Flamenco dancers are sexy. So are languid summer nights and first dates with a new crush. But résumés? Not so much. If you want your résumé to get you to first base with a potential employer, it has to push the all the right buttons.
You know you should tailor your résumé to the job to which you’re applying and to prospective employers’ needs and challenges. You know that your résumé should emphasize relevant accomplishments, your impact on the bottom line, and that it shouldn’t be a laundry list of tasks. You know that you should also include popular keywords to optimize your résumé for search engines and applicant tracking software.
What else can you do to make your résumé more appealing to recruiters, HR reps and hiring managers?
David Perry, the author of the book Guerilla Marketing for Job Hunters and the Guerilla Job Hunting blog, has two simple suggestions for making your résumé stand out: If you’ve worked for a company with a recognized brand, include those companies’ logos—in color—along the left-hand column of your résumé. In the absence of such logos, include quotes from performance reviews or LinkedIn recommendations.
Perry’s suggestions may seem gimmicky, but they make sense. The color logos serve as eye candy for the recruiter or HR. They make your résumé pop amidst the rest of the black and white ones in the recruiter’s slush pile.
“If you send this in the mail, which is what we recommend, your résumé is so completely different because it’s four-color that the recruiter will stop to look at it,” he says. “Once they’ve stopped, if your headline is compelling, if the bullets and accomplishments stand out and are relevant to their business [author’s emphasis], you get to have a conversation. A résumé is not designed to get you a job. A résumé is designed to make your phone ring.”
The quotes, Perry continues, “add truth and substance to what you’re saying you have accomplished.” They can substantiate your claims and provide proof of your accomplishments.
“Recruiters are skeptical of résumés because they all say ‘I am the greatest thing since’,” says Perry. “If you provide proof right up front and it’s compelling, you’ve changed that.”
One other thing you can do to make your résumé appealing to the gate keepers? Use $ signs, says Perry. Talk about revenue you generated or money you saved an employer. “Percentages and dollar amounts jump off the page.”
So try those techniques for getting your résumé noticed and let me know how you make out.