7 Tips: Make Your Resume Stand Out
When it comes to crafting a strong resume, there are many places to go right and wrong. Here are seven of our most important tips:
1. Be brief.
Your resume should not fill more than one single-sided page. When discussing your work or volunteer experience, try to be as concise as possible while still communicating the specific tasks you have done. You can do this by using bullet points and not full sentences, as well as omitting words like “a” and “the.” Also, try to include information that portrays what you believe is the most important for an employer and less information on what does not directly relate to your skills.
For example, instead of saying “I was the leader of project X with company Y,” instead try “led project X for company Y.”
2. Be professional.
Your resume should be entirely about your employment and other relevant experience such as education or volunteering. This document has little to do with your personal life, so we do not suggest mentioning personal information such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, or religion. Please do mention your name (and pronouns), email, phone number, and permanent address as these are important for your employer to know.
3. Organization is key!
According to psychological studies, the first and last sections on a document are what readers remember most! Use this to your advantage. Also, within every section on your resume, you should sort each experience in "reverse chronological order," which means the most recent experience should be at the top of the section following with other experiences in order of most recent to least recent. When writing out these experiences. treat them as a newspaper headline and use bullet points below the headline to summarize relevant information.
4. Avoid relating any information that can be used against you.
Every single one of us has weak points, made mistakes, and experienced bad luck. However, the resume is not the place to relay this information. The resume is a brag sheet, it is about showing off your strengths. If you had less than a 3.0 GPA in high school or college, or had an ugly experience at a past job, don’t mention it! Try to include only things that reflect upon you in a positive light.
5. Maximize your hits.
Nowadays, many people scan resumes looking for key phrases in a specific industry. Make sure you understand the important qualifications of the industry you are applying for, and include key phrases for that. These phrases depend on the industry, but it can be anything from a specific certification to knowledge of Microsoft Excel. The bottom line is this: spell out your qualifications simply in a “skills” portion of your resume to generate hits.
6. Format your resume to the expected standards.
In your resume, you should use a standard font such as Arial or Times New Roman, one that is both widely used and easy to read. Stick to 10-12 pt. font size, 1” left and right margins, and .5 to 1” top and bottom margins. Standardizing your resume will ensure that you are not immediately thrown out of the pile for improper formatting. When necessary, use bold for important words such as your name and key skill, and italics or underlining for job titles.
7. Use strong language!
When detailing a past experience, use strong active verbs such as those in the list below. Your resume does not have to only utilize these verbs, but they are an easy way to make your resume stronger and more confident.
Active verb list:
accelerated accomplished achieved administered advised aided allocated amplified analyzed answered approved arbitrated arranged assumed augmented automated broadened built calculated catalogued classified compiled completed computed conceptualized conducted constructed controlled coordinated counseled created decreased demonstrated designed developed devised directed distributed drafted eliminated employed established evaluated examined expanded expedited facilitated founded generated guided handled headed identified implemented improved improvised incorporated influenced initiated innovated instituted introduced investigated launched led maintained managed mentored modified monitored negotiated observed operated organized overhauled performed planned prepared presented preserved produced programmed promoted published recorded recruited reduced reinforced reorganized represented researched restructured revamped revised scheduled structured supervised supported trained tutored unified utilized volunteered worked wrote.
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