Your résumé must stand out before it’s even read

One of the first rules of résumé writing is this: Make it stand out. You want yours to distinguish itself among a crowded field; that starts before the reader even opens the file.

When clients email me old résumés for me to update or to use as a reference when writing their new one, they can usually find it on their computer, no problem. It’s the file called “Resume.” Makes perfect sense when yours is the only one you’re concerned with.

But when I download it, it goes into a folder with all my other downloads. And being that I’m in the résumé writing business, you’d imagine I get a lot of files from clients labeled simply “resume,” so I sometimes have to do a little searching to find the one I’m looking for.

Wouldn’t you imagine a lot of prospective employers have the same issue?

So why would you want to make their job harder before they decide whether or not to give you a call?

Worse: Why would you want them to open someone else’s résumé by accident, and run the risk that they like what they see in the other one before they’ve even found yours?

So here’s my solution. Instead of just giving your file the obvious title of “resume,” simply add your name to it (“Resume-Smith”).

That’s it. That one little technique can make your résumé easier to find in a sea of generic filenames. It will separate you from the pack. It will show attention to little details and consideration for the reader.

It will make you stand out.

The Syracuse Pen provides résumé services and other writing and editing services for students, professionals, and small businesses. Visit our home page for more information about what we can do for you.