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When searching for a job, a candidate may be tempted to create a resume that’s completely original in an attempt to grab the attention of recruiters at the best companies. However, this can backfire if the resume is so unique that it no longer highlights the skills and qualities of the individual; instead becoming a distraction. If a resume doesn’t look professional, is formatted in such a way that it doesn’t make sense, or has too many visual distractions – it’s not going to serve its intended purpose.

When a Unique Resume Goes Bad

Oftentimes, trying to be outside the box can become a bit excessive. For example, a job seeker might develop a 15-page PowerPoint presentation in an attempt to highlight their experience and appear innovative. Or, maybe a candidate creates an animated website set to music that discusses their qualifications for a job they found on Craigslist. If these methods for displaying their resume or skills were poorly executed or unprofessional, they could fail to present the candidate’s skills in a way that would garner the positive attention of a hiring manager.

Creating a Better Resume

However, job seekers should still leave themselves space to be creative with their resumes. Instead of going overboard, this creativity needs to be balanced with the basic professional structure and layout of resumes that do work well. Here are some tips for making your resume stand out while still maintaining a professional look and feel that can help you land a great job.

#1 – Use a professional resume template.

Forget about using unusual fonts, colors, and pictures on your resume. Instead, focus on writing a resume that is both professional and easy for recruiters to visually scan. Opt for a resume template that includes plenty of white space. You can, however, make your resume stand out more by printing it on higher quality resume paper, and using emboldened and italicized text to make important points stand out a little more.

#2 – Stick to clearly organized categories.

A vast majority of companies today use applicant tracking systems which capture data from the resumes that candidates upload. When writing your resume, have a simplified text version that includes the correct resume categories – including full contact information, career background and educational history. Avoid adding categories like references, awards, software knowledge, and other extraneous data that might confuse tracking systems.

#3 – Highlight top career skills and achievements.

The goal of your resume is to make your skills and career achievements stand out to recruiters. Use the top portion of the resume to include a skills section, then under each job you’ve held include your top two or three achievements. Avoid creating a resume that reads like one long job description or list of duties you’ve had in the past.

#4 – Integrate your social profiles.

You can inject a bit of creativity into your resume by including links to your social network accounts and your online portfolio. These are areas that are interesting to employers. But be careful to clean up your social profiles before you share them with a potential employer. Remove any questionable content and keep it updated with fresh, relevant comments and content that are focused on your career passions.

#5 – Know what the company wants.

There are some cases where a company may ask for job seekers to think outside the box a little more. For example, companies sometimes ask candidates to send in a resume that includes a photo or submit preview work that’s relevant to the future job tasks. In this case, create a separate document that meets these requirements and send it as a supplement to your resume. Be sure to read through the instructions, learn more about the company, and understand what they are looking for.

Now, take the time to review your own resume to determine if it’s over the top, or if it meets the above factors. Use these tips as a guide for creating a stand-out resume without being so unique that your skills and abilities get lost in the process.

If you are looking for a job in Michiana, get in touch with the recruiting team at Wood Staffing. Our years of experience have given us inside knowledge on what employers are looking for when they are hiring top talent. Search our open jobs to find your next career opportunity, or contact us for more information on how we can assist you in your career.

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