Resumes, Cover Letters, and How to Stand Out in 2012

When I graduated college, and upon realizing law school was a no-go, I had to start brushing up my resume and cover letter templates. My resume was decent – some people liked it and some people didn’t. It was quite traditional and in hindsight, did not show my personality enough. My cover letter format was not in good shape and it probably wasn’t until 6 months later, that I was truly proud of my cover letter template.

I tend to think that resumes and cover letters are subjective according to personal tastes and company preferences. Additionally, depending on your industry or field, there might be a certain expectation of what your resume should look like and/or consist of. Cover letters tend to be even trickier and deciding what to include, emphasize and cut out is not easy.

Does your industry or field or position determine your resume or cover letter?

While universally brilliant cover letters and resumes tend to be few and far between, there are still ways that one can stand out from the proverbial pile on the hiring manager’s desk. It’s 2012 after all, and while the following tips are from a girl who works in digital marketing (which tends to expect some creativity), I hope everyone especially new grads and all other job seekers can get some fresh ideas from the following –

3 Resume and Cover Letter Tips to Help You Stand Out in Your Job Search

1. Make Your Resume Interactive. It is likely that your resume and cover letter is going to be first viewed digitally. Whether it’s adding a QR code or using images to link to a professional website, your resume especially, should encourage engagement. One of our guest posters earlier this year even suggested creating infographic resumes which I encourage as long as it’s not too complicated. Interactive should still promote simplicity -getting creative does not mean getting over the top and yes, your resume can be over the top.

2. Use Social Media to Your Advantage. Working in the digital space, I link my Twitter, LinkedIn and my column on this blog to my resume. Recently, I added something new – a Pinterest board. I had not been using Pinterest personally (I know, weird) but it seemed like a great way to show off my personality in a professional way. So I created a Professional Pinterest account to showcase my works, interests and hobbies. Some people may suggest staying as far away from public use of social media when it comes to job seeking and work, I say – recruiters are going to be looking for you anyway so why not take advantage of it? Be smart, be strategic and show your professional persona, the social way.

3. Utilize the company’s brand. What do I mean here? Create a cover letter or resume that reminds the person in HR of the company’s brand. For example, if you are applying for a job with Google. Why not create a cover letter that resembles the Google search engine page when you’ve searched for something? At the top, you could have your name and the search content that comes up could be the reasons why you’ll be an amazing Google employee.

When it’s all said and done, people are doing extraordinary things to get jobs these days. During my job hunt, I once sent a shoe once with the note, “I’ll walk whatever distance needed to fulfill this position. “ Maybe that was too much because I didn’t get it but hey, in the words above – “Hard times arouse an instinctive desire for authenticity.”The job market isn’t easy; everybody is trying to get connected with someone who knows someone. Resumes and cover letters are the first step in showing your potential future employer your creativity and effort.

When it comes to the job market and resumes and cover latters – how are you standing out in 2012?

Kovie Biakolo

Kovie Biakolo is a Drake University Marketing Graduate. Originally thinking she was headed to law school in Chicago or a year in Spain, Kovie found herself in the Windy City in digital writing and marketing for over a year. Currently, Kovie is in graduate school for Multicultural and Organizational Communication and started a blog, Life At Twenty Something to write about the good, the bad and the ugly of the twenty something life.

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