Spending the time to make your resume unique can make you stand out to employers.
The convenience of resume templates might be seductive, but be careful. It could be the very reason you are eliminated as a candidate.
When you think about Nike or Payless ShoeSource, chances are you have different perceptions related to price, quality or functionality. This occurs because each of these companies has built a unique brand. You also have a brand, whether you are aware of it or not, and it is immediately on display in your resume.
If you use the resume templates that are often available through Microsoft Word or Apple Pages, your resume and personal brand will not captivate your readers because it is not unique. Recruiters review hundreds of resumes every day, and all of these applicants have access to the same templates that you do. Microsoft has done a good job expanding the number of templates over the years, but you still assume the risk that your competition will select the same style as you.
In addition to their overabundance, employers can often identify resume templates because they are generic. Templates are by their very nature pre-formatted and difficult to modify. If resume templates communicate anything about your brand, it is that you did not spend a lot of time preparing your application, like to take fast shortcuts and are not proficient enough in technology to design a unique document yourself. All of these assumptions could jeopardize your candidacy, especially the perception that you phoned it in. As a result of their passion and ambition, your competition is agonizing over the quality of their resume. You should be, too.
To enhance your marketability, create your own document. Preview some of the templates to get some ideas and a sense of structure. After a while, you will pick up on their use of tables, bolding, heading, lines, bullets, white space and font size. Then you can create a professional, original resume to reflect your accomplishments, creativity, initiative and mastery of technology.
When you have prepared your first draft, give it the 10-second test. Quickly scan it to confirm that your audience can immediately assess your qualifications and capture your most noteworthy accomplishments. Before you submit it, visit your campus career center and receive personal feedback on the techniques you used. This will maximize your ability to market yourself and build a unique personal brand that helps you stand out from your competition.
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