Tips for Creating a Great Resume

Kiely Kuligowski

Your resume is the key piece of your job application. Here's how to get it right.

With the current labor shortage and low unemployment rate, job seekers are at an advantage when it comes to applying for jobs. However, that’s not to say that you don’t need a professionally written resume. Employers still want to find and hire the best employees for each open position, and resumes are the first step in that search. There are several strategies you can use to make your resume stand out and demonstrate that you are the best candidate for the job.

Importance of a resume

Your resume is the most important document you’ll submit in your job search. It’s your frontline fighter, so to speak, as it’s your first opportunity to present yourself to a potential employer. Hiring managers and recruiters look at resumes for an average of only six to seven seconds each, so it’s important that you make every second count. A strong resume can help you stand out from the crowd, but a weak resume can remove you from the running.

According to Zippia research , professionally written resumes are not only good for landing an interview, but they can also boost your earning potential by 7%.

Simple resume writing tips to help you stand out

It can be difficult to succinctly present all of your experiences and qualifications on one page, but there are many ways to spruce up your resume without going overboard. To help you land an interview, we rounded up some of the best resume writing tips.

1. Keep your resume short and direct.

The No. 1 rule of writing a resume is to keep it short and to the point. The general rule is no more than one page unless you have a very good reason for it to be longer, like an extensive career or a lot of highly applicable work experience.

An easy way to keep your resume concise is to include only recent, relevant experience. While that yearlong first job might have taught you a lot about the field, it’s not always necessary to include every detail from your entire career history.

Most experts recommend including jobs from the previous 10 or 15 years only, although this time frame may be shorter if you are new to the workforce. Including too many unrelated work experiences can make your resume appear too busy and draw attention away from your relevant qualifications. Your resume should be focused, clear and concise.

If you are an older job seeker, here are some things you can do to condense and age-proof your resume .

2. Create an original resume template.

Employers appreciate originality. While it’s helpful to refer to a professional resume template, don’t follow it rigidly. Zippia found that more than 60% of hiring managers consider a customized resume as the top strategy for job applicants to increase their chance of landing a job.

“I often pass over resumes that match Microsoft Office templates,” Claire Bissot, SPHR and director of Kainos Capital, told us. “The templates are meant to be a guide to get started, but it should be expanded on to make it your own.”

Format your resume so that it is easy to identify your qualifications. For instance, Bissot recommended, if you advanced in a company quickly, draw attention to that growth. If you excessively job-hopped, bullet those jobs without providing specifics and detail more applicable positions. This will play to your assets.

When structuring your resume, make sure the information is presented in a logical order, said Veronica Yao, owner of CareerProse and marketing communications manager at Fonolo. “A hiring manager [will] read your resume starting at the top and ending at the bottom. However, if they don’t finish reading the whole thing – and they often don’t – you still want to ensure your strongest points come across.”

3. Highlight relevant skills and experiences.

Using the same resume for every job you apply for is not a good approach. Instead, your resume should target the specific job you are applying for. Be sure to prioritize the skills, qualifications and experiences that are directly applicable to the job you are trying to land.

Choose three or four former positions or experiences that best highlight the skills required for the position for which you apply. Employers value brevity; this is not the time to list every position you have ever held. For example, if you are applying for a marketing position, you could include your former retail experience and bullet the communication, branding and interpersonal skills you learned in that position.

If you don’t have a work history that directly relates to the job you are applying for, get creative with how you present your other experiences. Draw on the skills you used and how your contributions benefited the organization or project. [Read related article: 38 In-Demand Skills to Help You Get the Job ]

4. Demonstrate results with numbers and metrics.

When you write about your previous work experience, it is always a good idea to quantify your successes with numbers. Using metrics can highlight your achievements and give the hiring manager or recruiter a clear sense of how you impacted your previous place of employment. For example, someone who previously worked as a sales representative might say that they “executed more than 50 cold calls daily, with an average 5% conversion rate.”

5. Craft a career snapshot.

More recently, career experts have urged job seekers to do away with the old “objective” statement and instead consider including a brief summary, called a “career snapshot,” at the top of their resume.

“With the career snapshot, you present a branding statement that briefly explains your unique value as well as your skills and qualifications,” said Tomer Sade, CEO of Book a Space. “This would then be followed by a few bullet points that highlight your experience and your accomplishments. Whatever you list here should be relevant to the position you’re applying to.”

“The top third of your resume is prime resume real estate,” added Lisa Rangel, an executive resume writer and CEO of Chameleon Resumes. “Create a robust summary to capture the hiring manager’s eye.”

Think of your career snapshot as an answer to the question “How would you describe your work experience in one sentence?” The summary is an opportunity to sum up your most relevant and important skills, experience, or assets right off the bat.

6. Optimize your text.

If a company uses an applicant tracking system (ATS) to collect and scan resumes, a human hiring manager may never even glance at any application that doesn’t fit the job criteria they’ve entered. Trish O’Brien, vice president of human capital operations at PSI Services, emphasized adapting your resume to the position to increase your likelihood of passing the first level.

“Make sure you’ve carefully reviewed the posting and … [used] the appropriate keywords in your resume to get past the screener,” O’Brien said. “Be truthful, but understand that the first pass on your resume is likely via an ATS.”

A helpful tip is to make sure you include keywords from the job post in your resume. You can copy and paste the job description into a word-cloud generator to identify the most frequently used terms, and make sure the terms that apply to you are used in your resume. You can also create a “core competencies” or “areas of expertise” section of your resume to list all of your hard and soft skills, and then reiterate those skills when you bullet your experience.

According to Zippia, using keywords and industry jargon can increase your likelihood of getting an interview by nearly 30%.

7. Think beyond your job duties.

Hiring managers don’t want to read a list of your job duties. They want concrete examples of your accomplishments in previous positions that show how you can make a difference in this new position.

Rangel said that specific merits are more engaging to read than just your experiences. For example, “I reduced operating expenses by 23% in six months” is far more interesting to an employer than “I have 30 years of sales experience.”

When deciding what information to keep or cut out of your resume, focus on striking abstract traits and qualifications in favor of concrete, quantifiable results.

“The best resumes highlight a job candidate’s actions and results,” said Bob Myhal, director of digital marketing at CBC Automotive Marketing. “Employers want employees who get things done and who take great joy and pride in what they do. Rather than a laundry list of your qualifications, your resume should reflect your accomplishments and enthusiasm for your career.”

You shouldn’t ignore your skills section either. Sade reminded job seekers to list any industry-relevant apps or programs they’re familiar with and to find ways to incorporate examples of their emotional intelligence (e.g., self-awareness, empathy) and soft skills (e.g., work ethic, reliability) into their job descriptions.

