Building a resume, one that stands out

In this article, you’ll learn how to build a solid yet simple resume that will give a call back from your hiring manager.

Do you know how many resumes a hiring manager goes through to fill a position? A couple of hundreds on average. Yup! That many!

Building a resume that stands out is very important when applying for a job, especially when there are so many options for a hiring manager to look at. A startup, while hiring, often looks for individuals who are passionate and confident about their qualities. They need to add the most compatible member to their team and pay close attention when they go through your submitted resumes. 

I’ll tell you how to create a resume that the hiring manager won’t drop. 

But first, what is a resume? 

A resume is a document that showcases a job applicant’s abilities, qualifications, and achievements. It includes all the objective that qualifies him as an asset to the organization. Having a polished resume is a great way to set you apart. It is also important to understand the industry you’re working in and the hiring company you’re applying to tailor your resume to. 

What to include in a resume? 

It is essential to understand what a company and your hiring manager are looking for from the recruitment before you customize your resume. While big companies look for people who can focus and specialize in one area, startups will happily hire all-rounders. E.g., if you’re looking for a software dev position, highlighting your managerial skills and achievements could get you closer to bagging the job. 

That being said, here are the essential elements to include while writing your Resume: 

1. Contact Information: 

Your contact information: name, address, phone number, and email address should be at the top of the resume. 

2. Introduction:

Everybody looks for clarity, and so does your hiring manager. Putting in a simple introduction that clarifies your goals and shows how passionate you’re towards your work and the particular industry will keep the hiring manager hooked to your resume. Don’t forget to include the most important keywords mentioned in the job description. I have made a video on customizing your resume for a specific job role. I have attached a video in the next section to show you how to customize your resume.

3. Education Qualification: 

Add your education qualification with your recent degree. You can add the core subject, the awarding body, and other pertinent information. If you’re applying for startup jobs, you must understand that startups highly appreciate biog company experiences and startup experiences. So make sure to highlight each one. 

4. Relevant Work Experience/ Work history: 

List your work experiences with the latest job at the top (reverse chronological order), including your job title, employer, dates, and core responsibilities. Don’t forget to mention your internships, if any. 

5. Skills: 

List your skill according to your ability. Before writing this section, go through the job description thoroughly to include the skills that are valued by the organization and list them at the very top—adding abilities that align with what the organization or the hiring manager values.

6. Hobbies: 

Startup professionals are workaholics in nature, and despite that, they want people who do things outside of work once in a while. They look for individuals who can maintain a work-life balance. There will be intense brainstorming sessions that could go on for hours, and hobbies and topics outside of the work can be refreshing.   

Effective ways to make your resume stand out

There are several ways to set your resume apart from the rest. What a hiring manager is looking for will highly depend on your industry and the job you’re applying for, but in general, hiring managers seek resumes that stand out. Here are several tips to consider when creating your resume:

1. Build your resume according to the industry and the job description: 

Always keep in mind to include experiences that resemble the qualifications and requisites of the job description and the industry in general. Proper research about the industry and the company and the job description will give you an insight into the same. Include only the relevant qualities that let your future employer know you understand what they’re looking for in an employee.  

Here’s a video that’ll show you how to customize a resume according to the job/industry you’re applying to: 

2. Add a summary to your resume:

A summary would be your professional statement, and it should contain your skills and personality briefed up in a small paragraph. This will be an excellent way to convince your hiring manager to read your resume. 

3. Make it visually attractive: 

Be it a black and white resume or a colorful resume, your hiring manager will appreciate a well-designed and well-presented resume. However, make sure your creativity is professional and is not right-in-the-face. Here are some tips you can consider: 

Font style: 

Always make sure that the font you use is legible. Use a professional font like Georgia, Times New Roman, Calibri, or Helvetica.

Font size: 

Choosing an appropriately-sized font will ensure your hiring manager’s ability to read the content of your resume. Size 12 font should be fine; however, font size can be adjusted to fit your resume to the page. Therefore, you can go a couple of notches up or down with the font size. 

