In today’s competitive job market, first impressions are everything, and your resume is usually the first thing a potential employer sees. If you want to secure an interview, it’s essential to make your resume stand out from the rest and ensure that it doesn’t get lost in the applicant tracking system (ATS). In this comprehensive guide, we’ve rounded up all the tips you need to make your resume stand out, complete with examples to help you refine your resume and set yourself apart as a desirable candidate.
You only have about seven seconds to catch the attention of potential employers when they look at your resume. This means your resume needs to be spot-on if you hope to get an interview. Here are some quick tips for making a stand-out resume:
Read on for specific steps to create a resume that’s dressed to impress and gets your foot in the door for an interview.
The resume header is the first section that appears at the top of your resume, and it provides the reader with key information about you as a job candidate. Here’s what to include:
The resume header is important because it immediately tells the reader who you are, what you do, and how to contact you. By including your job or professional title, you let the reader know what kind of role you’re applying for, where you are located, and how to contact you for an interview.
In addition, formatting your resume correctly is vital to ensuring ATS systems can read it. You should not, for instance, put your resume header into an actual header of a document created in Microsoft Word. By using a VisualCV template, you’ll ensure your resume is not only formatted for ATS software, but also catches recruiters’ eyes with an easy-to-read, visually appealing design.
John Smith Phone: 555-555-1234 Email: email@example.com
This header is basic and lacks any additional details or context.
Jane Doe Unemployed Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This header includes irrelevant information about the job seeker’s employment status and uses an unprofessional email address.
Robert Brown Experienced Business Professional with a Proven Track Record of Success
This header is too long, too generic, and too difficult to read. It also lacks contact information.
Ashley Kim Developer San Francisco Bay Area
This header fails to state what type of developer and lacks contact information.
Jane Smith UX Designer | Creative Strategist New York City 555-555-1234 email@example.com
This header includes the job seeker’s professional title and a brief summary of their skills and experience, along with location and contact information.
This header includes the job seeker’s professional title and relevant technical skills.
Roberta Brown Copywriter | Branding | Social Media | SEO Chicago, IL 555-555-5678 firstname.lastname@example.org Portfolio | LinkedIn
This header includes the job seeker’s professional title and specific skills related to marketing, plus links to her portfolio and LinkedIn.
David Kim Senior Software Engineer | Java | Spring | AWS San Francisco Bay Area email@example.com
This header includes the job seeker’s seniority level and specific technical skills.
Mark Lee Accounting Manager | CPA | GAAP | Financial Analysis Los Angeles, CA 555-555-7890 firstname.lastname@example.org
This header includes the job seeker's professional title, relevant certifications, and technical skills.
A resume summary, aka career profile or career snapshot, highlights your experience and skills. It’s arguably the most important part of your resume, given its prominent placement at the top and the limited time you have to grab a recruiter’s attention.
The resume summary serves as a personal branding statement that highlights not only your qualifications and skills but also the unique value you bring to the table. Keep it short and intriguing, and follow it with bullet points of notable accomplishments that are relevant to the job you want. If it’s intriguing enough, potential employers will want to read on and learn more — and, hopefully, schedule an interview with you.
The resume summary is the elevator pitch for your career. It’s a brief introduction of your skills, experiences, and what you can bring to the table. A perfect resume summary should be concise, clear, and showcase your unique value proposition, like these:
Adding quantifiable achievements to your work experience section helps to showcase your impact on the organization. Think of it not as a list of tasks you completed or responsibilities you held, but rather as a summary of the results you delivered.
Marketing Manager XYZ Company May 2018 - Present
Notice the difference it makes when you quantify your experience with real results and communicate you are a results-driven professional:
Marketing Manager XYZ Company May 2018 - Present
Adding awards and recognitions is an effective way to demonstrate your excellence in your field and distinguish you from other candidates.
The right resume template can make your resume visually appealing. A professional and clean template can make a positive impression on the recruiter. On the flip side, a cluttered and unprofessional template with different fonts and colors will not pass through ATS systems properly, nor will it get the attention of anyone manually reviewing it.
A clean and professional template with a modern design and the correct fonts, font sizes, and styles will help to set your resume apart. VisualCV offers a wide range of templates that can help you highlight your achievements and experiences with a unique aesthetic, including:
For a wide range of visually appealing resume templates, check out VisualCV’s template library. Some of our favorites include:
Tailoring your resume to the job you’re applying for is a critical step in making it stand out from the pile and letting employers know you’re a great fit for the role.
Objective: Seeking a job in marketing
Experience: Marketing Intern, ABC Company Sales Associate, XYZ Corporation
Skills: Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite Excellent written and verbal communication skills Detail-oriented
This tailored resume for a marketing manager role speaks directly to the role with quantifiable results from past efforts:
Experienced marketing professional with a track record of driving successful campaigns and increasing revenue seeking a challenging marketing manager role in the fashion industry.
Experience: Marketing Manager, Fashion Company A Digital Marketing Specialist, Fashion Company B
Formatting your resume is crucial in catching the hiring manager’s attention. A poorly formatted resume can make it difficult for the reader to navigate and quickly assess your qualifications. On the other hand, a well-formatted resume can make a great first impression and increase your chances of landing an interview.
If you lack work experience, highlight any relevant coursework or extracurricular activities that demonstrate your skills and interests. Include any volunteer work, internships, or part-time jobs that you have held, and explain how they have prepared you for the role you are applying for. You can also showcase any relevant skills, such as proficiency in a particular software or language.
Making a senior resume stand out involves highlighting leadership skills, extensive experience, and achievements. Showcase unique qualities that set you apart from other candidates, such as successful team management, innovative problem-solving, and a track record of driving revenue growth. Using a clear and concise format and focusing on measurable results can also make your senior resume stand out.
If you don’t have any achievements to showcase, focus on highlighting your skills and experiences. Consider highlighting any relevant volunteer work, coursework, or internships. Use action-oriented language to describe your duties and responsibilities in a way that shows your potential value to a potential employer.
Creating a standout resume requires careful attention to detail and a focus on highlighting your unique skills and experiences. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can create a resume that showcases your skills and accomplishments in a compelling way. Remember to tailor your resume to the job description, use strong action verbs and metrics to demonstrate results, and choose a professional and well-formatted template.
With VisualCV’s range of templates, you can create a job-ready resume that will impress employers and help you get an interview. Start creating your standout resume today with our easy-to-use resume templates, and take the first step toward landing your dream job.