8. Use the right language to stand out.

Trite, lackluster descriptions of your job duties and accomplishments won’t do you any favors. Make sure you’re using strong action words, such as “achieved,” “designed,” “improved” and “established,” to describe your roles and projects, said Sade. This will make you sound confident while imparting vital information. But be cautious about depending on action verbs – make sure to include details about how you improved a process or achieved a goal .

“Words such as ‘professional,’ ‘results-driven’ and ‘detail-oriented’ provide very little helpful information,” Sade said. “It’s better to use actual job titles than these words.”

You can use a combination of action words to highlight your experience and make your resume easier to read.

Diya Obeid, founder and CEO of ATS company JobDiva, said that you should remove words like “go-getter,” “team player” and “go-to person” from your resume. These come off as fluff and take up precious space on your resume.

9. List your social media profiles.

Many hiring managers today screen candidates on social networks . Save them a step by providing your profile links on your resume. Seasoned applicants with a professional social presence would do well to include URLs for their LinkedIn profile, Twitter account and blog, if applicable.

“If, and only if, your social media accounts are filled with professional posts pertaining to your industry, listing them on your resume can be advantageous,” said Richie Frieman, author of REPLY ALL … and Other Ways to Tank Your Career . “They can show you have a strong network and are up to speed with modern-day marketing and communications practices. The hiring manager will see that you like to keep up with what’s happening and that you care about learning more.”

Your social profiles can be a powerful recruitment tool to supplement your experience and position as an expert in your field, but only if they are leveraged correctly.

If your social profiles are not professionally applicable, do not list them on your resume, and make sure they are set to private.

10. Check for errors.

Triple-check your own work, and then have someone else look over your resume to ensure it’s 100% clean. There is no room for sloppiness on your resume.

Skye Schooley, Sammi Caramela, Adryan Corcione and Nicole Fallon contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

tips on how to make your resume stand out

5 Ways to Make Your Resume Stand Out

By Catherine Conlan Monster Contributing Writer

When you’re writing your resume you want to impress hiring managers and get selected for an interview, so you need to do everything you can to ensure it stands out from the crowd.

Here are five ways to make your resume stand out from the competition.

Respond Directly to the Job Description

Hiring managers have specific ideas about what skills and experiences candidates need to do well in open positions and your resume should mirror the description they’ve included in their listings or ads, says Mark Slack, a career adviser at Resume Genius .

“In a sea of bland candidates, the most captivating resume is the one that seems to match all of their requirements, including necessary technical skills, work experiences, and degrees, certifications, or licenses,” he says. “If your previous work experience is not relevant to the job description, you will need to get creative and frame your current skill set as being transferable into a new role.”

Describe Accomplishments, Not Responsibilities

Joseph Terach, CEO of Resume Deli , gives the example of a pizza delivery person: It’s not enough to say you deliver pizzas, because that’s what you’re supposed to do. “The question is: are you good at it? Or, did you deliver pizzas late, cold and in a crushed box to the wrong address?”

Instead of regurgitating your job description, focus on the accomplishments you’ve made while living up to that description. Describe the ways you’ve excelled in your profession and have gone above and beyond.

Quantify Your Accomplishments

“There's no better way to describe your accomplishments than with cold hard numbers,” says Slack. For instance: “How much product did you sell monthly? How much money did you save your company due to your efforts? What was the size of the budget you managed? How many people did you train or manage?”

Putting a number on the work you do gives hiring managers an idea how you might fit into an organization. “If you can quantify any of your job descriptions, do so,” he says. “It will give the hiring manager a much clearer image of your skills and abilities, and definitely help you get on the short list for an interview.”

Use the Summary Section for Distinguishing Details

If you include a summary statement on your resume, remember it occupies the most valuable spot -- front and center, Terach says. “So many job-seekers waste it on self-descriptors, such as ‘creative,’ ‘results-driven’ and ‘excellent communicator,’” he says. “Guess what? If you need to label yourself an excellent communicator, then you’re probably not one.” Instead, drop the generics and use the summary section to provide details of your achievements.

Ignore Irrelevant Information

Knowing what to leave off your resume can be as important as knowing what to put on it. You might think it’s a good idea to include as much information as possible to pad a weaker resume, but this approach can backfire.

Including irrelevant jobs or extraneous accomplishments from relevant jobs tells your potential employer that you don’t understand what they’re looking for, Terach says. “Don’t make your target reader fish through a bunch of noise in order to find what’s really important to her, because she won’t. She’ll assume that you don’t get it, and move on.”

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How to Make Your Resume Stand Out: Real Examples for 2023

How to Make Your Resume Stand Out: Real Examples for 2023

You feel your resume isn’t good enough to beat the competition. And you’re not alone. See these transformations of Zety readers’ resumes and learn how to fix yours.

Michael Tomaszewski, CPRW

As seen in:

You find a perfect job opportunity. Required skills? Check. Job duties? You’ve done similar tasks in the past. Check. You get excited. This could be the career break! You know you’d be a great fit. 

But then the doubts kick in. “What about all these other candidates? I’m sure some are more experienced than myself.”

Maybe they are. But you can outperform them by creating a resume that stands out. If you believe you’re right for the job, recruiters will, too—your resume just has to persuade them. 

This guide will show you:

Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here .

sample resume templates

Sample resume made with our builder— See more resume samples here .

Only came here for the bottom line? Here are the best ways to make your resume stand out from the competition:

Case #1: Iñaki and One Hell of a Career Change

The first job-seeker whose resume I helped rewrite was Iñaki from Spain. He had just finished working in Orlando, Florida, and was seeking an overseas opportunity.

Iñaki was looking for a job in Customer Service or Human Resources. But there was a problem—

Although he thought he had the necessary skills, most of his recent experience came from a very niche industry: he used to specialize in goalkeeping . 

Iñaki was a Player Liaison Officer at one of the popular goalkeeper gloves’ brands, as well as a Goalkeeping Coach and Head of the Goalkeeping Department in local clubs and organizations in Florida. Plus, he worked as a freelance event manager at international sports conferences.

As Iñaki put it: 

Supervising the goalkeeping and coaching has been the core of my professional life for the past few years, but I think it’s time to focus on some standard job. Iñaki, Spain

And while he had what it takes to succeed in a “standard” office job, he had no clue about how to present it on a resume.

Then, there was another problem: over the years, Iñaki has held a lot of jobs in different industries and in many countries.

International experience? Sure, that’s a plus for most openings. 

But Iñaki’s resume made his career come across as random, with no logical or linear progression.

Just have a look:

Iñaki’s Resume Pre-Transformation

inaki's old resume

Not great, right? Here’s why in particular:

Any customer service hiring manager would reject the resume in seconds—Iñaki just doesn’t appear to be the right candidate, does he?

The thing is—Iñaki has an amazing, unique set of skills.  

