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Applying for a Job? This is Exactly How to Write a Winning Resume

how to make a resume stand out crash course

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how to make a resume stand out crash course

I don’t think anyone enjoys writing resumes. They can feel like pointless exercises in self-glorification at best, and exercises in the fine art of b.s. at worst. You have to take all the things you’ve done over the past 1-5 years and condense them into a 1-page document that will (hopefully) convince a person with hiring power to give you a job.

With all this pressure, all this confusion, it’s easy to just plug some random facts about yourself into one of those online resume generators and call it a day.

But it doesn’t have to be like that.

I can’t promise you that I can make writing a resume fun, but I can show you how to do it as painlessly as possible. More importantly, I can show you how to write the resume that will cut through the stack of hundreds (or thousands) and get you that job, internship, or other opportunity you want.

In today’s post, I’m going to give you the lowdown on resumes. I’ll start with an explanation of what a resume is and why it’s important. Then, I’ll cover some common questions about resumes. Finally, I’ll show you how to create the perfect resume for the position you’re applying for (and how to stand out from the crowd).

Let’s get started!

What Is a Resume?

As I was researching this article, I realized that I didn’t know anything about the history of the resume. It’s such an accepted part of life these days that, much like the internet or pizza bagels, it’s easy to forget that it’s a recent invention.

Of course, how recent of an invention it is depends on what you define as a “resume”. The word comes from the French résumé , meaning “summary”. If we define a resume as a summary of job skills and experience, then the first resume dates from a letter that Leonardo da Vinci wrote to a potential employer between 1481 and 1482.

Resumes as we know them today, however, didn’t come into existence until the mid-twentieth century. By the 1970s, they looked much the way they do today: professionally formatted summaries of skills and experience that were expected with any job application. 

Before this point, resumes did exist, but they were much more informal, often scribbled on scraps of paper. They also included information that would be, well, inappropriate on a modern resume such as height, weight, marital status, and religion.

To read a full, ahem,  résumé  of the resume’s history, check out this timeline from Business Insider .

So what purpose does a resume serve these days? After all, can’t potential employers just look up your skills and experience on your personal website or LinkedIn profile?

They can, and in some cases job applications will require you to apply with your LinkedIn profile. And it’s always a good idea to include a link to your personal website as part of your resume.

Still, the resume as a standalone document remains a key part of most job applications.

So why is your resume so important? Let’s have a more detailed look.

Why Resumes Are Important

office full of workers

Resumes matter because they show a potential employer two crucial things:

1. A Quick Summary of Your Experience

This is the most obvious function of the resume, but from an employer’s perspective it’s invaluable. If a job lists specific experience requirements or a minimum GPA, then it’s easy to filter out resumes that don’t include them.

It can also show the breadth of experience you have and even, in some cases, signal your qualifications. Someone who went to a prestigious school or interned at a prestigious company, for example, looks like a more qualified candidate (even if that isn’t actually the case).

2. Your Writing Skills

You might think that a cover letter is the best demonstration of your writing skills to a potential employer, but your resume also showcases key writing abilities.

It displays your ability to condense a large body of information into a concise, 1-page document.

It shows that you can organize information in a logical manner.

And, of course, a resume that’s free of spelling and grammatical errors shows that you’re careful enough to proofread and pay attention to details (more on the importance of proofreading later on).

5 Sections That Every Resume Should Include

We get into the nitty-gritty details of resume creation later in this guide. But if you just need a quick primer on what sections your resume should have (and what to include in each section), here’s a brief breakdown:

1. Work Experience

Your work experience is crucial for helping a potential employer decide if you’re qualified for the job.

When listing work experience, we recommend you use the following format:

  • Name of company
  • City and state of company (and the country, if the job was outside your home country)
  • Title of your position
  • Dates you worked at the company (month and year is fine; no need to include specific days)
  • Bullet points explaining what you achieved at the company

Here’s what this looks like in a real resume:

Resume work experience section

Filling in most of this information is easy, but the bullet points explaining your achievements are where some people run into trouble.

Specifically, many people make the mistake of just describing their “official” job duties. However, this tells a potential employer  nothing about what you actually did at the company.

To make this information more useful, highlight your  achievements,  not your duties. If you can include numbers and statistics to back up what you achieved, all the better.

