11 Essential Elements of An Impressive Resume
To help you craft a resume that stands out, we’ve gathered insights from 11 professionals, including Career Experts, CEOs, and Digital Marketing Consultants. From using distinctive and effective language to showcasing a personal mission statement, these experts share the essential elements that can make your resume capture the attention of employers.
- Use Distinctive and Effective Language
- Tailor Your Resume to the Role
- Highlight Measurable Accomplishments
- Align Skills with Job Requirements
- Display Diverse Skills and Experience
- Narrate Your Personal Growth Journey
- Incorporate Relevant Industry Keywords
- Optimize Resume for HR Tools
- Choose a Standard, Legible Font
- Enrich Resume with Online Profile Links
- Showcase a Personal Mission Statement
Use Distinctive and Effective Language
If you want to set yourself apart from the crowd, you must abandon conventional thinking and approach problems in novel ways. Because everyone uses the same tried-and-true format, most resumes appear extremely similar to one another.
Your resume needs to be written in strong, concise language without any filler. Declarative verbs like “accomplished,” “earned,” and “finished” are required in this context. You may choose to shorten or simplify any lines that make your resume seem overly wordy or complicated to read.
Avoiding the cliches, phrases, and overused language that populate the great majority of resumes is the best approach to set yourself apart from the competition.
Stick to the point and make it relevant; there’s no need to write your life story unless it directly relates to the position you’re applying for.
Tailor Your Resume to the Role
One thing that really makes a resume stand out among the rest is when it’s tailored specifically to the company and position the candidate is applying for.
A nice design and clear structure are both important, but what will land you the job is if you can show that you’re a perfect match for the role. Employers don’t just look for applicants who have the experience and skills necessary to do the job; they want candidates who are genuinely interested in working for the company and bring more than just relevant experience to the table. Writing a tailor-made resume is the best way to demonstrate this.
Match your resume to the job description as closely as possible by including achievements that highlight skills, education, and personality traits that describe the employer’s ideal candidate.
Highlight Measurable Accomplishments
As a recruiter, resumes that focus more on accomplishments than anything else often succeed in grabbing my attention. Most applicants provide lengthy details about their work history, listing obvious job duties at previous workplaces. Others provide unnecessary information such as high school grades and hobbies. This takes up valuable space that could otherwise be spent on listing measurable achievements relevant to your field.
For instance, when a digital marketer includes phrases like, “Increased revenue by X percent within X months,” or “worked for multiple large brands with $10,000+ monthly ad spend,” it just makes sense to hire them because they have quantifiable results to show for themselves. They seem good at what they do, and that’s my primary concern when hiring. You could be an Ivy Leaguer and still be average at your job.
Align Skills with Job Requirements
It’s somewhat obvious that a strong resume shows the candidate has the skills they need to perform the job. However, there are two things that make these skills really stand out for the reviewer.
One of these is to phrase the skills exactly as they appear in the job description. This ensures that any AI screening or review systems will detect those skills and note you as a strong candidate. It also helps human reviewers to understand your full qualifications. Hiring teams review resumes quickly and their eyes are trained to catch certain words, so you want those to flag for them easily.
Second, don’t simply list your skills but show how you used them in previous roles. Including this shows that you’re not simply parroting the skills you see in the job description, but that you have real experience utilizing those skills in a professional context.
Display Diverse Skills and Experience
Due to running a training center for a number of years, we have noted that many people come in for basic skills training in areas such as Microsoft Office and also for more technical skills such as learning about financial software, website building, and soft skills, among others.
All these courses that we provide are valuable skills to aid a job hunt and we advise job seekers to get on board with this ideology of learning more valuable skills. Not only will it help widen your field of eligibility when applying for jobs, but will show that you are well-versed in many areas.
This is a stand-out section in your resume and will be a key focus for employers or recruiters.
However, we would like to add that when you achieve your skills, aim to volunteer some time to use these skills practically and to build some hands-on experience, as this is a green flag for future employers.
Narrate Your Personal Growth Journey
When writing a resume, there is one element that can truly make yours stand out: a visible personal growth journey.
Instead of presenting a monotonous list of roles, skills, and achievements, your resume should narrate your story, capturing your learning curve, resilience, adaptability, and personality. This unconventional approach not only captures employers’ attention but can also kickstart discussions during the interviews—discussions for which you are already prepared.
So, treat your resume as not just a fact sheet, but a representation of your personal journey. Make it captivating!
Incorporate Relevant Industry Keywords
One crucial element that sets a resume apart is the strategic use of industry-specific keywords and language. In today’s digital landscape, applicant tracking systems (ATS) play a pivotal role in the initial resume screening process.
By incorporating relevant keywords throughout your resume, you increase the chances of getting past the ATS and grabbing employers’ attention. Research the job description and industry terminology to identify key terms and skill sets, then integrate them naturally into your document.
This not only demonstrates your industry knowledge but also aligns your qualifications with the employer’s requirements. Striking the right balance with keywords can make your resume stand out and capture employers’ interest amidst the competition.
Optimize Resume for HR Tools
It might sound cynical, but if you want your resume to stand out then you need to understand that to do so it first needs to pass the machine sorting. This means that when you are writing your resume, you should write it with HR tools in mind as they will do the initial screening nine times out of ten.
Use keywords from the job description at the very least, as that is the baseline that most HR tools use to filter applications. Your cover letter, on the other hand, should very much be designed to appeal to a human and where you should spend a lot of time to make your personality shine through.
Choose a Standard, Legible Font
The font does matter when it comes to your resume and should be one that is standard. Adding in fancy typography can lose the interest of the reader because it proves as a distraction. When it comes to having a good resume, you want the reader to focus on the words written. When you use illegible or non-standard fonts, you risk your resume not even being picked up.
Focus on the content and simply use a font like Arial or Times New Roman as they are the simplest and easiest to read.
Enrich Resume with Online Profile Links
Your resume offers a quick peek into your experience and expertise, but no resume tells an employer your complete story. Even in passing on professional details, it falls short. Moreover, these limited insights may even leave your most notable accomplishments out of an employer’s radar, and this may result in you being clubbed with the average candidate.
One way to change this is to add impressive links to your resume that lead your potential employers straight to your online profiles. The links could lead to your blog, LinkedIn profile, or any other page where you showcase your unique skills and knowledge. These links will not only make your resume look different and more complete but will also give your employer enough reason to set you apart from the crowd.
Showcase a Personal Mission Statement
People often include a professional summary at the beginning of their resume. It’s a concise overview of skills, experiences, and qualifications, designed to capture an employer’s attention. It’s not a bad idea but if you want to stand out, then replace it with a personal mission statement.
Companies are often values-driven. They have their own mission, vision, and set of core values. If your personal mission is compatible with theirs, then it shows that you are a cultural fit with their organization. This is new information that isn’t easily gleaned from the rest of your resume.
Employers will simply scan the headlines throughout your resume to get a summary of your experience, so there’s no need for a professional summary. Use this space to give them something new.
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