Resume Help: 7 Ways to Personalize Your Resume

November 07, 2015 mokeefe

In today's competitive job market, making your resume stand out from the others in large applicant pools is paramount. While overly ornate and unnecessarily extensive resumes can actually be a hindrance to getting noticed and therefore getting an interview, there are several steps you can take to tailor and polish your resume in such a way that you stand out from the crowd.

Keep the following suggestions in mind for greater visibility and remember that CPS, Inc. can further help you increase your chances of employment by partnering with you in your search for ideal employment.

#1 Avoid an Objective Statement:
An objective statement, while a seemingly good idea, may actually discourage employers from taking a further look at your resume. In general, they tend to stress what you want, not what you can offer. Your statement may not seem perfectly in line with the position specifications--even if you're a viable candidate for the position--and in this way, an overly-specific statement can diminish your chances of being considered for the job. On the other end of the spectrum, objective statements, when not overly specific, tend to be generalized and obvious. For example, "To obtain a challenging position in Customer Service," does not offer a unique sense of who you are or make you stand apart from other candidates at all. Unless a job application requires a resume with an objective statement, avoid providing one.

#2 Include Continued or Experiential Education:
Your academic background is obviously an essential component to your resume, but employers often favor candidates who have continued their education beyond the classroom, especially if they have been out of school for a while. Be sure to list conferences and workshops attended, educational trips taken, classes audited, etc. This component of your resume stresses your intellectual curiosity and dynamism.

#3 List All Languages Spoken:
Even if the job for which you are applying does not require that you speak multiple languages, employers tend to give the edge to candidates who can speak second and third languages, especially in diverse, metropolitan areas. Next to each language that you list, you can cite your mastery level. For instance you may list:
Spanish, fluent
French, proficient
Italian, conversational
Make sure not to embellish this section of your resume, however; if you cannot read, write, speak, or understand a particular language with at least some ease, do not list it.

#4 Stress Project-Based and Collaborative Work:
Employers see a lot of redundancy in tasks and responsibilities listed on candidates' resumes. In addition to listing your daily responsibilities, make sure to prominently note creative projects on which you worked, new protocols or processes that you implemented, committees on which you sat, etc. These accomplishments stress creativity and innovation. Demonstrating the ability to cooperate, collaborate, and delegate within group settings is also ideal, so make sure to list any work performed with colleagues or as part of a team.

#5 Link to Your Actual Work
Provide links to your personal blog (unless completely non-applicable to the position), your clip portfolio, your social media pages associated with former positions, your multimedia projects, etc. Employers don't just want to see who you are theoretically on paper, they want to see your work demonstrated in action.

#6 Avoid Clichés
There are a wealth of common phrases that candidates use to describe themselves on resumes, and these phrases do nothing to set you apart from other applicants. Everyone applying, in theory, is "goal oriented," "driven," and "well-rounded." Instead of providing a rote list of vague adjectives, imply your assets through the concrete skills and experiences listed. Specifically, try to emphasize your dynamism, creativity, and critical thinking. No matter what the position, employers want employees who can analyze, and who can grow and change with time and circumstances.

#7 Provide Personal Interests
Including a brief overview of your hobbies and interests is a way to inject life into your resume and to create a more comprehensive portrait of who you are. This portion of your resume is one of the most captivating, especially when at least a couple of interests listed are related to the particular job or the field overall. For instance, a science teacher may cite studying sustainable food systems as an interest. This is a good way to subtly communicate that your personal and professional interests intersect, which makes you seem like a more motivated and desirable candidate.

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