Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

19 Ways to Make Your Resume Stand Out

True or false: if you’re applying for a law job, you should always state your objective prominently on your resume.

False. The fact that you’re applying makes your objective clear. And besides, your objectives are less important than your prospective employer’s.

How about this one: it’s a good idea to include interesting hobbies – such as the fact that you’re a Sudoku champion – to show how unique and multi-faceted you are.

False. Nobody cares. If it’s not relevant to the job, it’s a waste of resume space and a waste of the employer’s time.

Those are some resume do’s and don’ts as recommended by this article in Business Insider.

19 Ways to Make Your Resume Stand Out

Here are some other pointers, courtesy of Business Insider and writers Rachel Gillett and Allana Akhtar.

  1. Don’t lie. This may seem obvious. And yet, this survey by CareerBuilder survey of 2,000 hiring managers found rampant lying, including applicants who falsely claimed to have won Nobel Prizes and graduated from colleges that don’t exist.
  2. Don’t put double spaces after a period. This is a dead giveaway of your age.
  3. Don’t be too wordy. If you have to use quarter-inch inch margins and 8-point font sizes to squeeze everything onto one page, start editing now.
  4. Keep your references separate. You’re wasting ink by putting “references available upon request.” If the employer wants references, they’ll ask for them. Oh, and be sure to tell your references ahead of time that your future employer may be calling.
  5. Use consistent formatting. Don’t veer between fonts, spacing and format styles. If you use day-month-year in one place, use it throughout.
  6. Go easy on the word I. It’s understood that everything in your resume is about you, says Resume Writers Ink.
  7. Use a professional email address. and don’t cut it.
  8. Avoid elaborate headers and footers. The same goes for images, graphs and pie charts – unless they are relevant to the job being sought.
  9. Omit obscure jargon. It will more likely confuse employers rather than impress them.
  10. Leave out social media handles unrelated to the job. Links to your opinion blog, Pinterest page or Instagram account should be excluded, says Resume Writers Ink. But your LinkedIn page and other URLs that are professional and relevant should be included.
  11. You don’t need more than 15 years of experience. If you include jobs dating back to before 2000, the employer’s eyes will glaze over. Besides, they’re interested in who you are now, not what you did in 1995. Exception: if the past position was especially notable or has special significance.
  12. Leave out salary and pay information. What you earned as a lifeguard last summer is unimportant. Also: don’t state your desired salary for the position being applied for, says TalentZoo. Money talk can come in the interview or later.
  13. Don’t use fonts that are outdated or too fancy. They will distract from your message.
  14. Avoid buzzwords. Phrases like “best of breed,” “think outside the box,” “synergy” and “go-getter” are annoying to employers, according to this CareerBuilder survey of 2,200 hiring managers. On the other hand, employers like words like “achieved,” “managed,” “launched” and “resolved.”
  15. Don’t explain why you left your last position. This can be covered in the interview, if necessary.
  16. Leave off your GPA. Although if you’re a recent graduate and your GPA is impressive, it’s fine to put it in.
  17. No need to include a glamour shot. Adding a photo of yourself to your resume is “weird, tacky and distracting,” says Business Insider.
  18. Stick to facts, not subjective opinions. Don’t try to sell yourself as “an excellent communicator” or “highly organized or motivated.” The facts will speak for themselves. The interview is the proper place to show your awesomeness.
  19. Leave out boring stuff. No need to recite mundane things you did in prior positions. On the other hands, it’s great to say: “I was a key member of the litigation team involved in X case that got Y results. Some of my specific responsibilities were A, B and C.”


About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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