How to Make a Resume Stand Out
An employer will form a first impression of you based on your resume and use it to assess your fit for the job. Your resume is only one page long, so you must choose what information about yourself is most important. Remember that employers can ask you about anything you put on your resume, so be prepared to discuss the jobs, programs, and experience that you list. After you have created what you consider the best version of your resume, read this guide to make your resume truly stand out even more.
Polishing Your Resume Format
Be consistent.Your resume is a visual presentation of you professionally, and inconsistent formatting can distract your reader from understanding who you are. In addition, consistent formatting shows that you are neat and pay attention to detail.
- Use the same font throughout your resume. Times New Roman and Georgia are good serif fonts, and Arial and Calibri are good sans-serif fonts.
- Use the same size font throughout your resume: size 12. The one exception can be your name, located at the top of the page.
- Italicize, bold, and underline parallel items on your resume. For example, you can underline all the subtitles on your resume or italicize all contact information.
- Your font, font size, and other resume choices should match your cover letter and all other material you are sending in. Mismatching fonts or color schemes can distract a reader.
Double check your heading.The heading should have your name and contact phone number, email address, and physical address at the top of your resume.
- If you have a LinkedIn profile or website, include the URL.
- Make your heading visually appealing: you want your employer to be able to identify and contact you easily.
- If applicable, write a career objective that conveys your passion to work in the particular field or job. This career objective should connect your resume to the job you are applying for.
Make your resume computer-friendly.Many companies do not bother to print out resumes, so they must be able to read your resume on a computer screen.
- Most companies accept resumes in PDF or Microsoft Word file format, but you should double check before sending your resume in.
- If there are any URL’s listed on your resume, make them accessible hyperlinks and color them blue or black.
Fine-Tuning Your Content
Edit out irrelevant content.Your resume is only a page long, and so it should list activities that are directly relevant to the position in question.
- List activities on your resume according to relevance and significance for the job: most significant on top, and least significant near the bottom.
- Even if you are really good at something, if it is not relevant to the job and your resume is out of space, do not put it on your resume.
- Have someone proofread your resume. If he or she cannot tell immediately why a certain experience is relevant, either specify on your resume, or take the experience off your resume.
Link your resume to appropriate supplementary material.In your resume, you can reference previous projects or papers you have done. Make sure that the information in your resume is consistent with the actual project or paper. Especially for artistic disciplines, a portfolio is often included with a resume.
List activities you can speak about.Your resume is a written introduction to you, and an employer can ask you about anything you write there. Be prepared to justify to others every experience you put on your resume.
Include data on your success.For each experience, specifying how many products you shipped, how much money you fundraised, or other quantities can help an employer better understand your work experience. It helps your employer trust your resume.
- Being able to recall specific numbers shows you pay attention to detail and care about past performance.
- Only include the data of your outcomes if it was successful.
Perfecting Your Diction
Use spell check.Spelling and grammar errors are simple and necessary to fix. If you are unsure of the spelling of a word, use spell check on your computer or look it up in a dictionary.
- Spell proper nouns and names correctly. For example, it can be easy to misspell the names of people, institutions, awards, and locations.
Use action verbs.Edit your sentences so that your verbs are consistent and add color to your work experience.
- All verbs should be in the same tenses. Write about previous projects in the past tense, but the description of a job function or institution in the present tense.
- All verbs should be in the active, not passive, voice.
- Use verbs that match or are synonymous with some verbs on the job description you are applying for.
Read your resume out loud.If there are any words or phrases that do not flow naturally, try to rephrase your information to make it easier to read.
- Have as many people read your resume as possible. Preferably, these people are in the same industry or job function as what you’re applying for, and so they know what to expect.
- For a printed copy of your resume, use high quality, thick paper.
- Some employers cannot accept certain personal information on your resume for equal employment opportunity reasons, depending on your area’s employment laws. Know whether it is appropriate to include your birth date, a head shot, and gender.
- Know what characteristics the employee wants in its new hire: leadership, team collaboration, and attention to detail are a few examples. Try to emphasize these traits when describing your accomplishments.
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