase the chances that the information will be noticed immediately.

It is usually helpful to put a header or defining statement about yourself on the very top of the first page. Think about this header as a tagline for your life story, and of your CV – as of that story’s short summary.

Include Links to Your Social Media

Many recruiters require applicants to provide links to their social media accounts in their resumes. But even if they don’t, they usually check your online presence anyway. So why not make their job easier by providing the links to your fanciest profiles yourself?

For example, you can include a link to your LinkedIn profile or even a personal blog. But be careful to check that these channels look professional and contain no compromising information whatsoever.

Wrapping Up

In a highly competitive professional environment, an impressive resume can be a decisive factor. Oftentimes, people’s future careers depend on just a few sentences, so spare no time to polish your CV.

Use the suggestions above and check some examples to make sure you create a document that will really stand out from the crowd. And remember: however standardized, your resume is first and foremost about you.

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John is a serial entrepreneur and writer who is passionate about helping small businesses launch and grow. His work has been featured in Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and Forbes.