The resume: a purely factual document, right? A dull, straight to the point reflection of your career?
But, judging by the number of job seekers who send out dead dull resumes and wonder why they’re getting nowhere in their job search, it seems true.
Don’t let that be you! The truth is each time you send out your resume you’re competing with 139 applicants. If you want to stand out from the crowd, it’s absolutely vital that you inject some personality into your resume.
Here are five easy ways put real personality into your resume:
1) Engage in Your Intro
In my book 7 Keys to a Winning CV: How to create a CV that gets results,I write about the importance of engaging your potential employer straightaway, and this begins in the intro – right after your name and contact details.
The intro of your resume is the section usually referred to as ‘Personal Statement’ or ‘Personal Profile’. In this section, instead of writing generic clichés like, “I am a great team player with great interpersonal skills” – something virtually every job seeker seems to claim on their resume – be specific by mentioning a few key elements of your own personality and strengths, the ones that are most relevant to the industry you wish to work in.
So if your strengths are that you’re “focused, entrepreneurial and resourceful”, go ahead and put this in your intro because the likelihood of those same combinations of words appearing on any other resume in the pile is very slim so you can shine all by yourself.
2) Include Your Special Skills
In the skills section of your resume (you do have a skills section, right?), in addition to highlighting the general soft skills required for most roles – such as communication skills – also include any special skills you have that can be useful in a professional environment.
This could be something as simple as the ability to touch type at a high speed, or more complex skills like being able to speak multiple languages or the ability to use certain technical hardware or equipment.
These skills not only give you more selling power as a candidate, they also reveal more about your personality, which is a good thing.
3) Insert a ‘Key Achievements’ Section
Most of us go through life blissfully unaware of just how great we are because, in Western society especially, we’re programmed to not “blow our trumpets”. Well, when it comes to your resume, there’s no better time to dust off that trumpet because if you want to be heard in the noise of all the competition, you need to showcase your strengths and personality in a very direct manner!
A key achievements section is where you talk about anything you’ve achieved in your life that is above the ordinary. This could be professional achievements such as being the top sales person in your team in a previous role, winning a best customer service award, or being promoted to a higher position.
It could also be relevant personal achievements such as any awards you’ve won or accolades received; perhaps a successful side business you may have started, or a key position you’ve held outside of the work environment. All these things give an additional insight into your personality and help you to stand out above the other dead and dull candidates.
4) Share Your Interests and Activities
This is probably the most important section of your resume when it comes to injecting personality, but yet most job seekers either miss this out completely or write a one-sentence summary that would have been better off not included at all!
What you do outside of your work hours is a great indication of who you are as a person, therefore more and more employers are now recognising the importance of this section of your resume and using it to form an overall holistic view of you as a candidate.
There are a few things to consider when writing this section – I’ve covered this previously on my blog which you can read here: “The Upside Down CV – How your interests and activities could land you your next job”.
5) Design and Layout
Although I’ve left this section to last, it is by no means the least important of the five. In fact, the way your resume looks can say a lot about you – your choice of fonts, use of formatting, decision to add colour (or not), and your overall presentation all lend themselves to projecting your personality, so it’s vital that you pay as much attention to design and layout as you do to the content of your resume.
Recruiters will get perhaps hundreds of applications from people that can do the job. Stand out from the crowd by incorporating these tips, and your personality, into the next version of your resume!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at The Employability Hub!
About the Author: Mildred Talabi is the founder of CV Makeover Expert.com and the author of 7 Keys to a Winning CV: How to create a CV that gets results. Mildred trained as a journalist and worked for various publications, including The Guardian newspaper, before “accidentally” embarking on a career in CV and career advice. Today she spends most of her time delivering career talks, seminars and workshops to students and graduates, and writing a weekly blog on career issues and job hunting tips and techniques which you can find on her website www.mildredtalabi.com.