Color choices: 

Use an attractive color scheme when designing your resume. Opt for primary colors such as black, white, and a third color like blue or green. White is a great background color, black is best for text, both bold and otherwise, and your third color could be used to highlight important details on your resume. 

Margin and line spacing: 

You can have two pages of a resume, but one page is always better and easier to digest for your reader. The goal, therefore, is to fit the entire resume into one page. Adjust your margin and line spacing accordingly. But as a thumb rule, you can leave one inch on all sides, and you can reduce that to half an inch if you need more space. If the margins are too small, your resume will look too crowded. 

The ideal line spacing format is between 1.0 to 1.50 to make the resume look presentable—single line spacing between two general lines and double line spacing between a paragraph and a sub-heading. 

Bullet points: 

Use bullet points wherever relevant to maintain general hygiene in the resume. You can use bullet points while listing your work experiences or skills.  

Template:

Keep your designs minimal and visually appealing. If you’re using a template, make sure the visual elements don’t distract from the content of your resume. You can also use platforms like Canva, VisualCV, CakeResume, etc. to make your resume visually appealing.

4. Submit a Cover Letter: 

Even if not asked for, submitting a Cover Letter is always a good idea. It outlines your credentials and capabilities, which is a great way to stand out amongst the other applicants. If you choose to submit a cover letter alongside your resume, ensure that the color scheme matches your resume.

Here’s a video that shows how to write a cover letter:

5. Understand what the hiring manager is looking for:

Remember to review the job posting and the company’s website to understand what they are looking for and their objectives. Take a few moments to consider what you plan to include. Focus on the company’s culture, keywords you want to have, and what’s expected of you in this role. And add relevant skills that will be valuable to the organization. Read through the job posting for any skills or requirements the hiring manager is looking for. 

6. Keep it short:

An experienced resume could be of two pages, but it is advisable to fit it into one page. Ensure that you only include essential and relevant information that applies to the particular job role. Avoid reparations and redundancy. 

7. Keywords: 

Using the correct keywords in your resume is another essential point to keep in mind. It increases the chances of getting a call back from the recipients. Using words for skills such as sales, marketing, risk management, accounting, etc., and terms for tools and techs such as excel, java, python, etc., are profitable for your resume to stand out. 

8. Look out for typos and grammatical errors:

The last thing you want in your resume to go wrong is a typo or grammatical error, and look out for them by thoroughly reading the document. If you’re typing the document, you can use applications such as Grammarly that will detect any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. 

Black and white resume vs. Colourful resume

When it comes to using colors in a resume, there are many opinions on why you should and shouldn’t use colors in resumes. While black and white colors remain the safest and most straightforward choice, some people opt for more colors. Black and white resumes are easy to read irrespective of the recipients’ device or application. 

Using subtle colors with black and white as the primary base is safe, and adding too many colors makes the resume look messed up and hard to read. A colorful resume makes sense if you are applying for a position that involves creative thinking. You can either design one from scratch or use the resources mentioned in this article to create a resume using a template. 

Here are the results of a poll I posted on LinkedIn a month ago: 

62% of the total votes consisted of Black and white pager. And there’s a reason why! 

A hiring manager has to go through a hundred resumes a day. And resumes that are two-three pages long with too many words become cumbersome for the hiring manager. With that being said, it also becomes a tedious job with all the extra and unnecessary information such as the candidate’s life history, including their personal address. 

Hiring managers are drawn towards short and crisp resumes that speak volumes of your caliber. 

Check out this resume that I had written a post earlier to help you create a 1-page resume in under 20 mins. 

Learn how made the one-pager resume in detail: 

Conclusion

A resume is an introductory document that gives the hiring manager what you bring to the table. While there are a million ways to build your resume, adding a well-built and polished resume is what will give you a call back from the hiring manager. 

With the right content, format, and keywords, you can make your resume stand out from the crowd. 

So? Go ahead and build a strong resume. You can reach out to me at reachkga@gmail.com for more resume tips.

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