So you’re not a graphic designer or a marketing guru but you want your resume to say “yes, hire me!” in a matter of seconds. That’s a difficult ask… or is it?
With the modern use of photo sharing apps like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, we’ve been trained (whether we like it or not) to make snap judgements based on aesthetics. If you see a beautiful picture on Instagram, you are more likely to give it a couple extra seconds of your attention. Resumes aren’t much different.
If your resume is boring and outdated, it is more likely to be glossed over. If you present a visually appealing resume with graphics, you will attract more attention. To prove this, a 2017 study(1) found that visuals are known to improve learning and retention by 400%. That means that the information you present graphically on your resume will be retained at a rate of 400% greater than the information that is delivered in content alone. According to this same study, infographics have the biggest impact on learning and retention.
Content is still extremely important for a resume - it is what will demonstrate your skills and unique experience. However, knowing what information is best written out versus what information is best represented with a graphic is an excellent way to separate your resume from the others.
Justin Beegel, the CEO of Infographic World, told Forbes “...visual storytelling helps businesses, marketers and communications professionals reach their target audience in more meaningful ways than virtually any other type of medium."(2) By combining verbal, written, and visual storytelling in your job search strategy, you are ensuring that your story will not only be heard, but also remembered.
How can you make this happen on your resume?
1. Focus on Metrics
A numerical result is the easiest form of information to represent in a graphic. Highlighting that you improved sales by 30% year over year can be done in a simple graph that, when done right, can create a wow-factor that words simply cannot. Visually seeing that increase every year will be memorable and impressive. Everyone loves to see a line graph that moves up and to the right. It is the universal symbol for “more money!”
2. Rank your skills
You can add a long laundry list of skills on your resume but does that really get anyone's attention? If a hiring manager spends less than 30 seconds reviewing your resume, you don’t want half of that time spent on reading a list of words. Instead, rank your top 5 to 7 skills from beginner through expert-level. This helps you not only identify your core strengths but can also help to include skills that are relevant to the job but that you may not have expert-level experience in yet.
For example, if a job description calls out “basic graphic design” but you only have limited experience with Adobe Creative Suite, you can list those skill and rank them at an intermediate-level skill set. This will help the reader know you do have the experience but you won’t be putting yourself at risk by listing it as a core skill and making the reader think you will be an expert designer on day one.
3. Professional Experience Timelines
Including a visual timeline of your career will ensure that the reader can quickly follow your career progression without having to spend time looking at dates and trying to put the pieces together. Chronological timelines are routinely represented through visuals to teach history and tell stories. The same applies here. If you can save time by adding a visual element to your resume, that is more time a reader can spend on the core of your content and experience.
4. Include logos for professional highlights
If you want to ensure that the reader knows where you went to college (even though your education is listed on the bottom of the resume), you can do so by including the school’s logo next to your degree information. The same goes with prominent organizations or nonprofits that you have been a member of or certifications that you have received. By including a logo, you are ensuring that key information will be noticed and retained without requiring too much time away from the important content.
While we now know how important it is to utilize graphics and visually appealing resume formats, we also know that it is important to not overdo the design elements on the resume. Including all of these graphic elements on one page may be too much, so use them strategically and only when appropriate. Make sure you have enough white space on your document that the content is still easy to read and the visuals aren’t overwhelming. The graphics are meant to help the reader retain information more quickly without being a distraction. All of these design elements can help you to stand out from the stack of word documents with plain text and will be sure to align yourself with companies that need your unique story, skills, and achievements.
As we enter the new year, goals are on our mind. Some goals will stick and others will be given up on early into the year. So the question is: what makes a goal successful? When it comes to career-related goals, we seem to start off strong and then as the year progresses, we start to settle back into our routine and we find ourselves in that job we’ve been trying to escape for another year until we try it all over again.
Since career-related goals are some of the most impactful to your life, let’s talk about how to make a goal achievable. If you’re like the majority of people, you have probably set goals for the coming year. But are they the right goals? Have you evaluated whether they will actually get you to where you want to go?
First, a goal should be specific. A broad aspiration such as a “new career” leaves too much room for interpretation. What career specifically? What job title? In what industry? Would you like to become a manager or would you like to be an external consultant? Giving yourself a specific goal allows you to narrow your focus and spend your time only on those activities that you move you closer to your goal.
Second, a goal should be measurable. Saying you want “more money,” while, technically, can be measured against your current salary, still isn’t specific enough. I’m guessing that you probably have a figure in mind. Saying “more money” could mean a 1% increase in salary but if you’re actually aiming for a 10% increase, obtaining a 1% salary increase will not meet your goal. With an exact number in mind, you can make sure you are only applying to positions that will meet your expectations.
Next, your goals should be achievable. You wouldn’t want to feel defeated before you even start working towards your goal. If you know the job you are looking to obtain requires a certification that you do not have, your first step should be to obtain that certification, then go after the new position. Making your goals achievable will keep the momentum swinging in the right direction.