For instance, take a look at Thomas’s sample resume. He doesn’t just say, “Built a YouTube channel.” You could say that even if you had a channel with zero subscribers.

Instead, he gets specific and says, “Built a YouTube channel with 1.4 million subscribers and 63 million total views. ”

Work experience with statistics highlighted

If I were a potential employer, those numbers would get my attention. I’d want to interview such a candidate just to hear more about  how  they managed to get so many views and subscribers.

Note:  In addition to formal “jobs” at companies, your Experience section can also include any cool personal projects you want to highlight (such as your website ).

2. Education

Up next, you should include a section summarizing your  highest level of education.  That’s right — if you went to college, then no one cares where you went to high school. The only exception is if you have a master’s or professional degree. In that case, put that  before  your undergrad info.

Here’s the format we recommend for listing your education:

  • Name of educational institution
  • City/state of school (and country if you earned the degree abroad)
  • Degree you earned, followed by the field you earned it in
  • Date you earned your degree (if you’re a recent graduate)
  • GPA (optional)

Here’s an example:

Resume Education section

In general, I don’t recommend including your GPA if it’s lower than a 3.2 . If you include a low GPA, you’re unnecessarily making a bad impression.

The skills section is your chance to showcase anything you can do that would make you more qualified for the job. To list your skills, just use this format:

  • Category of skill: Specific skill name

Here’s an example Skills section:

Resume Skills section

When writing the Skills section, the most important things to keep in mind are:

  • Make sure the skill is  relevant —  If you’re applying for a job in corporate HR, for instance, then your spearfishing certification doesn’t matter.
  • Make sure it’s actually a  skill  — Specifically, you want to include  hard skills . Examples include software you can use, languages you can speak , and processes you know how to perform. Leave out soft skills, such as “good communicator” or “great leader.” You can demonstrate these during the interview .

For more tips on skills, skip to this section of the article .

4. Extracurriculars and Leadership

If you just graduated, then this is a chance to add some additional experiences that weren’t technically “work” but that are relevant to the job.

This section can include formal extracurriculars and leadership positions at your university/in your community.

When listing extracurriculars and clubs, just use this format:

  • Name of club and name of leadership position (if applicable), followed by the years you were in the club/held the position

Here’s an example Extracurriculars and Leadership section:

Resume Extracurriculars and Leadership section

5. Honors and Awards

This last section is a chance to showcase any impressive honors or awards you received while you were in college (or even outside of college).

Here are some examples of things to include in this section:

  • Scholarships
  • Honor roll/dean’s list
  • Fellowships/research grants
  • Honor societies

If the honors and awards are relevant to the job, that’s even better. For instance, if you’re applying for an engineering position and you were part of your school’s engineering honor society, that’s definitely something to include.

Here’s an example Honors and Awards section:

Honors and Awards section

Common Resume Questions

Now that we understand why resumes are important, we can move on to some common questions students have when creating resumes.

Some of these are literal questions that I had when I created my first resume, and others are based on common problems I’ve observed when helping others create resumes.

1. Resume or Portfolio?

For some jobs, a resume may not be appropriate or necessary. In my field of freelance writing, for example, I very rarely have to submit a formal resume.

Potential employers are more interested in what I’ve done . They’ll usually request that I send them some links to previous work that fit the style or topics they want me to cover. But a summary of where I’ve worked and for how long isn’t normally relevant.

The same is true in a variety of other industries, especially for freelancers and creative professionals. If you’re applying for a job as a developer, your GitHub profile says far more than any resume ever could. For designers, the same is true of Behance .

That doesn’t mean resumes are gone, or that you’ll never need to submit a resume for a “creative” job. But it seems like the trend is moving more toward portfolios . Which is why it’s so important to have a personal blog or website where you can showcase your work to any interested party.

Above all, just pay attention to the requirements for the specific job –they’ll indicate whether you need to submit a resume, portfolio, or other materials.

2. How long should my resume be?

reading glasses on paper

I know, I know, you’re reading College Info Geek. Which means you probably have more badass achievements and experience than the average person. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to create a 5-page resume…or even a 2-page one.

For most people reading this site, your resume should be one page, no longer. If you have more than five years professional experience, then it  can  be appropriate to add an additional page, but I’d avoid it in most cases. Unless you’re a senior-level executive, your resume should not exceed one page.

