Updated: Dec 20, 2022
How to write your resume
If you want to stand out from the crowd and convince recruiters that you are the best candidate for the job, your resume should include more than just a listing of your educational qualifications, work experience, and contact information.
Here are some tips you can use to stand out from the crowd and catch the attention of hiring managers.
Include a powerful introduction in your resume.
Hiring managers (especially at larger companies) may have to sift through hundreds of applications every day.
The sooner they see your most important credentials, the less likely they are to overlook your application.
Although this is not a must, we recommend you to start your resume with a complete and concise summary (see in the resume example above), you have the best chance of catching the recruiter's attention as soon as they open your application.
A summary is a short one to five sentence statement placed at the beginning of your resume that lists most important and relevant accomplishments.
Even before the recruiter reads the rest of your resume, the summary gives them a clear picture of your essential qualifications and suitability for the job.
For candidates with some work experience, resume summaries are ideal.
However, if you are writing a resume with no work experience, other introductory formats may better highlight your qualifications.
Target your resume to the industry and job you are seeking.
One of the most acceptable ways to make your resume instantly recognizable to employers is to tailor it to the job you want.
No two job descriptions are truly comparable (even if they are the positions in the same industry) because recruiters develop them with specific skills and experience in mind that they think the best for their own company.
To make your resume stand out, read the job description carefully and look for specific skills or attributes that the recruiter is looking for.
Then use similar wording in the "experience" and "skills" sections of your resume to show the employer that you know what is required for the job.
It may take some time to customize your resume in this way for each job you apply for, but it is one of the best ways to catch the employer's attention and convince them that you are worth inviting for an interview.
Add industry-specific keywords.
An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a type of software that many large companies use to sift through the hundreds of resumes they receive.
The ATS software scans your resume for keywords related to the industry to assess whether you are qualified for the job.
The software immediately rejects your application if it does not find the keywords it is looking for.
Look at the job description and make note of all the skills listed in the requirements section to find the keywords you should use in your resume.
Then mention these skills as often as possible on your resume. These are usually specific technical skills required for the job or relevant credentials.
If you use these keywords liberally, your resume will stand out from those of other applicants.
It is more likely that your application will be accepted by the ATS software and embraced by a recruiter because you appear to be an outstanding candidate who is perfect for the job.
However, the inclusion of keywords alone does not make your resume ATS-friendly. For computers and people to easily understand the content of your resume, its structure must also be easy to read and logical.
Be concise and transparent.
Some of the most common mistakes made when building resume include listing every position you have ever held and using overly flowery language to describe your past duties.
Hiring managers have a limited amount of time to review your application.
Every second they waste reading filler is time they could be spending learning more about your background, talents, and certifications.
Be brief and only include extremely relevant information about the job if you want your resume to stand out. Resume templates may be a good start in your resume building process instead of from scratch on a Word document.
Also, to help companies get an up-to-date picture of your experience, cross out any positions you held more than ten years ago.
You can quickly highlight your most important qualifications while keeping your resume to a manageable page by being brief and focusing on your most recent, relevant experience; this, in turn, will make any hiring manager's job easier.
Here is a resume example for a graphic designer:
Include numbers in the bullet points in your experience section.
Employers like to hear from applicants who have a proven track record of success in previous positions.
Your resume will show potential employers what you have accomplished if you include hard statistics along with some bullet points.
In addition, concrete data gives employers a clear picture of what you can do for them.
For example, if you are looking for a sales associate or manager position, you could say “Increased the sales by 20% year over year for 4 years in a row”, or if you are a teacher “Closed the achievement gap of subgroups by 25% in 3 years”.
These kinds of numbers are the best to help you distinguish yourself from the crowd and will definitely catch the eye of the recruiters.
Use a meaningful verb at the beginning of each bullet point.
Most job seekers describe their past employment with passive verbs such as "responsible for" or "assigned to."
These words do not highlight your professional accomplishments and often do not give hiring managers a positive image of you as a strong candidate.
Begin each bullet point on your resume with a meaningful action verb that highlights an accomplishment you have made to make it stand out.
Using wording like this on your resume will allow you to be more proactive and demonstrate your abilities in a work environment to potential employers.
Some action verbs for your accomplishments could include:
Attained, Accomplished, saved, demonstrated, exceeded, managed, proposed, inspected, monitored, verified, authored, coauthored, documented, drafted, wrote, outlined, presented, analyzed, audited, built, structured, evaluated, explored, investigated, measured, reported, tested, advised, coached, educated, recommended, negotiated, secured, directed, enabled, facilitated, guided, recruited, supervised, managed, trained, converted, redesigned, reorganized, recreated, transformed, decreased, increased, gained, generated, developed, initiated, improved, launched, administered, implemented, chaired, coordinated, planned, programmed.
Show your competence in remote work.
Since the outbreak of COVID -19, many companies have moved to hybrid or fully remote work schedules.
Even if you do not work remotely, the ability to work independently and be comfortable with remote work tools like Zoom or Microsoft Teams are special skills in today's industry.
The ability to adapt to a remote work environment can help your resume stand out from other candidates with similar qualities and convince the hiring manager to schedule an interview with you.
Should you have a cover letter?
The answer is almost always yes. If you are applying online and cannot attach any other documents to your application, you should still include your cover letter whenever possible.
Your cover letter is an opportunity to introduce yourself and explain why you are the perfect candidate for the job. It is also an opportunity to demonstrate your writing skills.
To read our article on How to write the best cover letter here.
Create a contemporary resume with Canva
The ideal approach to crafting your resume changes, even if the right way to write a resume does not.
Updating your resume with a chic new resume template in Canva is one way to stand out and catch the attention of employers.
Add some colorful splashes to your resume and experiment with more creative resume headings if you are looking for a job in a creative industry like graphic design or advertising. Canva has the ton of resume examples and resume templates that get you started.
If you are in a more conventional industry like finance, go for a safe, sleek look (and perhaps ditch Times New Roman in favor of a more modern sans-serif font for your resume).
You can make your application stand out and make a good impression on employers simply by changing the look of your resume template.
Signup Canva to get started.
You may also use resume builder websites where you can enter your information and automatically build your resume. There usually resume examples for variety of jobs and cover letters that will help you build resume and cover letter with no hassle.
Disclaimer: The link (Canva) mentioned above is an affiliate link, and I may earn a commission from them at no cost to you when you purchase from them. Regardless, I only recommend products I believe will tremendously help my readers.