Top 8 Effective Tips for How to Make Your Resume Stand Out

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 22, 2021 | Published January 3, 2020

Updated February 22, 2021

Published January 3, 2020

In many ways, a resume is the first step toward your future career, as it’s usually the first thing a hiring manager sees. It’s important to make a good impression by presenting a clean and concise resume that details your qualifications for the open role. In this article, we define what a resume is and provide tips for creating one that will leave a lasting impression.

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What is a resume? 

A resume is a document that showcases a candidate’s qualifications for a job. It often includes their education, experience, skills and achievements. A resume is a great way to showcase how you could be an asset to the company. Having a polished resume is a great way to set yourself apart from other candidates applying for the same job. When creating a resume, it’s also important to understand the industry you’re working in as well as the hiring company you’re applying to tailor your resume to both. 

Related: How to Write a Stellar Entry-Level Resume Summary

How to make your resume stand out

There are several ways to set your resume apart from the rest. What a recruiter looks for will highly depend on your industry and the job you’re applying for, but in general, hiring managers seek resumes that stand out. Here are several tips to consider when creating your resume:

1. Understand what the hiring manager is looking for

Before you begin creating your resume, review the job posting and the company’s website. Take careful consideration when determining what you plan to include. Focus on the company’s culture, keywords you want to include and what’s expected of you in this role.

2. Tailor it to your industry and the job you’re applying for

Be sure to include prioritize employment experience that showcases applicable qualifications. If you’re applying for a job as a newspaper reporter, the hiring manager would benefit more from knowing about your skills as a college reporter than as a babysitter. Include only relevant positions that let your future employer know you understand what they’re looking for in an employee. 

3. Include a header and summary or objective

Recruiters review a large volume of resumes each day. Including a header and summary or objective can help hiring managers notice your resume among others. When adding a header, make sure your name is at the very top. If you have space, make the font size slightly larger. Include your address (or just city and state), phone number and email address. Include contact information where the hiring manager is most likely to reach you. 

Right below your header, write a summary or objective. A summary is no longer than three sentences and reviews your relevant experience and skills. An objective explains your career goal and what skills you can bring to the company. It’s no more than two sentences. Including one of these statements summarizes your resume at the top so hiring managers can review it and learn more about you quickly. 

Read more: Resume Objective Writing Guide (With Examples and Tips)

4. Add pertinent skills

Just like with your previous positions, only include skills that would be valuable to the position you’re applying for. Check the job posting for skills or requirements that the hiring manager is looking for. For example, listing your knowledge of design software and programs would be valuable skills to include when applying for a graphic design position.

5. Keep it concise

While a resume can be two pages, most should be just one. This is often the case for entry-level candidates with minimal experience. As you draft your resume, make sure you’re only including information that could help you stand out against the competition. Avoid redundancy and fluff.

6. Make it visually appealing

While recruiters will appreciate a well-designed resume, make sure your creativity is professional. Here are a few things to consider when designing a modern resume:

  • Font style: Make sure the font you use is legible. Use a professional font like Georgia, Times New Roman, Calibri or Helvetica.

  • Font size: Choosing an appropriately-sized font will ensure a recruiter’s ability to read the content of your resume. Size 12 font should suffice.

  • Template: Keep your designs minimal and aesthetically appealing. If you’re using a template, make sure the visual elements don’t distract from the content of your resume. 

  • Color choices: Use an attractive color scheme when designing your resume. Opt for black, white and a third color like blue or green. White is a great background color, black is best for text and your third color can highlight important details on your resume. 

If you’re applying for a creative job, your resume is the first sample of your design work that recruiters will see. Make sure you display your unique style. Having a clean and legible resume will ensure their ability to read it thoroughly without confusion or distraction.

Related: Resume Format Guide (With Tips and Examples)

7. Submit a cover letter

When employers have you submit a resume online, they might ask you for a cover letter as well. Even if it’s not required, sending a cover letter is a great way to stand out as a candidate. If you do, make sure the design and color scheme of your cover letter matches that of your resume for a more cohesive look.

8. Proofread

Make sure to proofread your resume before submitting it. An error-free and easy-to-read resume demonstrates your professionalism and your ability to pay close attention to detail. If you tailor your resume to each position you apply for, make sure to carefully read it each time, or ask a trusted friend or family member to review it for you.

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