Tips for Creating a Standout Resume

The resume. It’s an outline of your background, skills, accomplishments and anything else that gets you noticed by recruiters. It’s used to learn more about an applicant and ultimately determines if they will be a good fit for the role. Although updating your resume can seem daunting, don’t be intimidated! Here are a few tips to help you tell your story and showcase your exceptional talents.

1. Do Not List Every Job You’ve Ever Had

Yes, it is important to explain why you’re the perfect fit for a position, but you don’t need a thorough career history. Think of it as a way to list your relevant experience so the recruiter pictures you in the role you’re applying for. It can be one of the most important sections of your resume because it represents you and your achievements. Each bullet point should be targeted and explain three key components of your expertise:

  1. What you did in the position
  2. Why your actions were important and necessary
  3. How it brought a positive change

Take a look at this example:

Original: Worked on the renovation and rebranding campaign including a completely redesigned website.

Updated: Assisted in the redesign of organization XYZ’s website as part of the rebranding campaign, resulting in a 35% increase of website traffic.

Bonus Tip: Include numbers, facts and figures when you can! Numbers represent effectiveness and quantifies your abilities to get the job done. It will help the recruiter picture what you can achieve.

2. Read the Job Description (And Use It to Your Advantage!)

It sounds simple enough but there are too many times when candidates don’t read through the job description. There is such good stuff in there! Within each post, there are an assortment of strategically placed keywords that serve as a guide to what the recruiter is looking for – and you can use it!

The basic requirements of the position are the skills and education qualifications that the recruiter needs to match to the candidate. If you meet or exceed these points, make sure to include these keywords (skillsets, majors, etc.) in your resume. Many recruiters will use keyword searches when reviewing resumes and if the basics are not in yours, there is a good chance it won’t be looked at. You also want to make sure that you understand what the position involves and that you are truly interested in the specific role.

Bonus Tip: Make yourself stand out even more by including the preferred qualifications you have in your resume, too! Recruiters often find their top applicants for a job posting by searching for the listed preferred criteria.

3. Be Strategic with What You Include

There is no need to include high school information or a list of all your completed courses in your resume. Once you’ve entered college/university, high school experiences are usually not pertinent and your completed coursework is not always helpful. If something is relevant for the role you are applying to, include it. References are also not necessary. A recruiter will ask you to provide them if needed. Too many lists can seem as if you’re trying to fill in space.

Bonus Tip: Include a portfolio if you have one. There is no better way to show off your work (and capabilities) like including a link to your online portfolio on your resume.