Make Your Resume Stand Out from the Crowd

Last Updated Sep 2, 2010 9:02 AM EDT

Your resume is your one shot to make a good impression. It's important to come across as sincere, professional, and qualified. But you should also strive to convince your hiring manager that you're some other things, like "not crazy" and "not more trouble than you're worth." Everyone sends little messages along with their resume, and it's not always what you think. Here are four simple but unexpected tips to help you control your resume's messaging.

Avoid hyperbole. You already know you shouldn't outright lie on your resume, but likewise, dial back the exaggerated passion. Resumes that claim you're an obsessive working machine or the most dedicated or brilliant candidate around reads, frankly, pretty silly. Hiring managers roll their eyes and toss these sorts of resumes in the trash.

Customize your resume. Be sure to get the details right -- when you apply for a position, refer to details about what the company actually does. Be specific. If your submission is generic and looks like all the other cover letters and resumes you've sent out this month, then you've missed an opportunity to truly engage the hiring manager and show that you care.

Put your name on it. You'd be surprised at the number of resumes that come without name or contact information. Remember -- if your resume gets separated from the cover letter, it needs to stand alone.

Number the pages. If you provide supplementary material like writing samples, project proposals, or a copy of your master's thesis, be sure to add page numbers. You're just one browse away from reviewers scrambling the pages and your attachment going into the trash as a Puzzle Not Worth The Effort To Solve.

Looking for more help polishing up your resume? Here are some resources to get it shipshape and professional:
And if you do get the phone call, here is some advice for the actual interview:
Photo courtesy Flickr user SOCIALisBETTER

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