Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CVS / MAR. 02, 2015
version 3, draft 3

How to Get Your Resume to the Top of the Pile


The secret to getting your resume to the top of the pile depends on your ability to present yourself the most effectively and ultimately standing out from the competition. When employers are presented with a pile of 101 resumes on their desks, they only spend approximately 9 seconds skimming through each document.

See also: How Typos Can Kill Your Resume

But what happens if that document is your only chance to get the job? Can you ensure that employers will take into account your application or is it going straight to the bin?

Check out the following tips to increase your chances of getting noticed when sending out your resume:

#1 Create an Eye-catching Resume

Apart from crafting a creative resume in terms of the design that is vital to getting noticed, you should also pay attention to what’s inside. Obviously, the structure is important, so you need to make sure it is well-presented and utilises bullet points to help employers read through your resume. However, to help you start with putting together an eye-catching resume, you need to be thinking of essentially two important elements. Your resume should clearly explain:

  • What are the problems you love to solve?
  • What employers are missing out if they didn’t work for you?

On this note, you should expand on bullet points wherever you perceive your achievement is directly relevant to the position on offer. Then go through these bullet points and again ask yourself:

  • What were the results of these tasks and why were they important?
  • How potential employers will process this information in relation to the job and the needs of the organisation?
  • How exactly am I going to help them?

#2 Perfect your Professional Summary

Employers hate clichés. What really grasps their attention is your story. They are interested to hear about your authentic real-life experiences that make you who you are today. This way, you are making sure you are not presenting what everybody is referring to on their resume, and you avoid repeating yourself. Now in order to make your resume stand out, you need to introduce yourself effectively through the document. The professional summary perfectly provides a small summary about your background and lists key skills, your expertise and years of experience in the field and/or in some cases your academic achievements.

#3 Focus on Job-Specific and In-demand Transferable Skills

Although possessing transferable skills is often implied, employers want you to identify and present these in your resume. Apart from communication skills, teamwork and organisational skills, you should also include computer skills and particularly ICT skills that are regarded as the skills of the future or any other technology you have worked with. Since their time is limited, employers only search for keywords; the words that best describe what they are looking for. The same applies to the job specific skills; the more relevant they are to the job advert, the more chances you have of getting the interview.

#4 Show Your Passion and Energy

Employers want to know if you have what it takes to get the job, and that’s why they often seem interested in your motivation and interests. In order to stay one step ahead of the competition, make sure you are referring to what you are passionate about and what really fills you up with energy. If you are applying for your dream job you will have a lot to say, so use phrases such as ‘I enjoy’, ‘I am passionate about’, ‘I am confident that’, which show that you are an assertive and self-aware individual.

#5 Accompany Your Resume With a Cover Letter

Although this is quite obvious, many jobseekers do not send a cover letter along with their resume to introduce themselves or don’t give much attention to it. While it takes some time to construct a winning cover letter, employers will be expecting it so sending out a letter that explains your situation is a must. A cover letter essentially gives you the opportunity to answer questions your resume can’t and shows your genuine interest in the job. Not to mention, if you succeed, employers would most likely want to put your resume on the top of their list!  

Hopefully, these 5 tips will help you stand out from the crowd and push your resume up to the top of the pile! What are your thoughts on creating an eye-catching resume? Let us know in the comment section below!

See also: The Best Resume Cheat Sheet

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