Get Your Resume Noticed: Three Sizzling Secrets [Video]

Get Your Resume Noticed There's an old Taoist saying -- "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." For job seekers caught up in the web of massive unemployment, that first step is a resume.

When you send out your resume, you can expect some stiff competition. Here's a sobering statistic from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics: Of the 13.7 million unemployed persons, almost half have been jobless for 27 weeks or more.

This makes having a perfect resume your "ace in the hole." It's what will get the recruiter's attention and keep you from landing in the "reject" bin. "For every open position I have, I get at least 300 applications. And I can whittle them down to about 20, just based on customization," says Human Resources Specialist Karen Holt.

Customization is key; let everyone else use a generic format. Take the example of an AOL Jobs commenter, F. Murphy: when applying for a job in advertising, he enlarged his resume, pasted copies onto foam core boards, cut them into pieces like a jigsaw, and mailed the pieces to the recruiters with a note that said, "The only puzzling thing about some resumes is how to put them together." He got a mountain of phone calls and job offers.

This creative approach worked well for the advertising field, but you probably shouldn't try it if you're applying for an accounting job. Regardless of what field you're looking in, there's a lesson here for all who are unemployed. In fact, there are three little-known secrets everyone should know when preparing a resume that will say, "Look at me!"

1. Use keywords

Pore over wording of the job opening and find the specific keywords that the recruiter uses. These keyword could be industry jargon, a specific software package that's used in your field, or simply words that are used to describe the type of work to be done (i.e. sales, administrative, customer service). Once you've figured out what the relevant keywords are, use those words frequently in your cover letter as well as the resume. As long as you don't overdo it, this will accomplish two things:

A. If the recruiter is using software to search through the resumes, your keywords will increase the likelihood that your resume gets seen at all.

B. The keywords will be noticed by hiring managers reading it, making your resume jump out at them as relevant, worthy of a second look.

If you are using "snail mail" to send your resume, make sure you use sturdy stock. A colored or textured paper is sure to get noticed among the mountain of submissions printed on basic white copy paper. You might not want to follow the suggestion of another AOL Jobs commenter, Leon, who suggested using "orange paper." Unless perhaps if the job is in a creative or artistic field.

2. Use advertising and marketing strategies

One thing this recent spell of unemployment has taught some people is how to get creative when looking for a job. One man held up a placard with his name, qualifications and phone number, and walked back and forth in front of the company he wanted to work for. He not only got an interview at that company, he also received inquiries from passing motorists.

Approach the job like a car salesman trying to put you in a new car or a politician who has to undergo exhaustive campaigning to get elected. Do an online search on the company, then jot down a list of ideas for how to get an interview.

3. Write great copy

Apart from checking your spelling and accuracy -- which everyone looking for a job knows to do -- spend time working with the text and wording. Take this example of another candidate who put his resume into a coffee cup, with a cover letter saying, "Let's meet for coffee," and mailed all three directly to the person hiring him. Crazy as it might seem, he got the call.

Great copy will spark curiosity and draw attention. It will give the employer the chance to see firsthand what you can do for them. Read what you write out loud; it will give you a different perspective and force you to consider the impact your words have. If you are changing careers, draw the recruiter's attention to your transitional skills that show how your past experiences will help you excel in your new role. For example, if you are looking for a landscaping design job after being a teacher, play up your abilities to persuade people, handle a heavy workload, and deal with different personalities.

To really get maximum impact, consider using different fonts to highlight your keywords. The idea is to draw attention to them without making your resume look unsightly. Remember, you want to stand out from the crowd. Customize your resume, view your job search as a marketing campaign, and you could be on your way to getting the job you want.

Next: Check Resume Examples to Get Your Resume Noticed

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Out of millions of resumes these tricks might have worked for a very few. More realistically, employers weed through the obnoxious and "artsy" resumes and get to the professional ones. The elaborate end up in slush piles if they are lucky enough to escape the garbage bin. If you are serious about getting a job, professional appearance is always your best bet! Employers may see this wonderful creativity as a potential employee DEFECT in the future!

March 07 2011 at 11:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Spellcheck much? useing ???

March 07 2011 at 10:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Pretty pathetic article. All these tactics (which seemed quite absurd to me) might work in the creative arts but certainly not in more conservative areas like the legal and financial markets.

March 07 2011 at 6:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to vini's comment

Actually the textured/colored paper and different fonts to highlight key words are very much accepted in the conservative business market. We aren't talking about highlighter pink resumes here. We are talking about slightly textured, beige or gray resumes and cover letters. I do think mailing the coffee cup is a little strange unless I was looking for someone to employ in a job that required persuading people like sales or marketing.

March 08 2011 at 1:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Write it on toilet paper.....

March 07 2011 at 5:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Malcolm Robertson

It has been experience, that resumes by them selves are not very effective. It is much better to specifically target a company that you would most like to work for, and then do research to find out every thing you can, about the company and who is the right person to contact for the position you are looking for. Then you can write a letter to that person, pointing out what you feel you can do to improve the performance of that position, and the overall performance of the company as a whole.

After that, you can attach the best resume you can draft, pointing out all your best qualifications, and all your prior achievments that you are proud of.The key to all of this, is the personal touch of writing specifically to the person in charge of hiring in your field of experience.

March 07 2011 at 5:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I find it disconcerting that the writer did not proofread her own article yet tells job applicants how important this is to do - even suggsting we read it to ourselves out loud.

March 07 2011 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Vinsmom99's comment

You spelled suggesting wrong. You should have read it to yourself before pressing the add comment button.

March 07 2011 at 9:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I find it very disheartening that someone has to resort to gimmicks in order to be employed.

March 07 2011 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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