//Ris Adams;

How to make your resume stand out from the crowd

Cover image for How to make your resume stand out from the crowd.

Job hunting is challenging these days. Employers get flooded with applications for every opening and may spend as little as ten seconds screening each resume.

Here are some suggestions to help your resume stand out from the crowd and ensure that you get called in for an interview.

Formatting Your Resume

  1. Hit the highlights first. Put your most essential data on top right after your name and contact information. A brief and compelling summary of your qualifications and skills will get the reviewer’s attention and display what you can do for the company based on your credentials and accomplishments.
  2. Err on the conservative side. Take it easy on the formatting tricks. Use bold and italics sparingly so that the text is easy to read. A clean and professional appearance is usually the safest approach.
  3. Be consistent. Make your document easy to scan. For example, use a consistent layout that makes your resume easy to follow and find all the critical information at a glance, like company names, dates, job titles, and accomplishments.
  4. Leave lots of white space. It’s good to keep your resume to one page but even better if you do that while maintaining standard margins and 11 point fonts. Use bullets and leave some space between lines to make your resume look more inviting to reviewers.
  5. Consider a combination format. You may hear some experts advising that you use a functional design to stress skills rather than your work history. However, surveys show that many employers still want to see the conventional reverse chronology, so try using both in two different sections to cover all your bases.
  6. Take the multimedia route. Consider supplementing your traditional paper resume with a video or other digital content. For example, give people a link to your professional website or blog or use your LinkedIn Profile.

Writing Your Resume

  1. Emphasize keywords. Read the job posting carefully and integrate the keywords into your resume. If your resume gets screened by an automatic tracking system, this will help it rank higher than others.
  2. Customize your resume for each employer. These days, the competitive job market favors personalizing your resume as much as possible. Try to adapt your language to what you know about the company’s culture and the kind of candidate they’re seeking while still being authentic about your true identity.
  3. Quantify your accomplishments. The contribution you made in previous jobs is likely to be the most critical factor in helping you get your next job offer. Focus on how you improved procedures, cut costs, won awards, earned promotions, or brought in new business.
  4. Use action words. As you describe your accomplishments, try to start each bullet with a verb. You will sound more dynamic, and your resume will be more interesting to read.
  5. Be concise. Try to pack lots of information into as few words as possible. Avoid any repetition or empty jargon. Keep your sentences short.
  6. Proofread everything. Print out a copy of your resume to proofread. Read it backward word by word. Allow at least one friend or family member to read your resume because a fresh pair of eyes may spot typos that have become invisible to you.

The job market is tough, but a resume that looks good and quickly demonstrates your most vital selling points could help you rise to the top of the stack. Give yourself the best chance to succeed by crafting a resume that will make your prospective employer want to learn more about you.