True, he learned them in an unorthodox way, but his abilities would make him an asset to any company. That was also reflected by his professional achievements. 

For some reason, he didn’t mention any of the below on his resume:

With all this in mind, Iñaki and I began working on his resume redo.

First things first—we needed to find a specific job opening to which we’d tailor his resume .

Iñaki found a position as an HR Customer Advisor in a multinational R&D company. He thought he ticked all the boxes.

Here’s the job ad:

Position: HR Customer Advisor with French and Spanish [Company Name] As part of our HR Services Team, you will act as an HR guide for our employees. You will have the opportunity to navigate them through the world of HR topics and design smart and elegant solutions for them.

What skills will make you successful in the role?

After a few hours of chatting with Iñaki, one thing was 100% clear.

To maximize his chances of landing this job, Iñaki needed to use the combination resume format —

One that highlights, and verifies skills, instead of focusing on career progression.

Have a look at Iñaki’s previous resume: he did list his key skills , but there was no proof to back them up. And that proof is exactly what the combination resume provides.

We decided that, for this particular opening, the most important skills to show on Iñaki’s resume were:

We also rephrased Iñaki’s career objective at the top of his resume . In the new version, it was customized to match the job requirements and offered to deliver value to the employer.

Finally, we made Iñaki’s resume much more believable by linking his skills to specific job accomplishments .

And, of course, we used Zety’s resume builder to revamp the layout and design of Iñaki’s resume.

See the final effect:

Iñaki’s Resume Post-Transformation

inaki's new resume

Wow, right?

Now, the summary of Iñaki’s skills, following his career objective takes up the whole first page of the resume. Below each skill, in bullet points, we provided evidence of putting the skill to practice.

Since it’s a combination resume, not a purely skills-based one, on the second page there still are brief descriptions of Iñaki’s past positions—but they’re not the central part of the narrative, which takes the attention away from Iñaki’s somewhat erratic work history.


Iñaki scored the interview! 

But he didn’t land the job. Ouch, right? 

Nah, not really.

In the process, Iñaki learned the most important strategies for writing great resumes . 

He sent out a few more, each perfectly tailored to match the requirements of a given position. Within a month, he accepted a job offer as a Recruitment Coordinator with a huge multinational corporation.

Does Iñaki’s job history resonate with you? Try out the combination resume format! You can learn about all the ins and outs here: Combination Resume: Samples and Writing Tips

Now, hear a very different resume-redo story.

When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check . Start building a  professional resume template here for free .

Create the perfect resume

When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.

Case #2: Colleen Who Didn’t Want to Brag

The second example comes from Colleen, a US-based candidate who, like Iñaki, wanted to make a career change—but her case was very much different.


Coleen was re-entering the workforce after a three-year sabbatical she’d taken to grieve a personal tragedy, the loss of her son.

Her plan was to make a switch from aerospace program management (so basically rocket science ) to IT project management.

Not that drastic a change, right?

Colleen didn’t yet have a specific position in mind. She just wanted to create a general “master” resume well-suited to job search in IT project management.

And she felt something was missing... 

So she reached out to Tom Gerencer, my fellow career advice writer at Zety.

After their first conversation, Tom expected little work. Colleen seemed like someone with a solid resume.

And Tom was right. Colleen’s resume was solid. The thing is—

Solid isn’t the word to describe her work history. Stellar is more like it (especially considering her industry). First things first, though—

Have a look at Colleen’s old resume.

Collen’s Resume Before the Redo

colleen's old resume


At first glance, maybe. But Colleen’s resume is missing so many important details about her employment history!

Get this—

In the aerospace firm she worked at, she slashed their time spent in meetings from 10 hours to 2 hours weekly for 40 engineers. That’s not on her resume. 

She saved the company $32,000 a WEEK. 

(Not on her resume.)

And it’s just the tip of an iceberg.

None of the above was on her resume.

Colleen had amazing achievements but, for some reason, failed to properly highlight them on a resume.

See the updated version of her resume she worked on with Tom.

Pay particular attention to the difference towards the very top of the document.

Colleen’s Resume After the Redo

colleen's new resume

That’s more like it!

Eye-tracking studies on recruiters and in-house HR pros have shown that they spend most time looking at the top-third of resumes. That’s usually the place for a resume profile .

On Colleen’s previous resume, that part read, well, okay: she mentioned years of relevant experience. Gave examples of past duties. But it lacked the sparkle.

The new version? It shows the superstar Colleen is .

“Saved 100 labor hours/wk & $500,000+ per year at B/E Aerospace through IT streamlining & automation.” I mean—if I were the hiring manager I’d have to be insane to not want similar results for my team. And Colleen’s resume promises to deliver!

Looking for hot tips to improve your resume profile as Colleen did? Look no further. See this guide: Resume Profile: Examples & Writing Guide

Colleen’s case only confirmed something I’ve noticed before when working with other candidates on improving their resumes.

Job seekers don’t know how to show off and quantify their achievements!

No idea why that is. Maybe they’re too afraid to come across bullheaded. Perhaps they don’t know how to identify the most important accomplishments. 

Some people seem to think “yeah, achievements surely can make a resume stand out, but it doesn’t apply to me. I don’t work with hard numbers.”

Sound like you? Well, even if you think you can’t come up with numbers to illustrate your work performance, you’re most likely wrong.

But since that happens so often, I compiled a guide that will teach you how to add quantified achievements to a resume (and how to come up with those when you think you have none!). Check it out: Achievements on a Resume: Examples & How to List Them

Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here.  Here's what it may look like:

matching set of resume and cover letter

See more cover letter templates and start writing.

So—what do you think?

I hope you enjoyed the resume transformations and I hope you learned something from them!

For a step-by-step breakdown of how to improve your resume, see our resume 101: How to Write a Job-Winning Resume in <1h

Want us to help you rewrite your resume? We’ll be happy to do it (as long as you agree to share your resumes pre- and post-transformation with the rest of Zety readers). Just drop us a line in the comments and we’ll get back to you.

Disclaimer: due to limited capacity, we reserve the right to only help redo selected resumes.

Share your thoughts in the comments! I can’t wait to hear from you.

Michael Tomaszewski, CPRW

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How to Make Your Resume Stand Out, According to HR Executives

A pplying for your dream job can be stressful. And while candidates have the advantage in today’s competitive job market , it’s still hard to land coveted positions. So how do you make your resume stand out among hundreds of applicants?

Hiring managers don’t have a ton of time to thoroughly look over each resume, which means you have to be judicious about what to include. From choosing the right font to deciding whether or not to include that internship, creating a resume in 2019 isn’t easy.

Beyond the basics , a resume should be the space to communicate your story, says Julie Kim, a Senior Recruiter at Jun Group, an advertising agency based in New York City. Your resume should reflect more than just what you did. A good resume includes specifics on what you’ve actually accomplished throughout your career, says Traci Schweikert, Vice President of Human Resources at POLITICO.