If that feels too short, then don’t worry. We’ll address how to make all the relevant experience fit in a bit.

3. How “creative” should my resume formatting be?

graphic designer working

In an attempt to stand out from the crowd, some students will print their resume on fancy paper, add colors and graphics, or even deliver their resume via carrier pigeon (okay that last one might be a stretch, but you never know).

There’s nothing wrong with any of these approaches per se, but in general I’d recommend you avoid them. If you’re a designer and know how to make a document that looks good and is easy to read, then by all means get creative with the design of your resume–it can be a chance to show off your design skills.

For most students, however, I suggest you stick to black Arial or Times New Roman on a white background. Especially if you’re submitting your resume digitally, this ensures that the potential employer will have no trouble reading it.

In some cases, of course, the job application will ask you to include an unconventional resume such as a video or webpage. If that’s the case, then go for it! (even if it’s “optional”).

4. How should I format my resume?

I said you should go with black Arial or Times New Roman on a white background, but that neglects all the other details of formatting the resume. How should you structure it? What size font should you use? Do you put your contact information at the top or bottom?

Instead of trying to give one “right” answer to these questions, I’ll suggest that you use one of the  thousands  excellent resume templates that are already on the internet. Here are a few that will work for almost any job:

  • Classic Resume Templates via Resume Genius
  • Resume Templates via Microsoft Word
  • Google Docs Resume Templates via The Balance

One final formatting tip: unless the job application indicates otherwise, submit your resume as a PDF. This will ensure that the recipient can view it with the formatting you intended no matter what operating system or software they use to open it.

5. Can I reuse the same resume for different job applications?

Well, yes and no. It’s fine to use the same template and structure for different job applications in order to save time. But you should  always   tailor your resume to the specific job.

In fact, not tailoring your resume to the specific position is one of the most common resume mistakes .  Hiring managers can spot a generic resume from a mile away, so put in the effort to include experience and skills relevant to this job, not any job.

6. What should I include in my resume?

checklist in a notebook

I already told you your resume should be just one page, so what do you include? Taking all of your experience and condensing it into one page can be overwhelming. The key is to pick the most  relevant  experience.

For example, let’s say you’re applying for an internship at a law firm. Naturally, you won’t have worked in a law firm before–that’s the whole reason you’re getting the internship.

But you can consider your previous jobs and how experiences in them would relate to what you would do at a law firm internship.

A job working the front desk in your dorm, for example, has within it all kinds of potentially relevant experiences. A job like that teaches you how to be professional, how to answer the phone, how to deal with conflict, and how to keep a disciplined schedule. All of which could be relevant to the law firm internship.

7. What is a skill?

Okay, so no one has ever straight up asked me this question, but there’s definitely some confusion about what a “skill” is when it comes to resumes. So let’s get something clear: a “skill” is a specific technical ability you have.

These are not skills:

  • “Good communicator”
  • “Great listener”
  • “Hard working”

Yes, they may be  soft skills , but your resume is not the place for soft skills. Show off your soft skills in the interview .

These are skills:

  • React development
  • Photoshop image editing
  • Bow hunting

If you’re not sure if something is a skill, then leave it out.

And please, please don’t include a skill you don’t have. Your employer  will  find out and it  will  be awkward. Especially if it’s claiming you speak a certain foreign language at an “advanced” level when in reality you took one semester of it as a freshman.

8. What if I don’t have any experience?

When students say “I don’t have any experience”, that’s rarely the case. Unless you really did spend all of college sitting in your dorm eating cheesy puffs and playing  Overwatch , you have  something  you can talk about. Sometimes you just need to think outside of the box.

Here are experiences/positions that could all be relevant to a resume:

  • Part-time jobs (on and off campus)
  • Sports teams (varsity or intramural)
  • Any kind of leadership position for a club, athletic team, student government, or community organization
  • Internships
  • Self-employment/ freelancing /starting your own business (even if you “failed”)
  • Volunteer experience

Now, in some cases if you’re finding that you just don’t have the right experience for a particular job’s requirements, then it may be worth considering a different position.

That being said, I encourage you to apply to jobs you don’t think you’re qualified for. The worst thing that will happen is the company will say no (or never get back to you).

