Resumes & Cover Letters

10 Tips for an Eye-Catching Resume (With Example)

March 3, 2021

Because companies often receive a large number of applications for openings, it's important to have an eye-catching resume that will stand out from the rest. The best resume is one that is easy to read and calls attention to key accomplishments and quantifiable results. Reviewing before and after examples of resumes can help you understand the elements that are most important for creating one that's going to catch the eye of the recruiter.

In this article, we discuss in detail why having an eye-catching resume is important, 10 tips for creating one and some before and after resume examples.

Why is an eye-catching resume important?

An eye-catching resume is important because of the short amount of time recruiters spend looking at each individual resume. Studies show that recruiters look at resumes between six and 15 seconds each, which means that your resume needs to catch the attention of the recruiter or hiring manager quickly to encourage them to take a deeper look at your qualifications for a position.

Related: How To Make a Resume (With Examples)

Tips for creating an eye-catching resume

Here are 10 tips you can use to create an eye-catching resume that will get the hiring manager's attention:

Related: 10 Resume Writing Tips To Help You Land a Job

1. Use numbers

Use numbers whenever possible to emphasize the results you achieved or the full extent of your responsibilities. For example, instead of writing on your resume that you exceeded your quota each week for six months until you were promoted, you can say that you exceeded your quota by a minimum of 20% for six months until you were promoted. The number automatically grabs the hiring manager's attention and shows them what you are capable of.

As another example, rather than writing on your resume that you worked with clients, you could say that you worked with five clients per day on a weekly rotating schedule. Using numbers in this instance helps them understand your capabilities and level of involvement with clients.

2. List soft skills

While your employer definitely wants to know what hard skills you developed throughout your professional career qualify you for a position, it's also important to let them know what soft skills you possess. Look closely at the job description and take note of the soft skills that the employer is looking for in a candidate. Use these soft skills and other relevant ones throughout the bullet points in your work history as well as the skills section on the resume.

3. Focus on relevant accomplishments

Always put your greatest, most relevant accomplishments for each role at the top of each list of bullets. The structure of your resume should be simple to follow and should focus on the most relevant, significant information. List no more than five accomplishments under each position and make sure they're relevant to the role for which you're applying. As you're tailoring your resume to the role for which you're applying, look for ways, if possible, to have each qualification they're looking for in a candidate reflected within your resume.

Related: How To Write Work Experience on a Resume

4. Use keywords

It's essential to include keywords from the job description within your resume. If the resume is being scanned by an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), then using relevant keywords can help it to get past the system's filters. If a recruiter is scanning the resumes manually, then including relevant keywords can quickly tell them that you have the skills and know-how to do the job and that your resume deserves a closer look.

5. Appropriate length

While the best length for a resume is often one page, there are situations where a longer resume can work to your advantage. If you have a lengthy work history, then a two-page resume can help give your accomplishments more context and show more of your personality. The key is that your resume should be a full page in length. In other words, if it's just over one page when you're finished, find a way to reduce it to one page. If it's almost two full pages, look for ways to modify your formatting to extend it to a full two pages.

6. Clickable

Most resumes today are sent and scanned, whether manually or by an ATS system, electronically. Catch the recruiter's attention and save them time in the process by making your resume easily clickable. This is especially important if you are pursuing a creative role and want to show the hiring manager your portfolio or a list of published articles. A clickable resume makes it easy for them to access your online work quickly.

7. Highlights your personal brand

It's a good idea to include a sharp sentence with lots of adjectives to highlight your personal brand. For example, instead of saying that you're a marketing professional with proven experience generating awareness and launching new products, you could say that you're a luxury retail marketing professional with proven experience deploying cutting-edge strategies to create awareness, double-digit increases in profitability and cohesion across channels.

8. Optimized for mobile

Today, people often work from their mobile devices when they're on the go. Leverage this knowledge by making sure your resume is easy to read from a mobile device. Before submitting your resume, test it out on different mobile devices to make sure it's easily readable. This small step alone could significantly increase the likelihood that the hiring manager looks more closely at your resume.

