How to Make Your Resume Stand Out (with Examples)

In today’s competitive job market, first impressions are everything — and oftentimes, your resume is the first thing a potential employer sees. Find out how to stand out from the crowd here!

A close-up shot of two people viewing a printed resume across the table from an applicant with their arms loosely crossed

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.

How to Make a Stand-Out Resume in 2023

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:

  • Keep it concise and targeted to the job for which you’re applying
  • Use action verbs to start each bullet point in your work experience section
  • Highlight your accomplishments and use numbers to describe them
  • Use bullet points instead of paragraphs for better readability
  • Choose a clean and professional font, and use bold and italic formatting to draw attention to key information
  • Include relevant keywords from the job description to help your resume pass through ATS software
  • Add a personal touch that showcases your unique skills and experiences
  • Use white space effectively to create a visually appealing and easy-to-read layout
  • Proofread and edit your resume thoroughly to eliminate any typos or errors
  • Use a resume template to save time and ensure a polished look

Read on for specific steps to create a resume that’s dressed to impress and gets your foot in the door for an interview.

Step 1 in Making Your Resume Stand-Out: Create a Perfect Resume Header

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:

  • Full name
  • Any relevant academic and industry credentials, like CPA or RN
  • Your professional title, such as "WordPress Developer"
  • Your city and state (they don’t need your full address); if you are relocating to a new city, put the new city on your resume
  • Your phone number, preferably a mobile number where you can receive texts
  • Your email address, making sure that it’s professional and easy to read
  • Links to your portfolio and LinkedIn profile

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.

Example of Resume Header That Won’t Stand Out

John Smith Phone: 555-555-1234 Email:

This header is basic and lacks any additional details or context.

Jane Doe Unemployed Email:

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.

Example of a Resume Header that Stands Out

Jane Smith UX Designer | Creative Strategist New York City 555-555-1234

This header includes the job seeker’s professional title and a brief summary of their skills and experience, along with location and contact information.

John Doe Web Developer | JavaScript | React | Node Portland, OR

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 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

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

This header includes the job seeker's professional title, relevant certifications, and technical skills.

Step 2 in Making Your Resume Stand Out: Write a Perfect Resume Summary

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.

Example of a Resume Summary That Won’t Stand Out

  • Hardworking individual seeking a challenging position in the field of marketing.
  • A creative professional with expertise in marketing strategy development.
  • Detail-oriented marketing professional with strong project management skills.
  • Self-motivated marketing expert with a passion for delivering high-quality results.
  • Experienced marketer with a proven track record of successful campaign management.

Example of a Resume Summary that Stands Out

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:

  • Innovative and results-driven marketing manager with 8+ years of experience leading cross-functional teams, implementing effective branding strategies, and increasing revenue by 25%. Proficient in digital marketing, social media, and market research. Recognized for exceptional project management skills and a track record of delivering successful campaigns.
  • Award-winning marketing manager with a proven track record of driving growth through successful campaigns. Results-oriented marketing professional with extensive experience in brand development, market research, digital marketing, social media, and content creation.
  • Creative and strategic marketing leader with a passion for delivering high-quality results. Accomplished marketing executive with a track record of delivering innovative and impactful marketing strategies.

Step 3 in Making Your Resume Stand Out: Quantifiable Achievements in Work Experience

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.

Example of Resume Work Experience That Won’t Stand Out

Marketing Manager XYZ Company May 2018 - Present

  • Managed marketing campaigns
  • Created social media content
  • Conducted market research

Example of Resume Work Experience that Stands Out

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

  • Increased organic website traffic by 45% by implementing SEO strategies and optimizing content
  • Generated $2.5M in revenue by launching new product lines and executing targeted email marketing campaigns
  • Led market research projects that resulted in identifying new customer segments and increasing market share by 20%
Baker template: A resume that stands out

Step 4 in Making Your Resume Stand Out: Add Awards and Recognitions

Adding awards and recognitions is an effective way to demonstrate your excellence in your field and distinguish you from other candidates.

Example of Awards and Recognitions That Won’t Stand Out

  • Employee of the month
  • Completed an online course on marketing
  • Perfect attendance award
  • Completion of routine company training
  • Participation in a team-building exercise
  • Member of a company committee or club
  • Attendance at a professional development seminar
  • Completion of a mandatory training module
  • Membership in a professional organization without active participation
  • Participation in a company-sponsored event or charity fundraiser

Example of Awards and Recognitions that Stand Out

  • Recipient of the “Best Marketing Campaign” Award at the 2021 American Advertising Awards
  • Winner of the 2022 Forbes 30 Under 30 Award in Technology
  • Received the President’s Award for Outstanding Leadership and Innovation
  • Winner of the “Innovator of the Year” award at the Annual Industry Conference
  • Named “Salesperson of the Year” for exceeding sales targets by 40%
  • Recognized with the “Customer Service Excellence” award for consistently high customer satisfaction ratings
  • Received the “Rising Star” award for outstanding performance and potential
  • Winner of the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award for successful business ventures
  • Recipient of the “Excellence in Research” award for outstanding contributions to the field
  • Winner of the “Best New Product” award at the International Product Expo

Step 5 in Making Your Resume Stand Out: Select the Right Template

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.

Example of Resume Template that Won’t Stand Out

  • Overly simplistic or plain designs with minimal formatting
  • Outdated or old-fashioned templates
  • Templates with overly decorative elements that distract from the content
  • Generic templates that lack personality or creativity
  • Templates with poor color choices or mismatched fonts and sizes
  • Templates with poor spacing or alignment that make the content difficult to read

Example of Resume Template that Stands Out

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:

  • Clean and modern templates with sleek designs
  • Customizable templates that allow for personal branding
  • Templates with unique formatting or layouts that showcase creativity
  • Templates with bold or eye-catching color choices that are still professional
  • Templates with clear and consistent typography and spacing for easy readability
  • Templates with graphics or icons that complement the content and enhance the visual appeal

For a wide range of visually appealing resume templates, check out VisualCV’s template library. Some of our favorites include:

  • Arya: A modern template that’s colorful yet elegant
  • Baker: A clearly organized, two-column template that gives your resume personality
  • Gallant: An eye-catching template with bold coloring and sleek lines
Resume that stands out: Gallant template

Step 6 in Making Your Resume Stand Out: Tailor Your Resume

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.

Example of Generic Resume that Won’t Stand Out

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

Example of Tailored Resume that Stands Out

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


  • Achieved a 30% increase in sales by developing and executing successful marketing campaigns
  • Increased ROI by extracting key data from Google Analytics that led to actionable insights
  • Led successful project management and team leadership initiatives, resulting in timely project completion and increased team productivity

Step 7 in Making Your Resume Stand Out: Format Your Resume

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.

Example of Poorly Formatted resume that Won’t Stand Out

  • Cluttered with too much text and information
  • Lacks clear headings and sections
  • Uses inconsistent fonts, sizes, and styles
  • No white space, making it difficult to read

Example of Well-Formatted Resume that Stands Out

  • Utilizes a clean and modern design
  • Includes clear headings and sections
  • Uses consistent fonts, sizes, and styles throughout
  • Incorporates white space for easy readability
  • Showcases important information such as skills and accomplishments with bullet points and bolding
A resume that stands out: Arya template

How to Make Your Resume Stand Out with No Work Experience?

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.

How to Make Your Senior Resume Stand Out

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.

How to Make a Standout Resume with No Achievements

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.

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