You can increase your chances of getting hired without resorting to stunts.
By Dominique Rodgers
Monster Contributing Writer
Gimmicky or stunt resumes are almost always a terrible idea. Someone somewhere once had his resume delivered with a pizza and subsequently got the job, leading others to believe this type of thing was helpful. It’s not.
There’s no reason, however, you can’t stray a little from the typical resume format to really shine. Here are four non-gimmicky resume tips that will lift you above the crowd.
Highlight your skills and character
Charlie Harary likes to hire for fit in terms of both skills and character. The partner in venture capital firm H3 & Co. and professor at the Sy Syms School of Business at Yeshiva University, sees a lot of resumes. Most blend together but the ones that really catch his interest show both the candidate’s solid character and specific skills related to the position to which they’re applying.
Harary says he likes to see specifics about skills instead of vague phrases like “assisted with” or “worked closely on” because those don’t convey skill information. He’d rather know if you led the project, drafted documents or made coffee — and what skills you used in that specific position.
“If you identify a few of your key skills, you may hit the one that the company needs,” he explains. “You are showing the company that you are bold, introspective and articulate enough to understand your unique value.”
In terms of character, Harary says he likes to see examples that will showcase someone’s inner self. “In an economy that pivots and recreates itself so much, they want employees that possess traits like grit, humility, teamwork and compassion.” He sees this when a candidate includes information about working their way through college or doing volunteer work to help others.
What may seem irrelevant to some can demonstrate sought-after qualities to others, he explains. “I remember hiring an employee just because she added that she worked in a restaurant when she was in high school. I called her in and she told me that her parents couldn't afford much and she has been working since she was 12. I hired her on the spot.”
When you submit your resume electronically, use hyperlinks to highlight the companies you’ve worked for, advises Mark Slack, career adviser at Resume Genius, an online resume building tool. “It's a great way of making your resume transparent, easy to research, modern, and unconventional. Hyperlinking also makes your resume look interesting and aesthetically pleasing — so it's a win-win.”
It’s also a good idea to link to any online recommendations, portfolios or publications you mention in your resume, says Stacy Lindenberg, owner of Talent Seed Consulting, a workplace development firm.
Perfect your presentation
After you submit your resume electronically, you can still follow up with one in person. Lindenberg advises that if you do this, the presentation needs to be as polished as the resume itself. She recommends using a large white envelope so your papers stay flat and don’t need to be folded.
Lindenberg suggests stacking the resume on the bottom, then the cover letter and then topping with “two or three letters of reference from trusted sources. This way, when the envelope is opened, the recruiter first sees other endorsements, then your cover letter, then your resume.”
Include some endorsements
Let your references help you tell your story, suggests Geordie McClelland, founder and CEO of theThings.biz, a career advancement service designed to help entry-level and early-stage job seekers, especially recent grads and veterans, find jobs.
“Get back in touch with people you previously worked with and ask them to talk about your greatest strengths. This is a great way to add credibility to claims you might make about soft skills in your resume, it helps you better speak to your strengths in a cover letter or an interview, and it gives you a reason to get back in touch with people in your network who might not know that you are looking for a job and who may be able to help.”