If this happens, you haven’t wasted your time–far from it. You’ve gained valuable practice in applying for jobs, and you’ve also gained an idea of the skills/experience that would make you a better candidate in the future. As long as you learn from these experiences, they’re worthwhile.

How to Create an Outstanding Resume

We’ve already covered a lot about the art of creating a great resume, but I want to conclude with a list of things that will make your resume stand out from the rest of the pile (in a good way).

1. Proofread

This should go without saying, but you  must  proofread your resume. Spelling mistakes and typos make you look careless–and no one wants to hire someone who’s careless.

Go through all of the following proofreading steps:

  • Read your resume out loud. Seriously, you’ll catch so many errors this way.
  • Paste your resume into Grammarly . This is a free program that will catch all kinds of spelling, grammar, and usage mistakes.
  • Get a trusted friend to read your resume. An extra pair of eyes will catch mistakes you would never see. Just make sure it’s someone who knows a thing or two about writing.

2. Seek Professional Help

mentor helping student at table

What if I told you that you could get a trained professional to read and critique your resume at no extra cost to you? Wouldn’t that seem too good to be true?

Well, you’re in luck, because that’s exactly the service you’ll find at your college’s career center. Enrollment at your university entitles you to free, basically unlimited help with making your resume the best it can be. You’re already paying for it, so you’d be a fool not to take advantage of these services.

Not to mention that the career center can also help you find jobs/internships, perform mock interviews, and generally give you advice on your post-college plans .

Pro tip:  Make sure that you get help with your resume well  before  the application is due. That way the nice career planning folks will have plenty of time to help you.

3. Leverage Your Network

office workers eating lunch seen from above

Of course, the best person to review your resume would be someone who already works in the company or industry to which you’re applying. Finding this sort of person might seem impossible, but the key is to look to the connections you already have.

There are a few ways to find industry professionals to review your resume:

1. Asking family and friends

You’d be surprised at the people your friends and family members know. Just shoot a quick text to your parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, whoever would be willing to help.

All you have to say is “Hi, I’m applying for a job at NAME OF COMPANY in NAME OF INDUSTRY. You wouldn’t happen to know anyone who works in a similar job?”

If they do know someone, then get them to introduce you and go from there.

And don’t think asking for help in this way is annoying. As long as you’re polite and genuine, people  always  love to help out college students and recent graduates.

2. LinkedIn

I only discovered this recently, but if I’d known about it when I was a student I totally would have used it.

First, log-in to LinkedIn. From there, click on “My Network”.

Click "My network"

Then, click “See All” under “Your Connections”.

Click See All under Your Connections

Next, click on “Search with filters”.

Click Search with filters

From there, you can filter your connections by all kinds of criteria. I recommend starting with “Keywords”, “Current Companies”, and “Industries” to find people who would be able to give your resume a review.

Filter by Keywords, Current companies, or Industries

Once you find someone who looks like they could help, you just need to send them a message along the following lines:

Hi NAME OF PERSON , I was just looking through my connections and noticed that you work at NAME OF COMPANY/NAME OF INDUSTRY. I’m currently applying for a job/internship/volunteer opportunity at NAME OF COMPANY/NAME OF INDUSTRY, and I was wondering if you’d be able to review my resume. As an aspiring professional in NAME OF INDUSTRY, I would be super grateful to get feedback from someone with your experience. Thanks, YOUR NAME

And if your LinkedIn and network in general seems a little scarce, here’s how you can start building your network today (even if you’re an introvert).

3. Job Fairs

Most colleges and universities have job or career fairs where representatives from companies come to find prospective job candidates, conduct interviews, and give career advice.

You should absolutely go to these and bring your resume along. If you’re smart, you’ll research which companies will be there beforehand and create a resume tailored to the particular companies that interest you. From there, you can get real industry professionals (with hiring power) to give you resume feedback.

A Sample Resume to Help You Get Started

Resume template

Okay, so now you know how to create a resume, but staring at a blank document can be intimidating. To help you get over writer’s block and start making your own resume, here’s a sample resume that Thomas created.

Feel free to make a copy of the document and fill it in with your own work experience, skills, and education. Just make sure to proofread carefully so that you don’t accidentally include any of Thomas’s information.

