3 Details to Make Your Resume Stand Out

3 Details to Make Your Resume Stand Out

The long awaited 2nd part to my 3-part series on resume formatting is finally here!

If you read my previous post on resumes, I covered some standard resume formatting tips that everyone should consider when writing their resume. Items like spacing, font, borders, etc. were all mentioned with examples of what to do, along with what not to do. You can view that article by clicking here.

Resumes are important as they are the gateway to the interview, which means they need to grab the employer’s attention.

Today, I am talking about some small touches you can add to your resume to make it pop!

1. Photo

People have mixed feelings on this. The traditional answer is a big fat NO. However, resume “rules” have been changing over the past few years, especially as we enter a highly digital age. As many recruiters will tell you, a photograph humanizes an applicant who would otherwise be limited to a paper full of skills, degrees, and work history.

Here are the reasons most people suggest not putting a photo on your resume.

1. Discrimination
Including a photo on your resume is a slippery slope for hiring managers and human resources when it comes to potential discrimination. It’s easy really, if there is not a photo on a resume, then it protects employers from any allegations of discriminations based on age, race, gender or other attributes such as weight, attractiveness, or even personal style.

2. Irrelevant
The majority HR experts find adding a photo to your resume as a bit pointless. The reason being is that most likely an employer will Google you anyways. Social media has certainly changed the hiring process and many people can be easily searchable with photos and other information at the ready.

3. Problematic
Many companies are now using resume software, such as ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) to help filter through resumes. This is very common for large corporates that receive hundreds of resumes every day. These software systems scan resumes for information the employer finds pertinent. Having a photo on your resume may confuse the systems or reject your resume.

Okay, now onto some reasons why you may want to include a photo…

I have had someone tell me, who has worked in recruiting for many years, that if you are attractive you should put your photo on your resume. Now, this is a bit of a sticky situation because it is implying already that discrimination against non-attractive people exists. Unfortunately, we do live in a world that is dominated by looks. The thought process here is basically, if you’ve got it– flaunt it.

In addition, photos on resumes have been popping up like crazy! A quick resume search on Etsy yields 50% of their resumes with photos on the first page. Many creative job seekers add photos or other graphics to their resumes to showcase design skills, personality, and more.

So, what do I use on my resume?

I have used resumes with photos and without photos. My first few resumes did not feature a photo at all. It wasn’t until early 2018 that I designed my first resume with a photo. I had seen so many on the internet, along with friends who have photos on their resumes, and I thought why not. Especially since I was working in digital marketing, specifically social media where I wanted to showcase more of my creative side and personality.

With that being said, my most current resume no longer includes a photo. To me, it isn’t worth it and if it can be harmful, why even bother. Especially since I already link my LinkedIn profile which includes a professional photo of myself that I feel speaks to my personality.

2. Color

Adding a bit of color to your resume can definitely help readers draw the eye to certain areas, while also allowing some personality shine through. Color should be used strategically. You want to make sure that you are remaining professional and not distracting your resume reader.

I like to use neutrals as a way to highlight certain areas. Maybe having color in boxes, as a border, or for shading certain areas, like a header, etc.

Some more creative professions go above and beyond with color– I am not as familiar with what is deemed acceptable in those highly creative fields, which is why I do recommend only using it as a way to subtly enhance your resume, making sure you are sticking to more muted/neutral colors.

Here are some examples of different areas you can use color:

So, what do I use on my resume?

I have had simple black and white resumes in the past. I also used navy at one point. Currently, I have a resume that uses black and white, with a neutral beige color worked in. To my it is still very polished in professional, yet a bit more creative.

3. Icons

You know when you see the little telephone picture in the corner of someone’s resume and next to it is their telephone number? That’s what I am referring too.

There are tons of icons you can easily insert into your resume. What this shows is that you went above and beyond, along with maybe appearing more tech savvy, creative, modern, or detail oriented.

The majority of resumes will not have icons on them, so this will make you resume stand out. In addition, it takes more work to one in, so if you see them you know the person has made an effort. I think icons are appropriate no matter what industry you are in.

So, what do I use on my resume?

I use the standard contact icons such as phone, home, LinkedIn, etc. In addition, under my skills section I use icons to denote certain software, such as Above Creative Cloud or other platforms I am well-versed in, like HubSpot for example.

Do you utilize any of these on your resume? If not, are you going to incorporate them in? Let me know in the comments below.

Cheers & stay chic!
-Taylor

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