Standing Out in a Crowd: Resumes and Cover Letters


You are in the market for a new job.

You are sipping a latte at your local coffee shop or sitting in the comfort of your own home, maybe lying in bed wearing your best pyjamas.

You are scrolling through job boards, recruiting firms and company websites. In a matter of minutes and with the click of a button, you’ve submitted your resume to multiple potential employers.

In an age where technology and artificial intelligence (AI) are widely used as forms of communication to connect, network, promote businesses and keep in touch with family and friends, it is not difficult to lose touch with face to face first impressions. We have the luxury of applying for jobs behind our computer screens but with that comes the struggle to stand out in a crowd.

From an employer’s perspective, receiving dozens (if not hundreds) of resumes means carefully scanning through each one, which is no easy feat; often it seems that everybody is a people person, organized and highly motivated. From a job seeker’s perspective, finding a good job can often involve submitting your resume to multiple companies, hoping to be noticed.

So, what makes you stand out?

First, a well-structured resume detailing your past work experiences and educational achievements is a good start. Condensing it to one page and tailoring it to the job you are applying to will make it easier for your potential employer to review. For example, it’s not necessary to highlight the fact that you delivered the local newspaper in your neighborhood on Saturday mornings 15 years ago in high school. Although this takes great dedication, it probably won’t get you very far in an Executive Search. Keep your resume current, concise and customize it to appeal to your target audience.

Second, always include a cover letter with your resume. Take into consideration the fact that you are applying for jobs behind a computer screen. The employers cannot see you, meet you or talk to you. A cover letter not only provides a potential employer an introduction and first impression but also a sample of your writing style, a summary of your skills, and a glimpse of your personality! It also demonstrates you’ve done your research on the position and the company. Remember, a cover letter does not need to reiterate your resume and providing one (or not providing one) can either make or break you.

Finally, have fun with it! Applying for jobs does not need to be daunting, exhausting or stressful. Take the time to learn about the company you are applying to, get excited about the role and build up your confidence knowing that you are a good catch and worthy of the position. By doing so, these attributes will transfer to your resume and cover letter, resulting in you being a more appealing candidate, getting an interview and ultimately landing a job!

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