When it comes to hiring and firing, an employee’s direct manager is usually the person making the final decisions. However, many business use the human resources department for the logistical side of hiring, meaning the HR department will post and remove job listings, narrow down a list of viable candidates and contact applicants about setting up interviews.
Because it is usually the same person or group of people wading through resumes for each and every job opening within their company, it is easy for human resources employees to grow tired of “vanilla” resumes very quickly. This means that finding interesting yet professional ways of making your resume stand out is a crucial skill for advancing your career. Here are a few ideas for how to get your resume noticed by a human resources department.
- Consider every word: When people go about actually writing their resumes, they generally are likely to make one of two mistakes: they either choose words that are too bland or cliché, or they blindly use their thesaurus without considering context and appropriateness. The key to an effective and engaging resume is to try and find the happy medium between these two extremes.
- Avoid clutter: It’s understandable to want to include as much positive information on your resume as possible, but there comes a point when less is more. If you need to cut down on your resume clutter, consider editing down your job descriptions on older positions. Employing the standard reverse chronological order will allow this editing move to make sense visually, almost like an inverted pyramid.
- Summarize smartly: Many people choose to write summaries or objectives at the top of their resumes. This is often a smart move, because if a human resources department receives hundreds of resumes for a position, you can feel confident that they will read your objective, if nothing else. However, more than anywhere else on your resume, you need to make sure that summary is worth reading. Use concrete accomplishments to give potential employers a clear idea of what you’re capable of.
- Play the numbers game: Speaking of concrete accomplishments, you can’t get more concrete than an exact number. For example, don’t just say you managed a company’s Twitter account; for more impact, write about the tweet you sent that got 3,057 re-tweets.
- Fill in the gaps: Any noticeable gaps in your employment history could set off a red flag for any human resources department or hiring manager. If you have a good reason for those gaps, such as a six-month volunteer trip or a year of parental leave, make a brief note of that in your resume so as to avoid having your potential employer assuming the worst.
- Use visual restraint: If you are applying for a job in graphic design, it makes sense to give your potential employer a taste of what you can do by making your resume visually innovative. However, if the job is not visually creative, it’s best to err on the safe side. Let your words and achievements be the star of the show.
Contact Schoonover Associates for more information about standing out from the pack in the eyes of the human resources department.
This post was written by Dr. Stephen C. Schoonover