If you’re looking to make your resume stand out , consider these six tips from HR executives.

Customize your resume for your industry

People are often encouraged to include personality in their resume, but unless they are applying for a job in a creative industry, they may want to rethink that strategy. “A lot of pictures and fonts and colors and a whole lot of personality just doesn’t align with the jobs we have here,” says Schweikert, whose team recruits for positions in sales, product and marketing. “If I was in an organization that, for example, was in web design, then I would want to see those design elements in a resume.”

Kim agrees that resume layout is wholly dependent on the position you are applying for. “If you are applying for a designer role, I want to see something creative there. If you’re applying for a finance role, I want to see numbers,” she says.

Include keywords from the original job posting

One of the best ways to make your resume stand out is to use the job posting as a guide. Schweikert says that she often tells people that is the first place they should look when revamping their resume.

“We’ve written the job description with certain words,” Schweikert says. “And when we see a resume with those words on it, those are the resumes that instantly get our attention.”

Some companies actually conduct keyword searches when sorting through resumes, Schweikert adds, which means those terms are even more important to include if you want to secure an interview. It may sound tedious, but taking the time to customize your resume for each individual job you apply to is a surefire tactic to stand out among the pack of applicants, she says.

Be clean and concise

It can be difficult to view your resume from a hiring manager ‘s perspective — but one thing many employers agree on is that simplicity goes a long way.

For starters, you never know exactly how a hiring manager will be reading your resume; they may pull it up on their phone, or go through an applicant tracking system. Schweikert suggests sticking to clean and simple resumes, since they are legible across all platforms. Hyperlinking to your portfolio or LinkedIn profile instead of including that information elsewhere on your resume is also an easy way to preserve space, she says.

Format and font are important, too. Kim says that she likes to see all titles in bold, because they catch her eye. And again, unless you are applying for a creative position, stick to a monochromatic color palette.

When applicable, consider using numbers to back up your success. “I love seeing numbers,” Kim adds. “I am personally a big number person and it can stack up your experience better than two paragraphs explaining what you do.”

Get the latest career, relationship and wellness advice to enrich your life: sign up for TIME’s Living newsletter.

Write a pithy objective

Whether you’re switching careers or feel slightly underqualified for the job you are applying for, Kim suggests including an objective at the top of your resume. This will help hiring managers understand the thought process behind your decision to change industries or why you are applying for the job. She says you can fill the gaps in between your experience by detailing the inspiration and motivation behind your move.

This objective statement should be limited to two or three sentences explaining what you are trying to accomplish and what you can contribute, Kim says.

And don’t be discouraged by the job description: Schweikert notes that it is written for the perfect candidate — and hiring managers know that — so they likely expect that you won’t fit each bullet point on a posting. There’s also a relatively simple way to determine if you’re right for the role. “Most job descriptions are written [from] most important criteria to least important criteria,” Schweikert says. “So if you’ve got a lot of the first couple of bullets of the job posting, you are probably in a pretty good place.”

Research the company’s culture

Take the time to go beyond the job description and do your research on the company. Schweikert suggests simply going on the company’s career website to see what their values are. In addition to including your professional experience on your resume, think about including information relevant to that company’s culture.

For example, if you see that a company participates in a significant amount of charitable work and you have volunteer experience, consider adding that to your resume, Schweikert says. And even if the company doesn’t mention anything about volunteering, you may want to include it anyway — about 80% of “hiring influencers” (employees who have the ability to influence the hiring process), indicated that they believe there is a relationship between volunteering and leadership ability, according to a 2016 Deloitte survey .

Reach out to your network

Arranging informational interviews with people you are connected to can also help your resume stand out, according to Schweikert. Most applications are submitted online, and the volume of resumes that hiring managers must sift through can be overwhelming at times — so establishing a personal connection can help you get noticed, she says. Plus, if you are invited in for an official interview , you can bring up what you discussed at the informational one. “You can say, ‘hey I did a lot of research on the organization and met with Susie Q and they shared this with me,'” Schweikert says.

After your informational interview, you can reach out to that contact and ask that they glance over your resume, making sure to pose as many specific questions as possible about how you should tailor your resume to the company or specific role, Schweikert adds. For example, if you are struggling to decide whether to include your college activities on your resume, reaching out to your connection for advice can provide invaluable insight on whether that might be important to that company.

Kim also encourages informational interviews, as they are a great opportunity to learn more about an industry, company or specific role. There is also significant value in having someone else look over your resume. “A second pair of eyes can bring a lot of fresh perspective,” she says.

Write to Annabel Gutterman at [email protected] .

tips on how to make your resume stand out

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Get that job! 7 tips to make your resume stand out


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The importance of an outstanding resume

How to write a resume, fine-tuning your resume, make your resume stand out, the bottom line.

Job searches are a vulnerable time. 

You put yourself out there, day after day, hoping recruiters will like what they see. But the job market is unforgiving, and after a few rejections or non-responses, it’s easy to feel dispirited and demoralized .

But here's the bottom line: you have to believe you’re the best candidate for your dream job . Don’t sell yourself short. You have to help a hiring manager (not to mention the recruiter who screens you first) see why you’re an obvious choice for the role. 

It can be hard to know what to do. The conflicting advice you get and all of the options available on social platforms can be confusing. But even now, with LinkedIn and numerous job boards, it's generally a good idea to have a resume.

It might not be enough to only have a resume, but you have to start somewhere.

Let’s l earn how to make your resume stand out. Tha t’s where it all starts.

A resume is often a potential employer’s first impression of you. Everything they know about who you are, your work history, and your accomplishments are on this sheet of paper. And based on this information, they’ll decide whether to meet you in person .

On average, potential employers spend just seven seconds reviewing a job seeker's resume. This might seem harsh, but try to imagine things from their point of view. They’re busy people. And, for some positions, they’ll review hundreds of resumes before hiring a candidate .

Hiring managers and recruiters need to filter out poor resumes before reaching out for interviews. They look for typos, unclear wording, and poor organization. These mistakes show a lack of attention to detail, which is easily grounds for disqualification.

They're also looking for someone who is really interested in the role. Someone motivated enough to put in the effort .

But I've also been surprised how often I see resumes and cover letters that just don't align with the role. I've been there: you want the role to be something different than what it is and you ignore all the clues (like the job description) that get in the way.

For a hiring manager, a resume that isn't targeted at the role in question is just confusing, no matter how passionate you are .

Getting your resume in pristine shape and targeting it to specific roles is a lot of work. But with some time and effort, you can avoid mistakes, let your passion shine through, and blow your competition out of the water.

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There’s nothing scarier than a blank page. While the trends in formatting change, the basic content doesn't. Get the content down first, then seek a trusted friend to help you refine the format.

