How to Make Your Resume Stand Out

Computer on a desk with a notepad for writing a resume
Want the upper hand when applying for a job? Learn the top tips to make your resume stand out!

Once a job is posted, recruiters begin to receive dozens of resumes. For popular or entry-level positions, a company may receive hundreds, or even thousands of applications. When your resume is competing for attention, what can you do to make it stand out?

  1. Use an eye-catching resume template.
  2. Make your resume clear and easy to read.
  3. Include a cover letter.
  4. Proofread, proofread, proofread!
  5. Make sure you’re qualified for the position.

Use an Eye-Catching Template

If you want your resume to jump out of the pile, you need something that will immediately and obviously set it apart. Recruiters are human – colors and interesting templates will catch their attention. Follow these 3 key rules when picking a resume template:

  1. Stick to one font. Bold your headers to make them stand out.
  2. Choose a template that uses a single color as an accent. Make sure the color is easy to see – no neons or pastels.
  3. Stick to simple. You want to have more white space than bulky paragraphs. Make sure it’s easy to find each section.

Make Your Resume Easy to Read

Speaking of simple, remember that studies estimate the average time a recruiter spends looking at a resume is six seconds. If your resume looks like a page out of a book rather than an easy to read overview of your experience, it’ll probably be passed over. When you’re deciding what experience to include, keep the following in mind:

  1. Does it relate to the job you’re applying for?
  2. Focus on achievements rather than job duties.
  3. Make everything fit on one page. (Try using columns)
  4. You must include: name, contact info, experience, education/licenses, and location.

Include a Cover Letter

Sometimes, a little extra effort can end up going a long way. If you’re really interested in the job, include a cover letter with your resume. (Bonus points if your cover letter template matches your resume template!) Use the cover letter to explain how your skills and experience are what the recruiter is searching for. Pull keywords and phrases from the organization’s job description and include them in your letter.

Proofread, Proofread, Proofread

If you ignore every other tip from this article, do not ignore this: PROOFREAD your resume and cover letter. Copy and paste it into Google Translate and have your computer read it back to you, or paste it into Grammarly and let the editor fix your mistakes. Recruiters have a hundred resumes but only one job to fill – they’re looking for reasons to disqualify candidates… Don’t hand them one.

Apply to Jobs You’re Qualified for

Last, but not least, an easy way to make sure your resume gets noticed is to apply for positions you’re qualified for. Read the job description and required qualifications. If you feel like you could do the job well with the skills and education you currently have, apply! If you think the recruiter may need help understanding how your specific experience would benefit their organization, explain it to them in a cover letter.

Job hunting is hard. You may not hear back from the first, or tenth, job you apply for, but don’t let that discourage you. Keep working on your resume and applying – your next job is out there!

Best of luck!

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