Home » Business » Careers and Jobs

How to Make Your Resume Stand Out

Jun 18, 2008
Whether or not you're planning to look for a new job, it's best to keep your resume updated. Get into the habit of updating your accomplishments and skills so that your resume is always ready.

Here are some tips:

- Group your top skill sets into a summary.
- Create a professional email address (using your name - no nicknames) to include with your contact information.
- Use past tense - even when describing your current job.
- If you're posting your resume online, don't encourage identity theft by including too much personal information.
- Gear you resume towards the job you want, not the one you have now.
- List your most recent job first.
- Check spelling and grammar - don't depend on your spelling errors being caught by spell check.

Your resume should not include every task you've performed in every position; instead it should only include your strongest accomplishments. Though it's tempting to all the details about every job you've had, your resume is only a starting point. Use it to get your foot in the door so that you can get an interview. Once you have an opportunity to speak with the hiring manager, then you can go into more detail.

Since you have to catch the attention of the reader right away, stay away from passive-sounding words when describing your accomplishments and responsibilities. Passive sentences are indirect and don't make much of an impression.

Look at this example of a passive sentence: "Participated on product development team." Compare that with this example of an active sentence: "Created scripts and tested new product."

In addition to using active words and sentences in your descriptions, you also have to show results. Which description would appeal to you as a hiring manager?

"Arranged new product development meetings," or "Facilitated meetings for new product development team which led to cost savings due to reduced miscommunication between departments."

If you are a freelancer or temp worker, you'll probably work for various companies and hold different positions. Even if you had different titles, the skills and accomplishments will show your versatility in different industries and company cultures.

Keep track of the projects you've worked on, articles and documentation you've written, etc. Set aside samples of your work so that you can include them with your resume, if requested.

When you're changing careers playing up your skills is very important. You may not have direct experience in the area you're changing to, but you can show how the skills you've acquired in the old career can be carried over to the new one. Pick accomplishments that show that you are versatile and can think out of the box. Play up training and learning experiences to show that you can adapt to new environments. The person reading your resume is focused on finding the right person for the job. They won't have the time to think about how to fit your skills into their requirements.

Not sure how to show that your skills can be transferred to a new profession? For instance, if you're a project manager and you want to become an event planner, you could play up your organization skills or your communications skills. You could also play up your ability to simultaneously manage different tasks. Look at the work you've done, then find ways to highlight your strongest accomplishments. The person reading your resume should see right away that you can perform the duties the position requires.

Of course if you know what type of job you want, it'll be easier to create your resume. However, if you're not sure what you want to do next -or how to update your resume to reflect your varied skills - consider hiring a professional to help. These days you can't take a chance that your resume will be overlooked. If you present yourself to your best advantage, you'll have a better chance of being hired for the job you want.
About the Author
Deborah A. Bailey is a professional coach, writer and founder of Deb Bailey Coaching. She specializes in working with individuals as they move through transitions and experience a life beyond their expectations. Learn more at http://www.dbaileycoach.com.
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 117
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories