Making Your Resume Stand Out: Five Key Tips and Examples

The job market offers plenty of opportunities for new job seekers. Here are five tips to help your job application stand out for your next job search.

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By Ho Lin 4 minute read

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Make Your Resume Stand Out

If you want to make your resume stand out, you need to put time into customizing and adapting it to fit your needs as well as the recruiter’s needs. Your job search doesn’t have to be difficult or frustrating. If you’re able to follow a few resume writing tips, you can find your next job more easily. Here are a few tried-and-true ways to make your resume stand out in a crowded job market.

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Structuring Your Resume

Hiring managers pay attention to every part of a resume, including how it’s organized. If you want to make your resume as effective as possible, you need to structure your resume according to common standards.

Contact information

The first component of a resume is the resume header. This is at the very top of your resume, and it’s where you put your full name, your contact information, and links to all of your professional social media profiles, such as your LinkedIn profile. 

Resume summary

The next section is your resume summary. This is a 2-3 sentence paragraph that touches on your best skills and work achievements thus far. A hiring manager should be able to read the summary and understand the major reasons why you’re suited to the job. 

Skills

Your skills section will usually be a list of bullet points, including both hard skills, sometimes called technical skills, and soft skills (also known as intangible skills). Hard skills are skills that relate to the technical aspects of how to do your job, while soft skills are about your personality. Both are important. Hard skills impact your ability to do tasks in your job, while soft skills are important because they allow you to collaborate with others and incorporate them into the company culture.

Work experience

List your current and previous jobs in reverse-chronological order, with the most recent position first. Include several bullet points underneath each job explaining the major duties and accomplishments of the job.

Education

Include your highest academic achievement (e.g., college degree and major). If you don’t have any college experience, you can include when you graduated high school, but this information is unnecessary for college graduates. People without much work experience may also want to include academic achievements and relevant coursework in this section.

Top Five Resume Writing Tips

You don’t need to be a professional resume writer if you want to write a great resume. It’s a great start just to follow these five top writing tips.

Pull keywords from the job description 

Recruiters get dozens, if not hundreds, of job applications for every open position. This is why the applicant tracking system (ATS) was invented. These systems scan every job application, looking for keywords and automatically rejecting the resumes that don’t have enough keywords. Those keywords usually come straight from the job posting (e.g., specific skills and job requirements), which means that the more keywords you can address in your own resume, the better the likelihood of a hiring manager reading your resume. 

Only include relevant experience 

Your resume typically needs to be one page or shorter. While two-page resumes exist, they’re typically reserved for very experienced positions. That means you should be concise, and work history is one of the best places to do so. In this case, relevant experience means within the last 10 years, listing specific job skills you’ll also use at this job. 

Use metrics

Using quantitative metrics makes it easier for a hiring manager to understand your accomplishments. In a hiring manager’s mind, the difference between “Stellar sales leader” and “Led a team of six to $1m in sales over six months” is monumental.

Include certifications

If you have specific certifications, you can create a separate certifications section within your resume. These certifications can help you stand out from other job seekers in your industry, especially if they’re not industry-standard.

Personalize your resume for every job

A general resume template is important to start your journey toward a new job. However, you should see this as a starting resume format to build on top of. You shouldn’t see this as your end goal. It’s important to personalize each resume to the specific job you’re applying for. Not only will this help with ATS, but it can also help the hiring manager not feel like your resume is a cookie-cutter.

Skip any inclusion or mention of references

Your references won’t matter until later in the application process. Including them on your resume or even adding an “resume references available upon request” line is merely using up page space needlessly. If your potential employer requests references with the application, send them in a separate document.

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FAQs: Make Your Resume Stand Out

Have questions? We’re here to help.

There are many different visual designs you can use for a professional resume: a creative resume, a simple resume, a modern resume and many other different styles. The best way to make your resume stand out visually is to use a resume template that looks clean and polished. ResumeHelp resume templates are a great starting point.

You should write a cover letter. A cover letter is a crucial component of showcasing everything about yourself, including going more in-depth into experiences and skills that fit what the employer needs. Use the ResumeHelp cover letter builder if you aren’t confident in your ability to write your cover letter.

You don’t have to be perfect at creating resumes to create an outstanding resume. The best tool to craft a professional resume is the ResumeHelp resume builder, which provides expert suggestions and step-by-step instructions to create a strong resume. It’s also a great way to create as many resumes as you need.

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WRITTEN BY Ho Lin

Ho Lin is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and editor with two decades of experience in content strategy, creation, and development. He holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University and his background includes experience aiding military veterans as they transition to civilian careers.

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