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  • Writer's pictureLayne Daniels

10 Essential Tips for Writing a Standout Resume

A woman with long, dark, wavy hair wearing a pink tunic holding a manila folder to her chest, looking over her right shoulder and smiling. She is in a home-like setting.

Your resume is more than just a document; it's your personal marketing tool and your introduction to potential employers. In a competitive job market, a standout resume can be the key to unlocking doors to exciting opportunities. Here are 10 essential tips to ensure your resume shines and leaves a lasting impression.


1. Tailor your resume to the Job Description:

Customize your resume for each application by aligning it with the specific job requirements. Highlight the skills and experiences that directly match what the employer is seeking. Some businesses use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to auto-screen resumes. Incorporate industry-specific keywords to ensure your resume gets past these systems and reaches human eyes.


2. Use a Clear and Professional Format:

It is important for your resume to present well visually to grab and retain the attention of the reader. Here are some simple guidelines:

  • Keep your resume well-organized and easy to read by using a clean, professional font and maintaining consistency in formatting throughout.

  • Use bold headings and bullet points to enhance clarity.

  • Avoid dark backgrounds that require a lot of ink should anyone wish to print a copy of your resume.

  • Graphs of any kind that show the range of your skills are unnecessary and take up too much space. Just list your skills.

  • Please, please, do not use a resume template that includes your photograph. Recruiters do not need to see your face to make a judgement call about your skills. Frankly, it can be perceived as vain.

Here are a few Canva resume templates that match the criteria above:


3. Craft a Compelling Summary or Objective:

Begin your resume with a strong and concise summary or objective statement. This section should grab the employer's attention and provide a snapshot of your skills and career goals.


4. Quantify Your Achievements:

Whenever possible, use numbers to quantify your achievements. Whether it's sales figures, project outcomes, or team success, numbers provide concrete evidence of your impact.


5. Highlight Relevant Skills:

Create a dedicated section for key skills relevant to the job. Include both hard skills (technical abilities) and soft skills (communication, teamwork) to present a well-rounded profile.


6. Focus on Achievements, Not Just Responsibilities:

Rather than listing job duties, emphasize your accomplishments in each role. Demonstrate how your contributions positively impacted the organization.


7. Incorporate Action Verbs:

Start each bullet point with a strong action verb to create a sense of dynamism and impact. Words like "achieved," "implemented," and "led" convey a proactive and results-oriented approach.


8. Education and Certifications Matter:

Highlight your educational background and any relevant certifications. Include the name of the institution, graduation date, and any honors or awards.


9. Keep It Concise:

While it's essential to showcase your accomplishments, be mindful of length. Aim for a resume that is concise and focused, ideally keeping it to one page for early-career professionals and two pages for those with more experience. Only include jobs that are relevant to the role you are applying to.


10. Edit, Edit, Edit:

Because you will be ultimately making several versions of your resume that are tailored to each application, it is easy to make errors. Read and reread your resume before submitting it, then have someone else edit it for you. Fresh eyes are always great at catching mistakes you may have glossed over after reviewing your resume countless times.


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By implementing these essential tips, you can ensure that your resume stands out in a crowded field. Remember, a well-crafted resume not only showcases your qualifications but also tells a compelling story about your unique value as a candidate.


Invest the time to tailor your resume for each application, quantifying achievements and emphasizing your skills. With these tips in hand, you're well on your way to creating a standout resume that opens doors to exciting new career opportunities. Good luck!

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