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How To Make Your Resume Stand Out

A few things to consider when you sit down to write or revise your resume; is ensuring it visually stands out, is easy to follow, and is formatted in a consistent matter. Especially if you are applying for a job that requires you to demonstrate your document creation skills! Don’t go overboard on trying to make your resume too flashy with the use of italics, bold, different fonts etc. sometimes, less is more.

Think of your resume as a part of your portfolio – it shows your ability to create a document with text and formatting, use proper sentence structure, spell words correctly, and should showcase your ability to effectively communicate in writing.

Chronological vs. Functional

There are two main types of resumes that are used chronological and functional. Many hiring managers prefer the use of chronological resumes as the layout “makes sense”. PSSST! Applicant tracking systems (ATSs)also love chronological resumes!

Functional resumes are often used to hide career gaps or limited experience by focusing on your skills – employment history is secondary. This type of resume often leaves hiring managers with lots of questions. What job provided them that skill or experience? When did they work in that role and for how long? All of these questions that a hiring manager is trying to sort through while reviewing your resume may make them set it aside for a more conclusive application – one that doesn’t require them to fill in the gaps or make assumptions. If you do have gaps in your resume, sometimes it is better to be upfront about them and indicate it on your cover letter (depending on the reason).

Most hiring managers and recruiters prefer chronological resumes. Chronological resumes provide work experience starting with the most recent or current position. Modern chronological resumes provide the following sections: contact information, a professional profile, key skills, education, publications (if applicable). You can also add a section to list credentials or designations if you have several; however, these can normally be added to your professional profile or listed at the end of your name. Again for this type of resume, the most important thing is that your experience is clearly laid out.

Once you have your formatting figured out, with headings, start filling in the body of your resume. Again, don’t  go overboard with this, be concise when writing your resume.

Suggested Read: Update Your Resume With These Helpful Tips

Keep it Focused

List only your top skills, not every skill that you have ever obtained. When entering your experience, write a summary of your job and follow it up with a couple of selected achievements in that role that are applicable to the position that you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a position as a Customer Service Representative and your previous job was in a flower shop, you don’t need to include your experience creating flower arrangements. Focus on the engagement you had with customers, taking their orders, responding to complaints, etc. Since your resume is focused on the position that you are applying for, chances are you will have different versions of your resume and this is perfectly acceptable! Just ensure you send the right version out when applying for jobs!