Here’s how to use the sample resume:

  • Visit the resume link .
  • To make your own copy of the resume in Google Docs, click on  File > Make a copy  and choose a name for the new file. You’ll now be able to edit in Google Docs.
  • If you don’t have/don’t want to use Google Docs, then click on  File > Download as  and choose the file format you want to download. “Microsoft Word (.docx)” will be the best format for most people, as it will allow you to open the document in Microsoft Word.

Start Writing Your Resume Today

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article. I hope you now feel equipped to write a resume that will get you the job you dream of…or at least that first entry-level job or internship that will put you on the career path of your choice.

If you take nothing else away from this article, remember that you can and should ask for help with your resume. You’ll learn so much, and you may even make a valuable professional connection in the process.

Updating your resume due to recent job loss? Read this next .

Image Credits: featured , papers on table , office workers , glasses on paper , glowing question mark , graphic design , checklist , pencil shavings ,  professional help , overhead view of common area

Business Guru

How to Craft a Standout Resume

In today’s competitive job market, having a standout resume is essential to catch the attention of employers and land interviews. Your resume is your first impression, so it’s crucial to make it count. In this practical guide, we’ll provide you with actionable tips to craft a resume that effectively showcases your skills, experiences, and accomplishments while optimizing it for search engines to increase its visibility.

1. Start with a Strong Header

Begin your resume with a clear and professional header that includes your name, contact information, and a LinkedIn profile or personal website link (if applicable). Make sure your contact details are up to date and easy to find.

2. Tailor Your Resume to the Job

Customize your resume for each job application by carefully reading the job description and identifying the key requirements and qualifications. Highlight relevant skills, experiences, and achievements that match the job opening to demonstrate your fit for the role.

3. Use a Clean and Readable Format

Opt for a clean and easy-to-read format for your resume. Use a professional font (such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman) and maintain consistent formatting throughout the document. Organize your information logically with clear section headings and bullet points.

4. Showcase Your Achievements

Instead of simply listing your job duties, focus on showcasing your achievements and contributions in each role. Use quantifiable metrics and specific examples to highlight your impact and demonstrate your value to potential employers.

5. Utilize Keywords Strategically

Incorporate relevant keywords and phrases from the job description into your resume to optimize it for applicant tracking systems (ATS) and improve its chances of getting noticed by recruiters. Use industry-specific terminology and buzzwords related to your field.

6. Highlight Transferable Skills

Highlight transferable skills that are applicable across different roles and industries, such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership. Emphasize how these skills have been utilized in your past experiences to add value to your employers.

7. Proofread and Edit Thoroughly

Before submitting your resume, proofread it carefully to catch any typos, grammatical errors, or formatting inconsistencies. Consider asking a friend, family member, or mentor to review your resume for feedback. A fresh pair of eyes can often spot mistakes you may have missed.

8. Keep It Concise and Relevant

Keep your resume concise and focused on the most relevant information. Aim for a length of one to two pages, depending on your level of experience. Include only the most recent and significant experiences that are directly related to the job you’re applying for.

9. Include a Professional Summary

End your resume with a professional summary that briefly summarizes your skills, experiences, and career goals. Use this section to provide a compelling overview of your qualifications and why you’re the ideal candidate for the job.

Crafting a standout resume is a critical step in your job search journey. By following these practical tips, you’ll create a resume that effectively showcases your skills and experiences, optimizes for search engines, and increases your chances of getting noticed by employers. Remember to tailor your resume to each job application, highlight your achievements, utilize keywords strategically, and proofread thoroughly before submitting. With a standout resume in hand, you’ll be well on your way to landing your next job opportunity.

how to make a resume stand out crash course

January 10, 2024 by Riley Knott

In today's fiercely competitive job market, your resume serves as your ticket to landing opportunities. Crafting a stellar resume requires more than just listing your experiences—it demands strategy, clarity, and precision. Whether you're a seasoned professional or a recent graduate, mastering the art of resume writing can significantly boost your chances of success. Here are some essential tips to help you create a standout resume:

One size does not fit all when it comes to resumes. Customize your resume for each job application by highlighting the skills, experiences, and achievements most relevant to the position. Research the company and the job requirements to ensure your resume speaks directly to the employer's needs.

