Sixty seconds is all your resume will be given by a hiring manager before they move on to the next one. Those sixty seconds are what you have to sell yourself. If your resume looks and feels like just any other, there’s a good chance you’ll be overlooked for an opportunity to be invited for an interview.

At first glance, your resume should stand out from the rest. It should be inviting the viewer to read more. In fact it should paint such an amazing and attractive picture of you that the person viewing your resume should feel almost obliged to meet with you. Here’s how you can make that happen.

1. Consider Things From The Hiring Manager’s Perspective

Most cover letters outline how skilled and apt the candidate is for the vacancy they’re applying for. There’s no doubt you have the skills, experience, knowledge and suitability for the job and are willing to work hard in the new position should you be hired. But, unfortunately, there are several other candidates who also offer the same. This puts you in a position, in the minds of the hiring manager, as “just another candidate”.

When drafting your cover letter, think from the perspective of the receiver of your resume. What is it they’re looking for in the candidate? What are the challenges they’re facing because of this vacancy? The answers to these questions will kick off your letter. You could start with how challenging the position is in the industry that they operate in. Then, blend in how your expertise can be useful to overcome these challenges. The idea here is to step in the shoes of the hiring manager and highlighting a problem before you offer the solution – i.e. hiring you!

2. Avoid Clichés

There’s a high likelihood that 9 out of 10 resumes will be filled with the same cliché and “overused” words. Textbook words like “result-oriented”, “hardworking”, “performance driven”, “dedicated” and so on are absolutely boring and don’t compliment you.

To stand out your resume should make you appear as who you are – an intelligent and knowledgeable person. Instead of being poetic and saying you’re “hardworking” give examples that will help the reader to believe you’re just that. What you’ve accomplished so far in your career, however significant or minor it may be, needs to be presented as a story that makes you unique and real. And make sure to use factual numbers, after all nothing speaks more volumes about your achievements than numbers and percentages. Try not to, however, exaggerate.

3. Stick to the Point

Remember history classes in school in which you were expected to write lengthy answers to questions? Even though your resume captures your historical achievements, it shouldn’t be written as a history lesson answer.

Having a lean, concise and crisp resume is vital to avoid boring its viewer. You definitely want to include your most sellable achievements, but you don’t want to go at lengths about everything you’ve done in your career. The idea is to highlight those achievements that stand out. That make you as a candidate unique. That set you apart from the rest. Focus on a few strong achievements and highlights of your career and you’ll have people interested to meet you.

4. Sell Yourself

A smart hiring manager knows well enough to not hire for today, but instead to hire someone with potential to grow. And I’m sure a smart manager is someone you want to work with. A resume that just captures your qualifications, skills and experience alone can provide adequate information about how well you fit the job. But what it doesn’t say is who you ‘really’ are.

Selling yourself as an employee is probably the easy part. You can easily list down your achievements, skills and how well placed you are for the role. But to stand out you need to sell yourself as an individual and not just an employee. An individual who has potential to grow, who has proven leadership skills and who is well rounded and full of interests that make her or him an interesting person. To truly sell yourself highlight what you’ve achieved outside academics and your professional life. Show your future employer how balanced you are.

5. One Size Doesn’t Fit All

So you’ve now made an amazing resume that you’re confident will get you places. Great, now it’s time to flood the market and spam everyone’s mailbox with your resume, right? Absolutely not! What you have here is a “generic” resume that’s at a foundation level. You simply cannot use it to apply for every vacancy you come across.

Just how cover letters should be customized and specific to every vacancy you’re applying for, resumes ought to be the same. Your resume should be tailored to match the requirements of every position you apply for. In no way am I suggesting you alter the facts, however, the layout, presentation and areas to focus on should be specific to the position you want to be considered for. If you’re able to do this, there’s a higher chance that your resume will attract a recruiters attention.

Remember, if your applications are the same for every position and company, then you’ll be treated in the same way as every other applicant. You can, however, be given preferential treatment if your resume makes the hiring manager feel as if they’re the preferred employers where your skills and abilities can be best utilized.