To get you started, here are the sections you should have on your resume:

1. Work experience

This section should be clearly labeled, with a sub-section for each job entry. Only include jobs that highlight your suitability for the role. That being said, don't be afraid to include experiences that aren't obviously relevant.

The key is that you include a description or bullet points that make the connection clear.

Each entry should include:

It’s tempting to organize this section in chronological order. But, in most cases, it makes more sense to put your most relevant experience at the top, even if it’s not your most recent job. You want your reader to see your best work first. 

It might make sense to split your resume into two sections, too. For example, if you’re applying for a management position at a software development company, you might want to have sections for “Management experience” and “Development experience.”

2. Unpaid work or volunteering 

This section will be very similar to your work experience. Follow the same format, but only list volunteer or personal projects that are relevant to the role or helped sharpen your skills.


3. Education

This section will likely be the smallest of the lot. Here’s what to include:

Chronological order is preferred here.

4. Certifications

You may have professional certifications relevant to your role. List them here with the date you acquired them. 

For example, if you’re applying to a role that requires a driver’s license or certification in a programming language, that would be worth highlighting here.

Leave this section out if it’s not relevant. 

This goes somewhere at the top of your resume. This a brief paragraph or bullet-point list that tells employers what to look for in the rest of your resume. This is your chance to put your best foot forward. Try mentioning your most relevant skills and ambitions for the role.

Here you can list a handful of skills that are relevant to the role. For each item you list, make sure the rest of your resume supports your claim. No one will believe you’re great at coding with Python if your previous experience doesn’t demonstrate that. 

You should also be specific. Saying “coding” is vague. Instead, say that you’re skilled with Python or Java. 

7. Link to portfolio

If possible, link to some of your representative work, or at least have a sample project or two at the ready in case you are asked. In some fields, especially creative, having a digital portfolio is standard. In other fields, you may be more likely to demonstrate your skills through some type of assessment.

Remember that a recruiter or hiring manager will likely have access to your LinkedIn profile as well as domain-specific profiles (e.g., github). Make sure that your resume is consistent with, but not overly repetitive of, your profile and body of work on other platforms. 


A resume that lands you an interview has the following characteristics: 

1. It includes only relevant information

If you’ve been in the workforce a while, you’ve probably had quite a few jobs. Not all of your work experience will be relevant to the position you’re applying for. If you’re applying to work as a supervisor on a construction site, you likely don’t need to mention your high school job at a fast-food joint. Instead, you’ll want your construction experience front-and-center. 

But, if you’re a recent college grad, you might need to round out your resume with earlier jobs and volunteer positions. Make sure to highlight all of your transferable skills from those positions. What not to put on a resume depends on how much experience you have to include.

Every resume, regardless of how long you’ve worked, should include your contact information, education, and experience (whether that’s jobs or volunteer work).

You can also include relevant links. If you’re a writer or a graphic artist, you’ll want to link to your portfolio website. If you’re applying for a social media marketing job, include links to your socials. But only include links that are relevant to your work.

2. It highlights accomplishments — not responsibilities

Managers want to know you can perform. Listing your previous responsibilities says nothing about whether you met those expectations. Instead, highlight your accomplishments and employee recognition . 

For example, we’ll say you previously worked at a public relations firm. Compare these two descriptions:

The former tells the recruiter about your job; the latter tells the recruiter about you.

If you’re unsure about your resume, consider hiring a professional resume writer or a career coach. They’ll take the time necessary to review your skill sets and help you build a great resume. A BetterUp coach can help you tailor your resume and set you on the right path to land your dream job.

3. It’s short

Your resume should be short and sweet. Ideally, you’ll fit everything you need on one page. If you’re further along in your career, the document can stretch to two pages. 


Now that we’ve mastered the basics, here’s how you can make the best version of your resume.

1. Consider the hiring manager’s needs

Read the job description closely and explore the company website. Read their mission statement. Get a sense of their company culture and what they value in their employees. Then make sure these elements are included on your resume. For instance, if a company’s job ad mentions seeking team players, be sure your resume highlights your history of successful collaboration. 

Your resume should show that you meet or exceed the job requirements listed in the job posting.

2. Make sure it looks good

Managers review countless resumes each day. You have some freedom to play with your resume format, but you should follow some general guidelines:


3. Avoid errors

A typo is the easiest way to have your resume thrown out. Make sure to closely check your writing for common mistakes that your word processor won’t catch. For example, look for inappropriate uses of “your,” “you’re,” “there,” “their,” “its,” “it’s.” These all sound the same but mean very different things.

You should also read your resume out loud. This will help you catch errors. Plus, you’ll hear if you’re repeating words or if the language doesn’t flow. 

4. Demonstrate industry knowledge

Always be learning — at BetterUp we call it "stay on your edge." It's a core behavior we look for in every employee, brand new or veteran. Curiosity is key to career success and job (and life) satisfaction.

Now make sure that hunger for learning comes through in your resume. It isn't saying "I love to learn" so much as showing it.

Stay on top of current trends in your field and work them into your cover letter and resume. For instance, if there’s a new program that’s in high demand, share your know-how in the skills section. Describe how you used a new tool to improve your performance at a previous job.

5. Get an objective eye (or several)

Ask someone else to review your resume and give you honest feedback. This should be someone you trust to have your best interests at heart but also someone who has recent, relevant perspective on the job market and the type of role you are seeking. Your mom or your best friend might not be the best source of useful, objective feedback on the inherently awkward resume.

Now that you k now how to create a solid resume, you can refine the details that will make your resume (and your candidacy) stand out. Take a deep breath because it is a process. Now you’re ready to start hunting for your dream job.

A coach can help you in that quest. At BetterUp, we can help you build a career plan, help you understand your strengths and values, and hold you accountable to make sure you stand out from the crowd. In the best possible way.

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Home Resume Help How to Make Your Resume Stand Out in 2023

How to Make Your Resume Stand Out in 2023

Dominique Vatin

Struggling to give your resume that extra boost it needs to land you a job? Check out our 8 tips and resume examples to help you make your resume stand out.

An image of a job seeker making their resume stand out

Between choosing which professional experiences to picking the right font, creating a resume for 2023 isn’t easy.

To get ahead of the competition and show employers that you’re uniquely qualified for the role you want, you’ll need to do more than just list your experience — you’ll have to learn how to make your resume stand out.

What makes a resume stand out?

Hiring managers don’t have much time to thoroughly look over each resume, which means you have to understand what hiring managers are looking for and be selective about what you include to make your resume stand out.

Tailoring your resume to be job-specific and using strong, active language to demonstrate confidence in your skills should only be part of your strategy. The job market is always changing, and showing you’re adaptable and comfortable with technology should be another of your resume priorities.