9. Focus on the top of the resume

The information you include at the top of the resume should be eye-catching and make the hiring manager or recruiter want to read further. While you should tailor your entire resume to the job for which you're applying, you should pay particular attention to making the top third of your resume grab the hiring manager's attention.

Include a clever headline or summer, create bullet descriptions that are relevant to the role and direct to the point and lead with your most relevant experiences. Ultimately, you need to keep in mind that the hiring manager has very little time and you want to deliver the best, most impactful information at the top.

10. Format correctly

A well-formatted resume highlights your professionalism and organizational skills. It also makes your resume much easier to read. Use plenty of spacing between lines along with easy-to-read fonts. When you're done formatting the resume, save it as a PDF to prevent formatting issues when you send it.

Read more: Resume Format Guide (With Tips and Examples)

Before and after resume examples

To get a better feel for how to craft a more eye-catching resume for yourself, review these two versions of the same resume

Before

Here is a before example, before applying an improved version of highlighting their skills and the progression of their career.

Adam Jones

1325 Main Street

San Diego, CA 93201

adam.jones@gmail.com

  • 20 plus years of experience planning, developing and implementing information systems to support company growth
  • Adept at crisis management, problem-solving and negotiating
  • Well-rounded background in IT with an emphasis on software development management and infrastructure management

IT Manager

Glassman Logistics | June 2015-present

  • Lead an IT team and oversaw security for the network
  • Collaborated with decision-makers to provide cost-effective IT solutions that support operations
  • Negotiated and administer contracts and service agreements to vendors and consultants
  • Managed all financial aspects of the IT departments, including budgeting and purchasing
  • Reviewed procedures and make recommendations to management about new software

Network Administrator

Hartman Agency | May 2010-May 2015

  • Implemented and maintained network security to protect sensitive company data
  • Performed routine backups of the network along with disaster recovery drills
  • Gathered data related to the needs of customers and used it to evaluate whether the system and network were meeting the necessary requirements

IT Support Technician

Dataform Technologies | August 2007-April 2010

  • Built and provided support for user workstations, including creating user accounts, setting up security systems, installing antivirus software and verifying the installation of all necessary software
  • Maintained records of all problems reported to the IT department and the actions that were taken
  • Helped with IT support for multiple offices

After

Adam Jones

1325 Main Street

San Diego, CA 93201

adam.jones@gmail.com

Over 20 years of experience in information technology, including 10 years as a well-rounded IT manager. A proven ability to launch state-of-the-art information systems that support operational efficiencies, cost reduction and company-wide growth. Extremely skilled in troubleshooting technical issues, protecting data from cyber-attacks, protect management and communicating results to key stakeholders.

Technical troubleshooting | infrastructure analysis | leadership and team development | decision making | adaptive problem-solving | organizational awareness | proficient in Spanish

IT Manager

Glassman Logistics | June 2015-present

  • Leads a 20-person IT team and managed operations for a shipping and logistics company with over 300 employees
  • Develops, monitors and maintains IT systems, including operating systems, software, servers and software
  • Analyzes usage of the IT infrastructure and prepare and present assessment reports to key stakeholders
  • Negotiates vendor contracts with outside vendors and manages all financial aspects of the IT department, including budget review, research and planning

Network Administrator

Hartman Agency | May 2010-May 2015

  • Planned and administered computer networks, including maintaining systems software, computer hardware and all configurations for a 50-person office
  • Gathered data from customers and performed research to identify more effective technologies to achieve operational goals
  • Planned and led training programs on proper security procedures for the entire office and conducted disaster recover drills
  • Performed network startup and shutdown procedures along with routine backups

IT Support Technician

Dataform Technologies | August 2007-April 2010

  • Developed a new ticketing system to streamline the support process
  • Collaborated with other members of the IT staff to respond to hardware and software inquiries and resolve issues within five different local offices
  • Set up user accounts and profiles, installed security software and verified that all software was optimized

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