Job searches can deteriorate from life-affirming to soul-destroying in fairly short order - and they often skip that first phase. End them fast and for the right opportunity.

How? Some effort, a bit of luck, and a kick-ass resume aren't bad places to start.

Here's our how-to guide to making your resume stand out:


1. Consistency is king

By now, everyone knows that tailoring your resume to the job to which you're applying is a must. But you'd be surprised by how few people follow-through and update their LinkedIn profile, too. Recruiters and hiring managers almost universally Google their candidates - and if your LinkedIn tells a different story from your newly polished resume, you'll find yourself out of luck.

The solution? Consistency. If you highlight particular skills, qualifications, and roles on your resume, make sure those are front and center on your LinkedIn profile, too. This means making sure the language is consistent, the roles are uniform, and the skills and qualifications match up. So if your last role is listed as "Director of Sales" on your resume but "Director of Relationships" online - edit for consistency.

This sounds small, but that chances are you're dealing with someone who has a lot of candidates to vet - don't get disqualified because they don't have time to connect the dots; do it for them.


2. Refine it

For many roles, particularly as you move up the career ladder, having too much on your resume can be a negative. Think of email: you'll skim a brief, bullet-pointed email without hesitation, but if someone sends you a chunky, 4-paragraph email full of long sentences, you'll likely pause, sigh, and take a breath - you have a little work ahead of you. Don't make your recruiter or hiring manager sigh or hesitate - make it easy for them.

This doesn't necessarily mean editing out experience. It means paring down on detail and retaining only the parts of your experience relevant to the job you want. Save the background for the interview - if it comes up.

Bonus tip: emphasize achievements, not responsibilities. In the working world, everyone has responsibilities - it's achievements that make you truly stand out.


3. Presentation, presentation, presentation

Gone are the days when a standard Word-doc resume template would suffice. People are getting more and more creative with their resume submissions. This candidate sent hers in cake form

If your next role is in a creative profession, the sky is the limit. Cakes, videos, balloons - pretty much anything goes, provided it showcases your talent and impresses your target. 

If you're applying for jobs in more-traditional fields, don't feel constrained to the old black-and-white Word doc listing out your roles. Enhancv grabbed attention by presenting Marissa Mayer's CV in a new and appealing way, and the resume in our header image, above, was knocked up in a plain old doc in fairly short order. The goal: make people want to read about your experience.


4. Check it, check it, and check it again

You can have the right experience, stellar qualifications, and a beautiful-looking resume, but still get rejected on the strength of a single typo.

Check your resume for errors at every stage. Better yet, have a friend look it over with "fresh eyes"; if you've been looking at anything for too long the details tend to disappear. If you're checking it yourself, reading it from bottom-to-top can make spotting errors easier - trust us.


Best of luck. And don't be a stranger - if you want a further assist, reach out to us at Pencil or Ink for back-to-work coaching and bespoke resume advice. We're here to help.