“A Profile Picture On Your Resume!?” Having Your Resume Stand out Without Really ‘Standing Out!’

If you asked me this question ten years ago if I ever would have expected to see resumes with profile pictures on them, I would answer a quick ‘no.’ However, what about now in 2012? With the unemployment rate being so high and the competition for jobs so much more severe, would including a profile picture give you that extra edge on the competition? Sadly my answer is still ‘no, please don’t do this!’

In some special cases you may find it necessary to include a profile photo of yourself. Possibly for a modeling position or acting, but for the regular ‘Joe,’ you really don’t want to go that far.

So what can you do to make yourself shine in front of a hiring manager? The steps unfortunately are obvious and simple but many rarely take the time or the effort.

  1. Consider their needs
  2. Write a thoughtful Cover Letter
  3. Compose a well-written Resume

Firstly, you will want to consider what the hiring managers needs are for the position. What role are they trying to fulfill and do you have the necessary qualifications to fill that role? If you don’t you have two choices, either not apply or apply and highlight in your cover letter that you do not have the exact skills but you can provide X. With how many candidates are applying for positions these days, do not be surprised if you are overlooked purely because there are more qualified candidates.

When writing your Cover Letter, consider what skillsets are required for the position. I like to ask myself- “If I were hiring for this position, what do I want/need?” If the position is working closely within a team you will want a team player, or if it is working with clients you will want someone who is always positive. If you have these skills you should mention them. You want to make the decision easy for the hiring manager when they see your cover letter and resume – you want them to not hesitate when putting your application in the ‘potential’ pile.

Not only is your cover letter important for highlighting skills, your resume is also key in getting you noticed. You will want to have a professional, well-written resume to show off your skills and accomplishments. Surprisingly, this is often skipped by job searchers as they believe that their accomplishments and skills will speak for themselves. Unfortunately, if you have an ill-written, illogical resume, the lack of care will be noticed first and you will be putting yourself at a disadvantage.

Not only should your resume be well-written, you also want it to fit the position you are applying for. Tailoring your resume to the position is not only a great way to be noticed by hiring managers, it is now expected because your competition is doing just that! You want to show that you have the skills the position is requesting and in some cases you may find it best to spell this out. If you have over 15 years’ experience in management spread over a variety of positions, you will want to show this in your ‘core competencies’ (also called, Skills Summary) section so the hiring manager does not need to go digging and adding up the number of years!

Taking some extra care when applying for a position is extremely important for you to be noticed and although standing out from the other resumes is important, you do not want to be standing out for the wrong reasons. At the end of the day, consider the below phrase and know that it also applies to job searching:

Quality over Quantity