10 Tips for Making Your Resume Stand Out From the Competition

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Jul 25, 2018

Jul 25, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Getting your resume into the hands of recruiters, and keeping their attention, can be as tough as winning the lottery. Chances are you're competing with the masses for one position. That's why making your resume stand out from the crowd is key.

It's estimated that 2% of applicants make it to the interview phase. So, with the majority of resumes tossed in the bin, how do you write a resume a recruiter won't want to throw away?

Let's look at 10 tips you can take to create an eye-catching resume that will stand out from your competition.

1. Keep the Resume Appearance Clean and Simple

As tempting as it may be to format your resume with fancy graphics, pictures, and fonts, it's best to keep it simple.

Chances are your resume has to go through a computer screening before it reaches recruiters and hiring managers. And those "extras" can confuse the computers, tossing your resume aside before real eyes have a chance to see it.

Use basic formatting and simple fonts. It may seem boring, but it could be what stands between you and your dream job.

If you want to be flashy, save that for your business card ideas.

2. Show Real Results and Accomplishments

It's easy to state you increased sales or improved customer satisfaction on your resume. But a recruiter will want to know the how's and why's of that.

Give them the facts. Show data and numbers where applicable.

Tell them how you brought value to your past employers. That will give them more insight on how valuable you will be to them.

You can even bold these statements in your resume. It will make it easy for recruiters to see as they're scanning your information.

3. Use Keywords and Key Phrases

Read through the job posting to learn which wording they use to describe the job and skills required. Then mirror those keywords and phrases in your resume.

For example, if they describe needing someone with "strong problem-solving skills," put "strong problem solving" in your resume.

This shows recruiters you have the exact skills and experience they are looking for. It also increases the chances of your resume making it through the initial computer screening.

4. Make Your Resume "Skim-able"

Recruiters have many resumes pass across their desks on a daily basis, they've become experts at skimming information. So now is not the time to pad your resume with a lot of fluff.

Have your resume get straight to the point. Leave out unnecessary words. And merge where possible.

An example of that is if you've held more than one position at one company. Don't list out separate job entries for each. Instead, stack the titles and dates worked starting with your most recent. This quickly shows recruiters that you've been progressively promoted.

5. Research the Hiring Managers

Knowing who you're sending your resume to will give you an advantage in several ways.

First, you'll have a name to put on any cover letters or emails you send. Recruiters always like knowing it's not a generic application and you've done your research.

Second, you can look them up on LinkedIn and get insight into who they are. This may make it easier to tailor your resume in a way that appeals to that particular person.

And third, it shows the recruiter you mean business and don't take the lazy approach to any task.

6. Tailor Your Resume to The Job Description

A resume that looks as if it's written to fit a variety of companies or job postings is not one that will make you stand out.

Anyone can make a generic resume. But those that go the extra mile in tailoring their resume to each job posting will prove their dedication to recruiters.

And it doesn't have to be something that takes a lot of extra time. Write your resume to where you can easily switch out skills, descriptors, and relevant experience.

This is where matching your wording to the job posting shows you're paying attention and focused on that position.

7. Don't Point Out the Obvious

Are you a hard-working, self-motivated individual who is an exceptional team player? Guess what - so is everyone else. Those descriptors show up on resumes so much that they lose their true impact.

Use descriptors that make you stand out from the rest. Lose the vagueness. Make those statements specific to your skills and accomplishments.

By showing exactly how you bring value and problem-solving skills, it will make it easy for recruiters to know you're the right person for the job.

8. Highlight Awards and Recognition

Tooting your own horn on a resume is easy. But when you highlight any awards and recognition given to you by past employers, it shows that others value your hard work. And that will go a long way with recruiters.

Have a separate category on your resume to list all honors, awards, and formal recognition. You can use words such as "elected," "selected," and "recognized."

This is also done by getting quality recommendations. Beef up the recommendations section on your LinkedIn profile, making sure you have a link included on your resume.

9. Save It as a PDF

After you've worked hard on your resume, you want to make sure it gets to the recruiters in the exact format you want it to. That's why saving it as a PDF is so important.

If it's not a PDF, you never know how it's going to show up on the recruiter's computer. Their program may not format your resume in the way you want, causing it to look like a jumbled mess.

Not the impression you want to give.

10. Keep Your Resume Updated

Always keep your resume as up-to-date as possible. As you add new skills, awards, experience, and education get it listed on your resume ASAP.

It could be the difference between getting an interview and not.

Making Your Resume Stand out Will Put That Dream Job Within Reach

Putting the time and effort into making your resume stand out from your competition will get you one step closer to landing the job of your dreams.

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