Now back to the standing out in the crowd part. I have a story that I hope drives home my point. This was before resumes were predominately on-line. I had posted a position for a Finance Analyst at a time when there were not a lot of finance jobs available but a lot of finance people out of work who needed a job. Easy fill, right? I must have received at least one hundred resumes! I had opened all the envelopes and neatly put them one at a time face down on my desk so those that I got first I would look at first as I felt that was only fair. After about a week I had a stack that was pretty substantial. What is important to note is that resumes were usually done on white or beige paper … at least that is what all the “gurus” said to do.
So I sat down at my desk and stared at the pile... a sea of white and beige. I thought before I tackled this I would have some coffee but out of the corner of my eye something caught my interest. Looking at the stack of resumes I saw a hint of blue near the middle of the pile. Now my interest was piqued! I pulled out the resume and sure enough it was on light blue paper plus the individual had the qualifications we wanted. Just so you know I was fair I did go through most of the stack and there were three qualified candidates of which the “blue resume” was one and that individual actually did get the job. If that person had not put their resume on blue paper there is a good chance I may have found a number of candidates that were qualified and never have gotten down that far.
Fast forward to present day where resumes are posted on-line. Doesn’t mean you cannot stand out just as much as that resume on blue paper. There are so many theories from so many “professionals” on how to do a resume. But the ones that have recruited and hired know the best. I have done that for 20 plus years and I will tell you that you need to highlight certain areas of your resume so the eye can go to it quickly. It needs to be consistent. Not bullet points under one job and dashes under another. It also needs to be neat and to the point.
One last word, there is a lot of controversy about cover letters. If you are going to post them on-line do it before your resume. If it is after your resume we may never see it. Also either highlight or bullet point your achievements. This is my opinion but after years of reading cover letters and resumes if there is nothing to draw the eye to it then it will probably be skimmed over.
Please feel free to leave your comments. I would really like to hear them!