How to Make Your Resume Stand Out to a Potential Employer

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March 18, 2021

Graduating and moving on to the next stage in life is always a tough time. Throw in this depressing economy and you’re sure to lose your mind. Sometimes it takes years to find the right job while others land their dream job right away. So what’s the difference between the two? Some say it could be something as simple as your resume.

The first step to securing that interview is a stellar resume; it gets you in the door and gives you a chance to get face to face with a potential employer. If your resume is lacking, it may get tossed in the dust over a few formatting and technical issues. Even though you may have excellent qualities pertaining to the job you are applying for, you may never get that interview call. Don’t make one of these common, yet crucial mistakes.

Have you ever been in a hurry to find a job? 

Often times people submit very general resumes because they are in a hurry. As a result, they send out mass resumes to mass companies and still they are not getting a response. Quality is always better than quantity, especially in the job search. Apply for jobs you want. not just any and every job that looks ok. Employers will recognize the effort you made which translates to future work ethic.

Did you read the description in detail? 

The job seeker should always compare their resume with the job description. It is important to pull out keywords from the job description and place them in your resume. Try not to bombard your resume with all of the keywords and phrases, of course. After all, this does need to apply to you, your experiences, your skills, and your aspirations. By using a similar language as the job description in your resume,  you come off as a more qualified candidate.

Does it seem as though every application has a different process?

Always double check the directions listed in the job description and make sure you fill out all the questions asked in the application, even if they are not required. Filling out more information than you have to, shows that you go above and beyond expected standards and your chances of being notice will increase. Some employers will only hire candidates who fill out the entire application. If you are viewing a hundred potential jobs to apply for, there is the possibility you can jumble information. Always follow directions. This shows your potential employer you can easily understand their line of communication, which translates to you being thorough when completing tasks, easy to train, and compliant.

Ever hit SEND and regret it?

This may seem like a no brainer, but you should check your resume for spelling and grammatical errors. Sometimes the writer’s eye cannot always catch every mistake, so it is important to have a friend or colleague read over your resume before you submit it.

How should you format a resume?

Another pressing issue is format, the font should be kept simple in Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, or a font that is easy to read. I would suggest using bold and/or italics for headings and subheadings. This gives the illusion of words jumping off the page and you want your achievements to be noticed! Though this must follow a pattern; you cannot bold one heading and not another. You should always save and submit your resume in PDF format to prevent your resume from being misformated. There are many systems that can mess up your formatting, so why take the risk?

 Summary vs. Objective

“It is all about what the applicant can do for the employer to make life easier. Too often the applicant thinks the reverse and puts in an objective on the resume. What’s more effective? A summary that addresses the bottom line. As the applicant, you should be thinking about how you can help generate revenue, save money, and contribute to quality.”

-Sallyann Kakas (Career Consultant at Kakas Consulting & Coordinator of Employer Relations at Lasell College)

Do I use the same resume each time I apply for a job?

As far as content goes your resume should be relevant and accurate. Although it is important to show elements in your past, like where you went to school, sometimes not all of your experience is relevant to the job you are applying for. Every once in a while, you should weed out information listed in your resume. To be safe, make a copy of each version of your resume under a different name. You never know when you will have to go back and use that information to pertain to another job you are applying for. When talking about accomplishments from your prior employment, your bullet point should always start with a verb and end with an impact. For example, “Developed and implemented a documentation system for the office staff to ensure successful audits.” This statement starts off with a verb, states action, and ends with the result of the action taken. Employers want to see that you have had effective results in your prior workplaces.

What industry you are in also dictates what kind of a resume you have. If you are in a traditional business setting you should follow the regular resume format. If you are in a creative industry, your resume should take a creative approach. In an innovative industry, you need to be able to show your employer in a few seconds or less that you are a talented individual. You could have graduated summa cum laude, but have no ounce of creativity where it is needed. There are a lot of contradicting sources out there about this, but when it comes down to it you need to show off your skills tastefully.

Will I get a job if I follow these resume tips?

If you follow the tips explained above. You are well on your way to landing that job. What may have worked for a resume a few years ago, may not work now. We live in a society that is technologically driven and the people in it expect innovation on a daily basis. With our economy in a downturn, many people are looking for jobs, making the competition larger than it ever was before. Therefore, it is even more pressing that you show yourself as the most qualified candidate. An impecable resume gets you the interview; it’s up to you to get the job.