How to Make Your Resume Stand Out
In today’s competitive job market, a well-crafted CV can make all the difference in landing your dream job. With hiring managers often inundated with applications, you have to stand out and make a strong first impression. And you don’t need a professional resume writer for that!
Follow these essential steps–from choosing the best resume format to getting professional photos in our AI headshot generator–and make the perfect CV that will catch the hiring manager’s eye and set you on the path to success.
1. Understand the Purpose of Your CV and Tailor It
Before you start crafting your resume, define your primary objective.
And no, ‘I want to get a well-paid job’ won’t do as an objective.
Quite often, your main goal is to impress your potential employers. Your resume serves as a marketing tool, showcasing your qualifications, skills, and experiences, so make sure to include what’s relevant and what’s expected from you in this position. Carefully choose what relevant jobs and what number of them to highlight in your resume for the best effect.
Customize your CV for each application. A one-size-fits-all approach rarely works, so don’t use one and the same resume for multiple jobs. Instead, tailor it to the specific requirements of each job description–to demonstrate your genuine interest and increase your chances of getting noticed.
2. Choose Your Resume Format
The two most common formats are:
- Chronological: This format lists your professional experience in reverse chronological order (i.e. starting with the most recent job). It’s ideal if you have a strong work history in the same field and want to emphasize your career progression.
Functional: A functional resume focuses on your skills and qualifications rather than your work history and job descriptions. It’s suitable if you have gaps in your employment history, are changing careers, or want to highlight specific skills relevant to the job.
Please note: many hiring managers may not like a functional CV, since it’s often thought of as a way to conceal information, bloat your qualifications, and hide your lack of experience.
3. Make Your Resume Header and Preface Strong
The header is the first thing recruiters see–make it count! There is little room, so be brief and simply include your name, phone number, email address, and, if relevant, your LinkedIn profile or portfolio website. Ensure that your contact information is current and avoid unnecessary info like your Discord or Facebook profile–no hiring manager will need that.
Then, to the preface. Recruiters often spend only a few seconds scanning each resume, so keep it concise, focusing on the most relevant information.
Begin the body of your CV with a professional summary or objective statement. This brief paragraph should concisely summarize your relevant qualifications and career goals. Remember to tailor it to the specific job you’re applying for and emphasize what you can bring to the role.
4. Highlight All Important Skills
After your brief summary statement, create a section that highlights your soft and technical skills. Showcase your strengths and make it easy for recruiters to identify your qualifications. To make the skill section more readable, use bullet points and be specific.
5. Detail Your Work Experience
It’s the heart of your resume! Here’s how to make it shine:
- Use action words: When describing the accomplishments in your previous positions, begin each bullet point with a strong action verb (e.g., ‘managed’, ‘implemented’, ‘achieved’).
- Quantify your achievements: Whenever possible, quantify the concrete examples of your accomplishments with specific numbers or percentages. For instance, ‘Increased sales revenue by 20% in six months.’
- Tailor your content: Yes, this tip again (because it’s crucial). To make the best resume, customize this section for each job application by emphasizing the relevant experience and achievements.
- Focus on impact: Highlight how your work positively impacted your previous employers or organizations overall. Recruiters are interested in results.
6. Include Relevant Education
List your educational background, including the name of the institution, the degree earned, and the graduation date.
If you’re a recent graduate or have limited work experience, include relevant coursework, academic projects, or extracurricular activities to bolster this section.
7. Incorporate Additional Sections
Depending on your background and the next job you’re applying for, you may want to include additional sections such as:
- Certifications and licenses: List anything relevant to the job duties.
- Languages: If you’re proficient in languages other than your native tongue, mention them here to make a great resume even better.
- Volunteer work: Highlight any volunteer experiences demonstrating skills or qualities valuable to the new job.
- Professional memberships: Mention any memberships in industry-related associations.
- Hobbies and interests: This section can provide a glimpse of your personality and interests, but keep it brief and relevant.
8. Some Finishing Strokes
To ensure your CV gets through every applicant tracking system to a hiring manager and catches their eye over all other candidates, make it reader-friendly:
- Use relevant keywords: Many employers use applicant tracking systems to scan and filter resumes, so tailor yours to include keywords from the job description.
- Include a cover letter, even if you have no experience. Many job seekers skip this part. You shouldn’t.
- Use standard fonts: Stick to easy-to-read fonts like Arial or Calibri.
- Avoid excessive formatting: Keep your resume clean and avoid using complex structures like tables or graphics.
- Save your resume as a PDF: Thus your formatting remains consistent across different devices.
9. Proofread to Make a Good Resume Perfect
Before submitting your CV, thoroughly proofread it for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Consider asking a friend or colleague to review it as well. The perfect resume is well-polished and error-free, which reflects your attention to detail and professionalism.
Also, don’t make it too long: limit your CV to two pages, concentrating on the most relevant info. Better yet, make it one page.
10. Use a Professional-Looking Headshot
It’ll help make a more visually appealing CV. A well-chosen headshot provides a visual cue to the hiring manager, putting a face to your qualifications.
And today, you don’t even need to spend dozens of dollars on getting it. To save money and time, consider getting professional AI headshots online.
Standout Resume: A Quick Wrap-Up
Follow these tips, and you’ll see that crafting an outstanding CV isn’t nearly as difficult as it sounds! In fact, you can do it better than any resume builder. Even if you invest just a little time and effort in writing a solid resume, it may well grab the hiring manager’s attention and open the door to exciting career opportunities. Good luck in your job search!