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4 tips for making your resume stand out, according to a CareerBuilder recruiter

Brandi Frattini, CareerBuilder's talent acquisition lead, offers four ways you can improve your resume during the coronavirus pandemic.

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With the economic toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on the U.S. economy, tens of millions of Americans have had to consider their next career moves. Whether you're seeking job opportunities in your industry or looking to try out a new one, there are ways to make your resume stand out to recruiters and hiring managers.

"Regardless of the industry someone is looking to find work in, they need to be strategic in how they're looking for jobs and how they're marketing themselves," says Brandi Frattini, CareerBuilder's talent acquisition lead.

Here are four tips Frattini would give anyone refurbishing their resume right now.

Incorporate language from job descriptions you love

"I think my favorite tip pre-Covid, through Covid, after Covid," says Frattini, is "find the job descriptions that you love, then ... pull some of those key words into your own resume."

That is, when you're looking to rewrite your resume, rifle through job descriptions of the types of jobs you've done in the past on sites like CareerBuilder, Monster, and LinkedIn. If some of that language pertains to your own experience, use it in your own resume as well. The right keywords can help you show up in recruiters' searches. 

"Why do all of that hard work on your own when it's out there already in job descriptions for you to pull in?" she says.

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Use the right keywords

Whatever your experience, your resume will include a series of keywords that may be relevant for a job. These could include job titles, certifications, names of degrees, and so on. If they are relevant to the position you're applying for, make sure to use them in multiple ways.

"If you have an abbreviation on your resume like CPA," says Frattini, "think about spelling it out but also leaving it in the abbreviation so it can be picked up both ways depending on who's typing it in and who's searching for you."

Personalize your format

While it's important to include all of the relevant information in your resume, like your work experience, certifications, and education, and to write it in a way that's easy to read, Frattini suggests experimenting with different formats and templates to make your resume stand out.

"A lot of candidates do pull a template, maybe from Word or off the internet, that they can follow," she says. "Recruiters can spot those a mile away."

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"You want to make it so that [the resume] is yours and that it doesn't look like anybody else's," she says.

Try Googling terms like "unique resume" or "cool resume" and see what kind of inspiration you can get from other people's creativity.

Be thoughtful about how you save your resume

One final piece of advice: When saving their resumes on their computers, "a lot of people will [use a file name] like, 'Resume 2020 version two,'" says Frattini. Then they'll send that file to recruiters.

Instead, save your CV with an easily recognizable file name, she suggests: "Just give it your first and last name, the word 'resume,' and maybe the year."

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