4 tips for writing a resume that will stand out in a competitive job market

"A really great tech resume does not look the same as a really good finance resume."

The job market is hot right now — how to write an effective resume

The job market is hot right now. An overwhelming majority, 82% of companies reported they were planning to hire in 2021, according to Monster's Future of Work Report released in January of this year.

While there are many roles available, there's also a lot of competition for jobs right now. One of the best ways to grab the attention of someone looking for new talent is to present a well put-together resume.

"The reality is that the resume is still that primary piece of currency that's used when a job seeker or candidate is looking to communicate with a prospective employer," says Amanda Augustine, career coach and resume writer at TopResume.com.

"The best way to format your resume is by understanding what the standard is and what the expectations are in your given industry," says Emily Durham a senior recruiter at Intuit Canada. "A really great tech resume does not look the same as a really good finance resume."

Here's how you can make your resume stand out.

List your achievements clearly

Use bullet points as a place to highlight your achievements.

What's most important, Durham says, is "making sure that you have data listed on your resume, that might be the outputs of the work you've done or the number of customers you've serviced."

Use bullet points as a place to highlight your achievements: "Did you increase revenue, cut costs, improve customer experience, make job seekers happier? Whatever you did that's better or faster, or added value to the company, that's what you're emphasizing," Augustine told Grow last year.

"If you have a role where it's really hard to put numbers against what you did, just think in terms of better, faster, quicker, more money, less costs," she said. "Just describe it."

If you run out of space on one page, don't worry about going to two pages. The extra space allows you to be more specific and expand your experience with concrete examples — something recruiters want to see more of, Vicki Salemi, career expert at Monster, told Grow last year.

Don't include a photo

Experts warn against including photos on resumes.

It's normal to want your resume to stand out from the pile, but adding a photo of yourself isn't a good move.

"Photos are still considered a big no-no," Augustine warns. "A standard rule is [that] you don't put it on your resume, unless you're in the entertainment industry or someplace where a headshot would be required."

Unfortunately, including a photo can open the door for bias. "Of course, employers should be mindful about this, regardless of the kinds of applications they're receiving," Durham says. "But I always think it's a great idea to eliminate photos to [ensure] a consistent application process."

Include a cover letter

When provided with the statement, "I'm now more likely to read cover letters than before the pandemic," 48% of recruiters, HR professionals, and hiring managers from across the country, agreed, according to a survey by TopResume.com. The cover letter is a chance to add details that wouldn't make sense on a CV.

"You should include one unless it specifically states that you shouldn't," says Augustine. "You don't know who you're dealing with [and ] you don't know who will read your application. So you want to cover your bases."

Use social media as a portfolio

Since the pandemic, "we've seen so many candidates and so many people take to social media to highlight their experience — almost using it as a mini portfolio," Durham says.

Using profiles on sites like Instagram and TikTok or even creating a website is a good way to showcase your work, especially for those in creative fields. "It's a great opportunity to throw your digital illustration work on your Instagram and put that link in your resume," Durham says. "Social media can be a great way to add a little personality."

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