Similarly, your goal should be relevant. Aligning your current goals with your long-term vision is important. Make sure each action step and each goal is relevant to your future aspirations.
Lastly, your goal should be time-targeted. Giving yourself a realistic deadline will ensure that you are taking the actions necessary to meet your timeframe.
Once you have composed your SMART goals, it is time to break them down into action items. These action items should also follow the SMART guidelines. Let’s take a look at an example.
Since your SMART action items are measurable, you will be able to track your progress and gain more momentum as time goes on. You will know right away if you are falling behind on your goals and be able to make the appropriate corrections to get back on track right away.
Try this method out for your job search in 2019 and let us know how it goes! We would love to hear your SMART goals and are available to help you achieve your career aspirations when it’s time to take action!
So, you’ve blasted out your resume to dozens of jobs on the mega job boards, but you haven’t landed a single response! Your bills are piling up and your dissatisfaction with your current job has you wanting to bang your head on your desk. You are tired and frustrated that your job search is going nowhere fast. What on earth is the problem?
Only 20% of applicants land an interview. Here at Elevated Resumes, we want to be sure you make the cut!
Our powerhouse writers know to not just write about responsibilities, but to focus more on your quantifiable achievements. We love to highlight your home runs in revenue growth, cost savings, operational efficiencies, client satisfaction, and other value-added contributions.
The truth is, hiring managers are looking for superstars who have a strong record of catalyzing territory growth, market expansion, and record-breaking revenues.
So, let’s explore the process of how to find your competitive edge:
Or not yet? How about this: here are some examples of competitive edge statements:
Why should you care about all of this? Take it from us, as career campaign specialists, you’ve got to do this. Your competitive edge is your secret weapon and vital to job search success!
Your competitive edge also proves vital to getting your resume noticed by hiring managers out of thousands of other applicants. One resume client jokingly said, “I want my resume to jump up off the hiring manager’s desk and slap him on the face!!” Hell yes! And in doing so, you want to give them the motivation to sit down and actually read your resume.
Where else does your competitive edge prove vital? Job interviews, of course!!
Your competitive edge gives you the perfect response to when a hiring manager pushes her glasses down on her nose, gives you a penetrating stare, and asks, “Why should we hire you?”
The best possible answer in this scenario is to tell them all about your unique value, and don’t be afraid to toot your own horn!
As an innovative resume writing and design company, we encourage you to visit our Get Started page to discover how we can catapult you into great success with your job search!
For many of our clients, including c-level executives, finding and articulating their competitive edge is a huge challenge, especially when you career background has been very diverse. If you need strategic counseling on the task, we highly recommend scheduling career coaching sessions with one of our in-house career coaches.
In 2015, 95% of recruiters used LinkedIn to actively search for candidates, not just post jobs[ii]. LinkedIn has gone from a resource a professional should be using, to a requirement. Simply put, whether you are looking for a job or not, get your LinkedIn game on!
Hopefully we have sold you on the importance of LinkedIn, so let’s focus on another important platform. Twitter. 15 jobs are posted on Twitter every minute[i]. We’ll let you do the math.
Twitter can be intimidating if you’ve never used it before. I’ve been asked – “How can following my neighbors on Twitter to see what they do all day help in a job search?” Well, it can’t. But following companies that you may want to work for can. Twitter also allows you to engage with companies that you are interested in and keep abreast of their latest news and innovations.
Everyone has been given the advice to do research on a company to catch their attention in a cover letter or to bring up specifics in an interview. While many people take to a company’s website to read the “About” page, the better approach is to go to their Twitter feed. You will get the latest information about the company, what they are talking about and who they are engaging with. Having this social connection going into an interview not only provides topics of conversation but can also give you a boost of confidence and reassurance.
Twitter is a great place to gather information and make important connections, however, if you do not have a LinkedIn presence, you may never get the interview in the first place. LinkedIn can be frustrating when trying to figure out an effective strategy for taking an active approach to your job search and connect with the right people.
Don’t worry, the team at Elevated Resumes has your back. We can help setup your LinkedIn profile and develop content that will attract the right audience. We can also help you define a strategy to pursue an active job search and navigate through the organized chaos.
Happy tweeting, posting, connecting and job searching!
For many job seekers, cover letters can be the most difficult aspect of a job application. How can one write a professional cover letter that highlights skills while also showcasing the individual’s personality and creativity? The cover letter is the one document that can make the most creative and talented professional seem uninspired.
Don’t let your creativity get lost in the content of a dull cover letter. Ensure that your cover letter stands out with a unique voice and design that shows off your personality and also matches the feel of your resume. The goal is to make the recruiter intrigued to learn more about your work through your writing style and design.
