Six Tips To Make Your Resume Stand Out
Attention job seekers! Have you ever wondered why you do not receive prompt replies after submitting your resume? Do you wonder how to make your resume stand out? At Monzingo Legal recruiting and consulting, we like to help job seekers and candidates put their best foot forward as to job openings. Here are some tips to help yours get noticed:
Templates – Resume templates are trending lately, especially utilizing the Microsoft Word versions. As a legal recruiter and law firm management consultant, I review volumes of resumes. I have received the MS Word templated resume dozens of times. As a result, and as you can imagine, these resumes do not stand out in your job search. Using standard templates is not beneficial to have the same colors and formatting as others. Also, these templates seem to encourage job seekers to cram all their information into boxes and tables on one page when a resume’s optimal length is 2-3 pages. There are a few other problems with this format. First, one cannot possibly get all pertinent information conveyed, and second, most importantly, the template tables and graphics do not parse well in applicant tracking software systems (ATS) that most recruiters and companies use. Important information could be left out of search fields of the software if the hiring manager does not go into their software and fix the situation, causing delays in your resume potentially being seen correctly or found in a boolean search.
Color, Photos and Graphics – Using a small amount of subtle color in your resume, such as in the headlines, is okay and may even make yours stand out. Conservative colors like dark blue, dark grey, maroon, or dark green are office/business appropriate. Using no color at all is perfectly acceptable as well. Whatever you decide, use only one color in addition to black and be consistent in the formatting. Furthermore, it is best not to place your photo on a resume. Do, however, place a link in your contact information at the top to your LinkedIn profile which should contain a professional headshot and match the dates, jobs and information on your resume.
Document Types and Submissions – The document type for your resume should be in either Microsoft Word or a PDF. Also, it is best to send your resume by email from a computer and not a phone to the job poster or upload it in one of these types. Avoid sending your resume from Google Drive, OneDrive, or from other online cloud storage links. I cannot tell you how many times I have been on the receiving end of a resume submission asking me to follow a link to open it, and the document does not open or prompts for a password. This delay and malfunction definitely put your resume at the back of the line.
Format and Headline – A basic structure written in a Word document is best for resumes. Be sure to customize your headline to the job posting, followed by a short bullet list summary of relevant skills, abilities and accomplishments. A compelling statement at the top of your resume will help yours stand out. Example: “Real Estate Attorney with over 40 commercial real estate transactions closed and more than 30 commercial leases completed seeks long-term opportunity at a successful and progressive law firm.” Next, list your experience in reverse chronological order with your current job first. Bonus tip: If the job description calls for a mandatory level of education that you possess, list your education and honors, specific training, or other pertinent educational information at the top of your resume on page one before job experience, as opposed to placing on the last page leaving the reviewer to search for your qualification in this regard.
Cover Letters – Resumes sent with a non-generic cover letter stating what you can deliver to the position specifically and speaking to the job opening details will get your application to the front of the line. On the other hand, poorly written and ill-formatted generic cover letters waste time and go in the ‘circular file.’ Cover letters (and resumes) are also considered as two pieces of your “writing samples.” Take the cover letter opportunity to state why you are a fit for the job and why you would want to work for the employer or law firm, along with displaying your ability to write a compelling business letter, no matter the position for which you are applying.
Fonts – Below are the best fonts for a professional business resume, such as for a law firm job. Use the same font throughout and be consistent with spacing, alignment, bolding, underlining, italics, punctuation, dash format, and font size for each section. Again, I see many inconsistencies in those areas mentioned above, so be sure to take a last look at these fine details. A properly formatted resume showcases your attention to detail, proofreading skills, and drive for perfection. The font names best for resumes are:
- Times New Roman
- Trebuchet MS
Questions About Resumes?
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