8 tips on how to make a resume stand out

Follow our eight expert tips for making your resume stand out and grab the attention of employers:

1. Add a convincing introduction to your resume

Hiring managers (especially those at larger companies) sometimes have hundreds of applications to review every day. They need to see your most relevant qualifications as easily and quickly as possible. Otherwise, they’re likely to skip over your application.

The best way to get their attention the instant they open your application is by starting your resume with a convincing, brief resume summary .

A resume summary is a concise, 1-5 sentence statement at the beginning of your resume that highlights your key relevant accomplishments and skills. This gives the hiring manager a clear idea of your general qualifications, and how well-suited you are for the role before they read the rest of your resume.

Here’s an example of what a standout resume summary looks like:

An example of a standout resume summary

Resume summaries are ideal for candidates with some work experience. However, if you’re writing a resume without experience , there are other resume introduction styles that may better highlight your qualifications, such as the:

2. Target your resume to the industry and position you want

One of the best ways to make your resume immediately stand out to employers is by customizing it for the specific position you want.

Hiring managers write job descriptions with certain skills and experience in mind, and no two job descriptions are exactly alike (even if they’re for jobs in the same industry).

So to make your resume stand out, scan through the job description and look for specific skills or traits that the hiring manager is seeking in new hires. Then, mirror this language in your resume’s experience section and the skills section of your resume to show them that you have the expertise needed to excel in the role.

While targeting your resume this way for each job you apply to can be time-consuming, it’s one of the most effective ways to pique the interest of employers and convince them you’re worth inviting in for an interview.

3. Highlight your remote-working skills

Since the start of the pandemic, many workplaces have permanently transitioned to full or partial remote working schedules, making remote work skills some of the best skills to put on your resume .

Even if you don’t personally work remotely, familiarity with remote-working software like Zoom or Microsoft Teams and the ability to work independently are highly valuable skills in today’s workplace. List your familiarity with virtual communication tools on top of your communication skills and interpersonal skills in your resume skills section.

When up against other candidates with similar qualifications, showing that you’re able to adapt to a remote working environment may be just what you need to make your resume stand out and convince the hiring manager to give you an interview.

Finally, don’t forget to give concrete examples to back up your claims throughout your resume work experience section.

4. Include relevant industry keywords

Many large companies use a type of software called an applicant tracking system (ATS) to help them filter through the hundreds of resumes they receive.

Essentially, ATS software scans your resume for industry-related keywords to determine whether you’re qualified for the job or not. If the software doesn’t find the keywords it’s looking for, it automatically rejects your application.

To find the resume keywords you need to include to create an ATS-friendly resume , read through the job description and take note of any skills mentioned in the requirements section.

Then, mention as many of these skills as you can in your resume. Usually, this applies to specific technical skills required for the job or relevant certifications .

Here’s an example of a job description with the keywords underlined:

example of a job description with resume keywords underlined

Peppering these keywords throughout your resume gives you two advantages over other candidates.

5. Keep things concise and clear

Two of the most common mistakes people make when writing a resume are listing every position they’ve ever held, and generally being too wordy when describing their previous roles.

Hiring managers have limited time to read through your application, and every second they spend reading irrelevant information is a second they’re not getting familiar with your skills, qualifications, and background.

To help your resume stand out, keep your writing concise and only include information that’s highly relevant to the position.

For example, if you’re applying for an office job and you already have some work experience, don’t include that bartending job you worked in college.

By being concise and focusing on your recent, relevant experience , you can quickly highlight your most valuable qualifications while keeping your resume length to an easy-to-read one page.

6. Add numbers to the bullets in your experience section

Employers love to see that you made a quantifiable impact at your previous jobs. Adding hard numbers to some of the resume bullet points on your resume is a great way to make your resume stand out by showing employers exactly what you achieved.

Not only that, but hard numbers give employers a clear idea of what you can achieve for them as well.

Here’s an example of how adding hard numbers to your resume can improve your bullet points and give your accomplishments more weight:

Example of hard numbers in your work accomplishment bullet points

Taylord’s Marketing Firm, Reno, NV

July 2019 – August 2022

Let’s break down this concept with the following 2 examples featuring a work accomplishment with and without hard numbers:

Bullet point without hard numbers

This bullet point states that the candidate was successful at their job, but without giving specific numbers it’s impossible for employers to know exactly how successful they were.

Now, here’s that same bullet point improved with a few specific hard numbers:

Bullet point with hard numbers

7. Use a modern resume design

While the proper way to make a resume doesn’t change much over time, the best way to design your resume does.

One way to make your resume stand out and grab the attention of employers is by updating it with a sleek new resume template .

If you’re applying for a job in more creative fields like graphic design or advertising, add some bolder splashes of color to your resume and play around with more unique resume headers .

An example of a standout creative design for a resume

If you’re employed in a more traditional industry like finance, go for a more confident, minimalist look with a modern sans-serif resume font ).

Here’s an example of what a more formal modern resume design looks like:

An example of a standout formal resume design

Just by updating the appearance of your resume, you can make your most job-relevant information stand out and leave a positive impression on employers.

8. Start each bullet point with a strong verb

Most job-seekers talk about their previous jobs using passive language like “responsible for” or “tasked with”. These kinds of phrases don’t highlight what you achieved at work, and often don’t leave employers with a lasting impression of you as a candidate.

To make your resume stand out, start each bullet point in your resume work experience section off with a strong action verb that illustrates something you accomplished.

For example, here’s a bullet point that doesn’t use action verbs:

Not only is this piece of information vague, but it doesn’t frame the candidate as proactive. Now, here’s that same bullet point but featuring strong action verbs:

Unlike “tasked with”, “led” communicates exactly what the candidate did, and indicates that they not only succeeded in completing their task but took on a leadership role for this particular project.

Including such words in your resume is a great way to make yourself look more proactive, and show employers what you’re capable of achieving in a professional environment.

Standout resume examples

There are many clues about what a company expects from a potential new hire in the job description. It’s up to you to capitalize on the information they share to direct your own resume to make it stand out.

The following examples illustrate what makes a resume stand out:

Strong resume example

In this work experience example taken from a marketing resume , the candidate repeats language used in the job ad for the position they’re applying to while using action verbs and hard numbers.

strong resume example featuring action verbs and hard numbers

Career change resume example

After picking the right career change resume format, you need to show how you can apply previous work experience from a different industry to a new role. It’s essential to emphasize skills you can apply in your new role by using relevant industry keywords in your work experience section to make your resume ATS-friendly.

For example, the following candidate has a number of experiences in marketing and is transitioning to the NGO industry:

career change resume example with outlined career objective

While their older work experience is in a different industry (digital marketing), this candidate made sure to showcase job-relevant skills by illustrating their job-relevant accomplishments from their recent internship experience. This is in addition to using action verbs and hard numbers, effectively making their resume both ATS-friendly and highly readable by a hiring manager.