Select a resume format that best showcases your strengths and experiences. The three most common formats are chronological (ideal for those with a solid work history), functional (emphasizes skills and achievements over chronological work history), and combination (a blend of both chronological and functional formats). Choose the format that highlights your qualifications effectively.

Recruiters and hiring managers often spend only a few seconds scanning each resume, so keep yours concise and focused. Aim for a one-page resume if possible, especially for entry-level or mid-career professionals. Include only the most relevant information that demonstrates your qualifications for the job.

Instead of merely listing your job duties, focus on quantifiable achievements and contributions in each role. Use action verbs and metrics to showcase your impact, such as "Increased sales by 20%," or "Led a team that reduced operational costs by $50,000."

Your resume should be visually appealing and easy to read. Use a clean and professional layout with consistent formatting throughout. Choose a legible font (such as Arial or Calibri) and stick to standard font sizes (10-12 points). Avoid using excessive colors, graphics, or fancy fonts that may distract from your content.

Typos and grammatical errors can detract from the professionalism of your resume. Proofread your resume multiple times to ensure it is error-free. Consider using tools like spell checkers and grammar checkers, and ask a friend or mentor to review it for you.

Whenever possible, quantify your achievements with numbers, percentages, or other measurable metrics. This helps employers understand the scope of your accomplishments and the value you can bring to their organization.

Your resume and LinkedIn profile should complement each other. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and aligns with the information on your resume. Employers often review candidates' LinkedIn profiles, so consistency is key.

Before sending out your resume, solicit feedback from trusted friends, colleagues, or career advisors. They can provide valuable insights and suggestions for improvement that can help you refine your resume further.

In conclusion, crafting a standout resume requires careful attention to detail, customization, and a focus on showcasing your achievements and qualifications effectively. By following these tips, you can create a resume that grabs the attention of employers and opens doors to exciting career opportunities.

how to make a resume stand out crash course

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Jobs2Careers

tossing resumes

Cally Martin / May 6, 2019

Make Your Resume Stand Out, Not Get Tossed Out

Are you sick of staring at the same old resume?

Are you worried your resume continues to get overlooked because it’s so basic and boring?

Has anyone ever told you that it doesn’t matter how your resume looks, as long as the experience and skills are there?

It depends on the job, but there are so many stories in the news about job seekers making creative video resumes, or hacking into a social platform to show that they can, or promising to play piano on the spot.

If you’re like most job seekers, you’re probably hoping that your resume stands out enough to get a call or interview that will allow you to demonstrate that you’re the perfect fit for the job. A few quick tips to help you rise to the top of the candidate pile:

  • Customize your cover letter and keep it short. Do away with the obvious—like “Dear Sir or Madam.” If you don’t know the hiring manager’s name, just start your cover letter with “I’m responding to your job posting for [job title] and would love the opportunity to interview with your company!” And then include the highlights that make you the best candidate.
  • Objective statements are out; summaries are in. At the beginning of your resume (which you will customize based on the job for which you are applying), include a short summary statement about your relevant skills. Make it “skimmable” and intriguing.
  • Use your past job experience descriptions to make quantifiable statements whenever possible. Potential employers care about metrics (and they care about YOU caring about measurable goals).

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Cally Martin

Callan is a social media loving, blog writing, event planning freelancer who believes in the power of the oxford comma. Originally from America’s high-five (Michigan), she’s been in Austin since 2015 and doesn’t plan on moving anytime soon. When not attached to WiFi, she can be found running around the lake or drinking mimosas at brunch.

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10 Way to Make Your Resume Stand Out

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This day and age, Hiring Managers look at resumes for an average of 7.4 seconds, so it is extremely important to make sure that your resume is one that stands out from the sea of other resumes. Below are the Top 10 Ways you can make your resume catch the eye of the Hiring Manager.

  • Tailor your resume: Customize your resume for each job application, emphasizing relevant skills, experiences, and keywords that align with the specific requirements of the position. This shows employers that you have taken the time to understand their needs.
  • Start with a compelling summary or objective: Begin your resume with a concise summary or objective statement that highlights your unique qualifications and career goals. This immediately grabs the attention of the reader and sets a positive tone.
  • Showcase measurable achievements: Instead of simply listing job responsibilities, focus on quantifiable achievements and outcomes. Numbers, percentages, and specific results provide concrete evidence of your contributions and impact in previous roles.
  • Use a professional design: Opt for a clean, well-structured resume layout that is visually appealing and easy to read. Utilize appropriate font sizes, bullet points, and headings to enhance clarity and organization.
  • Highlight relevant skills: Identify the key skills and competencies sought by the employer and ensure they are prominently displayed on your resume. Use a dedicated skills section or incorporate them strategically throughout your work experience descriptions.
  • Include relevant keywords: Many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan resumes for specific keywords. Research job descriptions and industry terminology to identify relevant keywords and incorporate them naturally throughout your resume.
  • Incorporate action verbs : Begin bullet points describing your experiences with strong action verbs to convey a sense of proactivity and accomplishment. For example, use verbs like “achieved,” “implemented,” “collaborated,” or “optimized” to demonstrate your impact.
  • Demonstrate continuous learning: Showcase your commitment to professional growth by including relevant courses, certifications, workshops, or training programs. This demonstrates your dedication to staying updated and expanding your knowledge base.
  • Provide relevant links or portfolio: If applicable, include links to your online portfolio, personal website, or professional social media profiles (such as LinkedIn). This allows employers to explore your work further and gain a more comprehensive understanding of your capabilities.
  • Proofread and edit meticulously: Avoid typos, grammatical errors, and formatting inconsistencies by thoroughly proofreading your resume. Consider seeking feedback from trusted peers or mentors to ensure your document is polished and error-free.

By implementing these strategies, you can create a standout resume that effectively highlights your qualifications, accomplishments, and potential value to prospective employers.

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Your resume or CV is often a hiring manager’s first point of contact with you. Resumes and CVs represent you on paper, and showcase why you’re right for a position.

A resume is a marketing document and a concise, tailored summary of your experience, education, and skills. A CV is a complete record of your academic and professional achievements, typically used for positions in academia.

Sample Resumes

These resume samples showcase ways to highlight your relevant skills, qualities and experience, that can be tailored to the company and position to which you are applying.

Creating an Undergraduate CV

Your curriculum vitae (CV) is a representation of your scholarly identity and trajectory in your field.

A CV is used to apply to research roles or other academic positions....

Student working on resume with counselor in CRC

Writing a Resume: Getting Started

If you’re applying for an internship or job, attending a networking event, or seeking a volunteer opportunity, chances are you’ll need a resume. We’ll walk you through the basics.

how to make a resume stand out crash course

Resumes with Impact: Creating Strong Bullet Points

How can you make your resume stand out to an employer? This resource will help you learn how to use the STAR method to develop strong bullet points that highlight your skills and accomplishments relevant to a position.

Your Resume: What to Put In, What to Leave Out

Wondering how to organize the information on your resume? This resource overviews the sections to include on your resume, and what information to include in each of them.

Counselor and student going over resume in CRC

200+ Action Verbs to Spice Up Your Resume

Use varied, strong action verbs to grab the reader’s attention and make your resume stand out to potential employers. This resource includes over 200 action verbs you can use as a starting point.

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How to Write a Resume Profile or Summary Statement

If you are in the process of changing careers, craft a powerful summary to highlight your accomplishments and relevant skills. Show an employer, at a glance, why you’re qualified for the job!

Optimizing Your Resume for Applicant Tracking Systems

90% of Fortune 500 Companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to manage high volumes of job applications. 75% of candidates are “phased out of consideration” because they don’t pass a screening! Our tips will help your resume make it through ATS.

How to Explain Employment Gaps

Learn tips to address employment gaps on your application materials and in interviews.

The Engineering Resume

We’ve shared some tips for crafting a competitive engineering resume.

The Artist Resume and CV

An artist’s resume isn’t like your traditional resume. Make sure your resume stands out.

Dossier Services

A dossier services (also called “credentials services”) is an online platform that provides secure storage of confidential documents such as transcripts, letters of recommendation and writing samples. This page provides resources for students exploring the use of a dossier service platform.

how to make a resume stand out crash course

Design Your Next Steps Series Kickoff: Resume Workshop with Nuveen

Your persuasion-ready pitch: applying your understanding of the employer in applications, networking, and interviews, your persuasion-ready pitch: how rhetoric can help you craft your appeal to employers.

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Humanities Skills for the Job Search: Close Reading for Analyzing Job Descriptions

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