Here are a few quick tips to spicing up your cover letter content and ensuring the reader’s attention is captured the whole way through:
1. Start with a clever attention grabbing opening line.
You can describe your passion, your love of the company or a skill that could set you apart from the rest of the candidates. For example, an event planning professional could start with saying “I have always been known for being the “hostess with the mostest,” so I decided to take my natural skill for throwing an over the top party and make it a career. Now, with over 5 years of experience planning corporate functions, I’m ready to take my career to the next level and would love to do so as the Lead Event Manager with [Company Name].”
2. Keep their attention with quantifiable achievements.
The reader now knows about your passion, so now it is time to tell them how you have successfully put that passion to good use. For example, the event planner could highlight that they planned a weekend long retreat with over 2,500 guests in attendance. Numbers grab the reader’s eye. The more a candidate can quantify, the better!
3. End with a closing remark that shows knowledge of the company and how you can help meet their goals.
Now that they know you, it is time to show that you know what they are looking for and that you can make it happen. To keep with the event planning example, the candidate could close with a remark such as “I know that you are looking to manage and create the most memorable, creative and unique events in the industry and I am prepared to take this goal and make it a reality.”
Keep in mind that the purpose of a complete job application is to make it as simple as possible for a recruiter to realize that the candidate is qualified and will be an asset to the company. A cover letter should provide concrete evidence that you have the experience to meet the qualifications laid out in the job description, which is why it is important to individualize each cover letter instead of using a “one size fits all” approach.
The professional cover letter writers and designers at Elevated Resumes can assist in creating amazing designs and compelling content that can be utilized for the industry that you are interested in but can also be easily updated for each position. They will also provide guidance on how to identify the key skills to pull out of each job description and how to incorporate those into the template provided. This will allow you to gain a whole new skill set when applying to jobs and will ultimately make you stand out as a qualified and prepared candidate.
Submitting one complete, cohesively designed package will show that you are committed to taking the next step in your career while also showing off your individual style!
The only rule of resume writing – there are no rules!
It wasn’t too long ago that the rules for writing resumes were extensive and strict. 12 point, times new roman font with 1.5-inch margins was a job seeker’s only choice. Recruiters would get flooded with resumes that looked exactly the same – the only difference being the name and the content itself. With all of the repetitiveness, it was nearly impossible to stand out. It almost came down to luck of the draw to see if your resume was read or not.
Luckily, times have changed but surprisingly enough, many job seekers have not. I have seen job seekers sticking to these outdated rules that no longer put them on the same level as the other candidates, but actually put them at a disadvantage. Recruiters have no desire to sift through hundreds of resumes that all look identical – and they don’t have to!
With online applications and word searching software, it is not good enough to be the same as everyone else. Job seekers must find ways to make themselves stand out from the crowd to get noticed. It seems impossible but it may be easier than you think…
The first thing you will need to do is ensure that your content matches the search criteria in order to get through the initial electronic key word searching software. Then, you need a layout that is visually appealing and easy to read but also makes a statement. If your resume looks different than anything the recruiter has ever seen (in a positive way), I can almost guarantee that yours will be printed and shown around the office. What could be better than making an impression like that before even getting an interview?
Even though many of the resume rules are outdated, there is one that is tried and true and generally still applies to the modern resume - that is the one page maximum rule. Unless you have been in the field for over 10 years and have very extensive experience, one page is still the standard resume length. If you have a long work history, two pages can be used to fit all of your experience on the resume. For this instance, you would want to include a professional summary to ensure that the qualifications that you wish to highlight are located on the first page and are seen by the recruiter.
The average recruiter spends 6.25 seconds reviewing a resume before deciding if the candidate is a good fit or not. This is why it is so important to try to keep a resume to one page. If a large bulk of information is on a second page, it will most likely never be seen. The best part about a service such as Elevated Resumes is that we can take a two-page, 1.5-inch margin document and turn it into a sleek and well-designed one-page resume. With the content development service, we can also ensure that the most important information is front and center to get you noticed.
Knowing that 6.25 seconds is not enough time to read a whole resume, how can you make a recruiter spend more time reviewing your experience?
Catch their attention immediately and hold onto it – the only way this can be done in such a short period of time is through a creative and visually appealing design. Including a professional picture in the header of your resume is another great way to catch the attention of the recruiter. This may make them more interested in reading about your experience since you are connecting with them right away by giving your resume a personal feel. This also creates a consistent brand image with your other professional profiles such as LinkedIn, an online portfolio, social media, etc.
Submitting resumes can be exhausting – make it a little more fun by getting creative and designing a resume that reflects your personality along with your qualifications. Recruiters will also thank you for giving them a bit of relief after looking at black and white cookie-cutter resumes all day.
If you want to learn more about Elevated Resumes and how we can create a unique design that reflects your experience and career goals, please visit our website at ElevatedResumes.com or email Allison@elevatedresumes.com.