Resume objective example

This same candidate tailors their career objective to the position by highlighting their volunteer experience in local conservation efforts in addition to their research, reporting, and presentation skills.

Because the career objective section goes at the top of a resume, this candidate effectively frames themselves as the ideal candidate for the program associate position right from the start. This information will overshadow their past work experience in an unrelated industry and allow a hiring manager to focus on the most job-relevant information first.

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Dominique Vatin

Written by Dominique Vatin

Dominique is a Content Writer at Resume Genius, where she enjoys crafting content to better equip job seekers. She graduated from Yonsei GSIS in Korea with a Master's... more

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How to make your resume stand out.

These proven tips will get you – and your resume – noticed by employers.

With competition for great jobs extremely high, it’s important to know how to successfully sell yourself to your potential employer. One of the easiest ways to do this? Through your resume, of course – it’s one of the most important tools in the job application process. Look at it as a major driver of securing interviews and getting yourself noticed.

candidates waiting for interview with standout resumes

So, how can you give yourself the best odds at snagging an interview and getting an opportunity to seal the deal in person? Here are six tips to help your resume rise to the top of the pile:

1. Keep it concise.

Hiring managers don't need your life story - they receive tons of resumes and job applications on a regular basis, so they only want to see the most relevant information about you. After all, the average hiring manager spends only six seconds on each resume they review.

Fred Coon, CEO at Stewart, Cooper & Coon, thinks that one of the most important things to look for on a resume is your target-driven accomplishments: “Include numbers, numbers, and more numbers that demonstrate your efforts and hard work have actually generated results.”

employer reviewing resume that stands out

2. Your skills are key.

Chances are, you have more tangible skills than you may realize. Draw from past experiences and environments and think about how those moments prepared you for the job that you want. Chances are, you feel you are right for the job. Spend some time really thinking about why - the goal is to include skills that are relevant to the job you're applying for.

example of a standout resume

3. Review and list your skills carefully.

Narrow down your listed skills by selecting your most relevant work experience. Don’t include every summer job or part-time gig, as it’s important to focus on the most crucial skill-building moments in your experience thus far. Generally, 4-5 is plenty to list. Don’t forget to make adjustments at the end to ensure that your most marketable skills are noticeable at a glance. It’s also wise to avoid listing subjective skills that don’t specifically describe your previous experience. And if you’re applying for jobs with different functions, it’s good practice to have versions of your resume tailored to each.

two people interviewing potential candidate and reviewing resume

4. Pair it with a complementary cover letter.

Use your cover letter as your initial opportunity to impress a hiring manager. Do more than recap what's on your resume – this is your chance to highlight some of your proudest professional accomplishments to date. Make sure that you’re providing an insight into who you are as an employee and really diving into the unique skills that you can bring to the job.

Don’t forget to tailor each cover letter to the company you’re applying for, as James Kemper, President of WH Meanor & Associates, notes: “The cover letter needs to highlight the resume and give more detail to the bullet points listed so it reinforces experience and qualifications. You also want to do a bit of research on the company to match experience and skills to the job in question. The cover letter is the introductory step that shows why you're their ideal candidate.”

5. Leverage LinkedIn

Many hiring managers will be looking for you online, from your LinkedIn profile to a Google search. Is your LinkedIn profile up to date? Check that your work history is current and that your profile headline and summary are adjusted for the type of work you're looking for. If your SEO skills are really sharp, you may even attract recruiters and hiring managers for jobs you haven't applied for yet.

It’s also important to choose a professional photo for your profile: a clear headshot with a simple background is usually a good start. If you need any more guidance, follow these steps to create a powerful LinkedIn page.

manager shaking hands with candidate in an interview

6. Clean up your social media.

Don’t forget to ensure there is nothing too embarrassing or incriminating out there on any of your other social media profiles that are accessible to the public. This is more important than you might realize, as 70% of companies are screening out candidates based on what they found on their social networking profiles. Stand out above the rest by keeping all your public social profiles looking profesh.

Overall, it’s vital to ensure that your resume and online presence stands out for all of the right reasons. This means going above and beyond to make a strong first impression on your future employer by thoroughly researching the company you’re applying to first and adapting your approach accordingly. So, what are you going to do once you land the big job? Here’s our advice for negotiating your next salary.

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The average recruiter initially spends 7.4 seconds scanning a resume, so use these strategies to stand out in your job search


If you hope to land a new job, you'll want to make sure your resume catches the eyes of recruiters.

The first thing you should do is shift your mindset, said certified professional career coach Matt Glodz, founder of Chicago-based executive resume writing firm Resume Pilots.

"Stop thinking so much about yourself and think more about what your reader is looking for and expecting to see," he said.

The Covid-19 pandemic has shifted what some employers consider important — including, for example, vaccination status.

In this era of vaccine mandates, the number of job postings requiring candidates to be vaccinated against Covid-19 has doubled since the end of September, according to career site Ladders . Meanwhile, President Joe Biden 's vaccine and testing mandate for private businesses is currently working its way through the court system.

More from Invest in You: The 'Great Resignation' is burning out those who stay. Here's what they can do These companies have a 4-day workweek. Here's what they've learned The 'Great Resignation' is altering the workforce dynamic — maybe for good

Whether or not you put your vaccination status on your resume is a personal decision, said Amanda Augustine, career advice expert at New-York based resume-writing service TopResume.

"If you are OK putting the information out there and that is the status for you, you are better off because there are employers that are ignoring candidates that don't disclose that information," she said.

In fact, 33% of hiring managers will automatically eliminate resumes that don't include a Covid-19 vaccine status, a survey by found. It surveyed 1,250 hiring managers across the U.S. in August.

With that in mind, here are five strategies to make your resume stand out.

1. Demonstrate flexibility

Adaptability and flexibility are the top skills employers believe have greater importance since the pandemic hit, an October 2020 TopResume survey of 334 hiring professionals found.

Critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration and teamwork are also important to employers these days.

While it may feel challenging to get these skills across on your resume without simply listing them, think about the most recent work you have done that can demonstrate those skills, Augustine suggests.

"Talk about how you created results, got something done on time, contributed to your organization and the steps you took to get there," she said.

If you've worked remotely during the pandemic, be sure to include that, as well, by simply putting it in parentheses next to your title in the experience section.

"You never know when you may be thrown back into some sort of quarantine," Augustine said.

2. Present a compelling narrative

Your resume should tell a clear story as to why your experience and skills qualify you for the position you are applying for, Augustine said.

Therefore, TopResume recommends a hybrid-resume format that is not fully chronological. Instead, the top third of the resume should give employers a quick glance at why it makes sense to talk to you, she explained. It should include your contact information, professional title, professional summary and areas of expertise.

