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Career and job search help for creative professionals.

Career and job search help for creative professionals.

Blue Sky Resumes is a small team of professional writers and job search experts. We offer one-of-a-kind resumes, smart career advice and fantastic customer service. This is our blog.


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7 Ways to Spice Up Your Resume


With unemployment rising, increasing numbers of applicants for each job, and recruiters struggling to keep up, it can sometimes feel as though you’re sending your resume into a black hole. You send hundreds of applications and never hear back – and what makes it worse is that you know you are qualified for the jobs.

But here’s the thing … if your resume is like most of the resumes I see, it’s not doing you any favors. Here are 10 ways you can improve your resume and increase your hit rate:

1. Make it about action and impact: Don’t take up more than 10-15% of your resume describing job responsibilities – as an employer, I don’t care what you were supposed to do, I care what impact you made. Show me!

2. Spice it up with references: When you buy a product – especially online, don’t you like to see testimonials or customer reviews? You can apply the same principle to your resume. Pull a couple of glowing quotes from LinkedIn, your performance reviews or customer ‘thank you’ letters and put them in a prominent place on your resume.

3. Understand your unique value: Ask people who know you and those who have worked with you, what makes you especially good at what you do. Look back over your career for common themes. And most importantly, understand what your target audience (employers) are looking for.

4. Invite them to go online: If you know you have established a good online presence (and if you haven’t, you need to get to work now!) add the line ‘Feel free to google me for more information.’ This conveys confidence and at least some of your potential employers will take you up on it.

5. Replace the objective with a value summary: Don’t tell me what you want out of your next job, tell me what you’ll do for me. Start with the headline ‘How I will add value…”

6. Consider a “philosophy” section: Tell employers how you approach your work. For example, a sales person might say “I never do the ‘hard sell’ – instead I build relationships, I understand the customer’s needs, and I use that knowledge and the trust I’ve built, to turn prospects into long-term clients.” An admin assistant might say “I am so organized that I’ll know what you need before you ask me!”

7. Add some personality: Use words that sound like you, not words you read on someone else’s resume. Everyone is ‘results-oriented’ and ‘accomplished’ according to their resumes, but do they ever really describe themselves that way?

These are just 7 ways that you can bring some life to your resume, and create a document that grabs attention instead of blending in with all the others. For more tips, feel free to sign up for my free resume writing course.

And if you have other ways to spice up a resume, please take a moment to share them in the comments. I’d love to hear them!

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Blue Sky Resumes

About the Author

Louise Fletcher

Louise co-founded Blue Sky in 2002 after a career as an HR executive. Her industry experience includes music, video games, fashion and advertising. She lived and worked in the US for many years, but moved back to her native UK in 2012, where she now lives in the Yorkshire countryside. In addition to her full-time role with Blue Sky, she's a professional artist, so you can imagine why she couldn't answer the 'what do you do with your free time' question! Contact Louise by email.

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6 comments on “7 Ways to Spice Up Your Resume”

  1. Hey Louise,
    I think you offer some wonderful points for job seekers. As someone who works specifically with college students, our goal is to help students “stand out” amongst the crowd. Your tips are a great way for students to differentiate themselves from their colleagues. This article is definitely going on our Twitter account!

    Vance Aloupis
    Program Director, Beyond Graduation

  2. Bob McIntosh says:

    Hi Louise.

    At the career center, we talk stress many of your suggestions, save for #s 4 and 6, which I think are great. I have about them are. To invite them on line, should you list your LinkedIn profile address toward the end or under your e-mail address? Second, I still have an issue with using “I” in a resume. Has that become accepted? I see the value in a Personal Philosophy section, particularly because recruiters seem to be getting away from reading cover letters.

    I’m a big fan of listing quotes on the resume, whether in a sidebar or above the Summary Statement. Glad you concur. I’ll link this article to my LinkedIn group, if that’s cool.

    Bob

  3. Mandy says:

    Hi Louise – I’m a fellow blogger doing Darren’s 31 day challenge. I was looking at your blog and really like the follow me on Facebook widget you have. Would you share with me how you did that? I’d like to add that to my blog.

    Mandy

  4. Louise says:

    Hey Mandy,
    The Facebook thing isn’t a widget – my designer created it for me and then linked it to Facebook. Sorry!

  5. Colin says:

    Dear Ms. Fletcher,

    I discovered your blog on the Career Hub blogroll, and I am very grateful that I did. I appreciate your excellent work. I really appreciate this blog because I have been trying to figure out how to “jazz up” my resume. I am trying to change careers and lack many of the key skills that employers would be looking for. I can’t afford the luxury of a cookie cutter resume because I need it to stand apart from the others, and highlight skills I do have that would be useful. Thanks for your blog.

    I also very much apprciate the postings on having an effective online presence. I have already tagged these three postings and look forward to reading more of this blog.

    Thanks again for the excellent work.

    Sincerely,
    Colin

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