In today’s competitive employment market, you may be wondering how to make your resume stand out. Read our top tips below to learn what things to include in a resume and action steps you can take if you need help!
Laying the foundation
Let’s start with the basics: keywords and format. First, you'll need to do some research. Most companies have websites, so use it to your advantage. Do a deep dive into the company's products and services and get to know its mission. The insights you glean will make it easier for you to customize your resume for the job at that company. By knowing your audience and tailoring your resume, you will have a leg up as a potential candidate.
Remember: the average recruiter takes only about 5-7 seconds to look at your resume. That’s not a lot of time to make a good first impression so make sure your resume follows some basic rules:
- 11-12 size font
- No graphics or logos
- Standard black rounded bullet
- Lots of keywords
- No spelling or grammar mistakes
Constructing the frame
So, what does a resume look like? While there are lots of resume formats to pick from, this is a situation where the standard practice is best. Most recruiters prefer a chronological format because it’s easier to digest. Start with your most recent work experience and go back from there – but not too far back. The last 10-15 years is sufficient. Otherwise, your resume looks old and stale.
Your resume should consist of six main parts: Heading, Career Summary, Work Experience, Highlights/Skills, Education, and Volunteer Experience. Choose your words carefully and pay attention to what you say and how you say it. Use action verbs to begin your accomplishment statements and quantify where you can – numbers or percentages provide depth and make your resume stand out.
Remember: resumes are inspected by the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to ensure they measure up. An ATS scan weeds out bad resumes that are out of order, poorly written, have spelling errors, etc. Understanding that system upfront allows you to write your resume accordingly and deliver a great final product. To beat the odds of a failed resume, avoid these top 10 mistakes.
Your resume should accurately reflect the skills, accomplishments and experiences you bring to the employer. This is your opportunity to shine! Do a little bit of bragging and demonstrate why you are the right person for the job. With a bit of research, careful review, and thoughtful edits, your resume will be too good for any recruiter to pass up.
What if I need help?
Not sure where to go from here? Get our tips for finding your next career opportunity. You’ll learn what you should know before searching for a job, which employment search engines to use, and what role social media plays in job hunting.
Additionally, the Goodwill Workforce Connection Centers can be an excellent resource. We’re happy to help you with resume writing, interview coaching, career exploration tools, and more!