Then, dive into your work experience.

3. Show your impact

Recruiters want to see the impact you've made to your prior or current organization. If your experience section is very task-based, focusing on your day-to-day responsibilities, it will read more like a job description instead of painting a picture for recruiters, Glodz said.

"Take the task and turn it into an achievement," he advised.

For example, show how much a project increased the company's revenue or saved the business money.

4. Format matters

The average hiring professional spends 7.4 seconds scanning a resume before deciding whether to look at the candidate more closely, a 2018 Ladders study found.

"When you have such a little time to capture their attention and zero in on your application, you want to make sure it is easy for them to scan and understand your career narrative," Augustine said.

The Great Resignation: What to do before you quit your job

Don't make your experience an endless list of bullet points or dense paragraphs. Instead, create a short paragraph under your job that describes the role and responsibilities. Then use your bullet points, or what Augustine calls bragging points, to demonstrate your achievements.

Stay away from custom or overly intricate font styles. Use a classic resume template, organized with conventional headings, Glodz said.

Carefully proofread it line by line, looking at not only grammar and phrasing but making sure your spacing and fonts are consistent throughout.

"Your professionalism is really going to be demonstrated by how you present your document," Glodz said.

5. Don't forget a cover letter

When TopResume asked hiring managers if they are more likely to read cover letters now than before the pandemic, 48% said yes.

"It won't hurt your application if you include it, but you could be hurting your chances of a call back if you don't," Augustine said.

Don't make it generic. Instead customize it by including what you've learned about the company and what they are looking for in a candidate for the role you are applying for.

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CHECK OUT: Meet the ‘semi-rich’: Millions of high-income Americans may not feel wealthy but are, says ‘The 9.9 percent’ author via   Grow with Acorns+CNBC

Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns .

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8 Fantastic Ways to Make Your Resume Stand Out

The job market is competitive right now -- here's how to maximize your chances of success.

By Richard Maize • Nov 12, 2021

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Job hunting can be an exciting yet overwhelming experience. I get it; no one likes to get the dreaded rejection email, and nothing is more frustrating or discouraging than sending off 20 or more applications and getting zero responses. You may have the exact experience a hiring manager is looking for, but maybe you're just not telling your story right. Or it's possible your resume isn't getting past strict algorithms that scan resumes for keywords.

If you're wondering what you can do to set yourself apart from other candidates, you're in the right place. From choosing the right keywords to designing the ideal layout, creating a stellar resume is no easy feat. But you're fully capable of getting the job done — no pun intended.

1. Customize your resume for your industry

When you're creating your descriptions for the roles you've held, you should include all of your skills and experiences relevant to the job(s) you're applying for. Read through the desired job description and see how you can tailor your resume to showcase you've got the skillset they're looking for in a candidate.

You may want to have a few different versions of your resume depending on the types of roles you want. For example, if you work in marketing and are interested in a few different roles within that industry, you can have one resume specific to SEO content marketing, one resume specific to PPC campaigns and one resume that is specific to email marketing.

Related: 13 Must-Have Words to Include in Your Resume

2. Use a header

You can think of your header as a business card right under your name and right at the top of your resume. It should include your job title, phone number, email address and your location. If you have a link to your portfolio, you should add that in there as well, along with any certifications and or desirable credentials.

This helps hiring managers see right away what your goal is without having to sift through your resume.

Here's an example:


Los Angeles, CA, 90210 | 310-XXX-XXXX | [email protected] |

This is just one example, but you can find a few more here along with some useful tips on how to make your header stand out.

3. Make sure your resume is clean, concise and error-free

Hiring managers and recruiters are usually overwhelmed with resumes and cover letters to sift through and manage. Give yourself a leg up by ensuring your resume is easy to read and free of spelling and grammatical errors. Keep the content concise; simplicity goes a long way!

Additionally, hyperlinking to your portfolio or LinkedIn profile is an easy way to preserve space and keep your resume looking clean and easy to navigate.

4. Don't go wild with fonts and colors

Look, even if you're a creative and want to showcase your talents, your resume really isn't the best place to do so. Your portfolio can be stocked with relevant work, but your resume should still be easy to read and formatted to look both modern and professional.

You can add a border to your resume or use some color in a tasteful way, but sticking to a clean and simple resume ensures it will be legible across all platforms. Readability is huge when it comes to creating an effective resume, so make sure any colors you use are easy on the eyes.

5. Incorporate industry keywords

If the job description has certain keywords (and it almost undoubtedly does), your resume needs to have those as well. Many companies today use some sort of method to search for keywords when sorting resumes. This means in order for your resume to even be viewed, you need to include those keywords in your resume.

It can be a tedious process, which is why I suggested having a few different versions of your resume on deck depending on which roles you're applying to. But either way, make sure your resume includes the right keywords for the role. Taking the time to do so is a surefire way to ensure your resume stands out.

Related: 10 Tips for Writing an Impressive Resume

That all said, don't overdo it! Yes, it is possible to "keyword stuff" your resume. While some companies' algorithms initially sift through resumes, the human being eventually reading your resume will be able to see that you stuffed a bunch of keywords into your descriptions. No one likes to see that. Hiring managers have seen enough resumes to last ten lifetimes and can easily see when someone is guilty of keyword stuffing in the hopes of getting past algorithms.

6. Include those metrics!

Anyone can write about or fluff up the role they did while at a company. So, if you want to show hiring managers all that value you can bring to their company, you need to include metrics. Including your quantifiable achievements helps hiring managers get a better idea of the kind of results they can expect from you.

Every industry is different, so if you need help deciding which metrics to include and how they should be included, check out this site that goes into further detail.

7. No need for any trash talk

Unless you've been absurdly lucky throughout your career, it's likely you've had some less-than-ideal experiences at past companies or maybe even at your current one. Do not include negative information or details about anyone or anything, neither in your resume nor in your cover letter.

And, it should go without saying, but you really shouldn't trash talk past or current employers or teammates in your interview. You are above that, and it is never a good look.

8. Create a cover letter that tells your story

While your resume should convey your professional story in the most concise and effective way, your cover letter can really show the hiring manager your professional experiences, accomplishments and how you've grown over the years.

The top three things that must be included in a cover letter are how your work experience meets job requirements, how your skills meet job requirements and the reasons why you want to work at the organization.

Related: 6 Ways to Make Sure Your Resume Gets Read

Your cover letter needs to show the reader that you are just the right person for the job. You don't need to include any hobbies; just stick to showcasing your skillset and how it's relevant to the job.

Keep in mind that hiring managers often see the same phrases and claims over and over again. You can consider using a template and refer to Glassdoor's blog on writing a solid cover letter to make sure your cover letter doesn't sound like everyone else's.

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