How to Make Your Resume Stand Out (Hint: Not What You Think)

The internet is an amazing resource, but sometimes it can feel like the endless amount of information is overwhelming and contradictory.

Think about your resume as a form of advertisement. A very important piece of advertisement with the purpose of getting you an interview. With that understanding, you want your resume to stand out in the pile of hundreds of resumes. Learn how to make your resume stand out using the tips below. It’s probably not what you think either.

Present your leadership skills

Leadership can look like a variety of things, it does not necessarily mean your role was to manage people. Think about the introverted leadership skills you presented and how it benefited the company. For example, on a project you noticed your team members were overlapping in tasks because of constant miscommunication, so you decided to introduce the team to a task managing platform you used at a previous job and take the time to train each person to learn how to use it. This eventually streamlined communication and people were no longer overwhelmed and overlapping on tasks. This is leadership!

Think about all the ways you contributed to your team, maybe it’s the types of listening skills you possess or your ability to plan effectively. Take these and turn them into concise bullet points that present you as a leader with real examples.

Use Action Verbs

Each bullet point within your work experience section should begin with an action verb that illustrates your responsibilities and achievements. Provide as much contextual information as possible to help hiring managers understand the scope of the work you did. You should use industry-specific vocabulary to demonstrate your experience.

Here are some examples of action verbs you can consider on your resume. There are plenty of online resources that provide a laundry list of verbs to use.

If you need some examples to get your resume started, Resume Builder has a variety of sample resumes for different job titles. They also have a new tool to build your resume. Either way, creating your resume content is important.

Quantify your experience

Quantify your experience and contributions wherever possible. You can do this by describing the number of customers you assisted, providing the number of employees you managed, or dollar amount you contributed to sales for the companies you’ve worked at. It’s okay if you do not remember the exact number. For example, if you cannot remember the exact number of employees you managed over the span of 7 years at your previous job. Provide a range to the best of your knowledge. It’s best to use numerals instead of spelling out numbers to make it easier to read and catch.

Below are a couple of examples of weak statements turned into strong statements using metrics.

Weak

Drafted and provided success stories to grant writer to use in our proposal

Strong

Collaborate with the grant writer to draft 6 success stories to include in our $200,000 grant proposal

Weak

Reviewed guidelines and assisted with training current employees to effectively review applications

Strong

Developed guidelines and trainings to inform 20-30 current employees on reviewing applications, effectively reducing backlog by 85%

Diversify your vocabulary

Use a variety of words, stray away from repeating the same words. Do a search of your resume file and check for action verbs used more than twice. If you have several action verbs repeating more than twice, do a search for synonyms and swap it out for one that makes sense.

Include a Professional Header 

This could be a title or a brief summary section. Choose one depending on your experience, if you have extensive experience in an industry, add a summary section. If you have 0-3 years of experience in an industry, go with a title. Whichever you choose, it should match the description of the professional they seek. For example, if you have 5 years of experience in Software Engineering and the position you are applying for is a Software Engineer, include a brief description like the one drafted below.

Summary: Software Engineer with 5+ years of providing quality design, development, and support of internal tools and dashboards. Strong troubleshooting and problem-solving skills with an analytical mindset.

If you are new to the field with 0-3 years of experience include a Title.

For example: Jane Doe | Software Engineer.

Include your LinkedIn URL

Only include your LinkedIn if you have taken the time to set it up. Meaning, you have a professional headshot as a profile picture, summary, your work history is listed and you have made connections. This is a great way for them to learn more about you, your work experience, and your skills. You may have left out some less relevant information from your resume to ensure you stay at one-page and your LinkedIn profile can show those parts. Additionally, they can see your likes and interests at the bottom of your profile, making you more personable.

Customize your LinkedIn Profile URL to reflect your name, instead of random numbers and characters. Here is a before and after example.

Before:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jane-doe-547681108/

Here are instructions directly from Linkedin.

After:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jane-doe

Design your Resume 

When designing your resume, still keep it simple and clean. Be careful with this. Designing a resume is a great way to catch a human’s attention but software will be unimpressed. Either way, it is nice to have a design version of your resume so that when you do apply through email or pass along your resume to someone when networking, you have it on hand. Canva is a great tool but there are other resources you can use as well. Additionally, limit your design to a soft solid color. Do not use a variety of colors or fonts. Limit your infographics and always use a standard font. If you are applying for a creative position, your resume should be a great way to show your creativity and skills. In this case, be liberal and use your experience to showcase your talents.

Align your resume 

It’s all in the details to create a stellar resume.  All of your dates, headings, bullets, etc. should align with one another. Misaligned resumes are a quick way to communicate with a hiring manager that you may not be the most detail-oriented person.

Good Luck

Take the time to review your resume and if it fulfills any or all of the suggestions above. It always helps to have someone else review your resume. It can be challenging, especially when you are continuously tailoring your resume for each role you apply to.

Prepory has an entire team dedicated to making your resume stand out. Schedule a free consultation if you are ready to land your dream job. 

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At Prepory, we recognize there is more to college applications than demonstrating interest. Contact us now to learn more about how we can guide you through each part of the college admissions process!