6 Tips To Make Your Resume Better Than The Rest

Hiring manager reads a job applicant's resume

Recruiters look at dozens of resumes a day. If they see something they don't like, your resume could wind up in the “no" pile in just seconds.

Here are a few tips you should follow to make your resume better than the rest, standing out from all that competition!

1. Make Sure Your Resume Is Error-Free

We know that sounds like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised by the number of resumes that have a spacing issue, a punctuation error, or even a misspelling. The problem is that you have looked at your resume so many times, your brain knows what it is supposed to say, but in reality, it says something else.

Get several people to proofread your resume, and have them read it for different purposes. One person should read for grammar, for example, and another should read for punctuation and spelling. You cannot afford to send a resume to employers with mistakes. Any superficial error can severely hurt your chances of getting a call for that job.

2. Align Your Resume With The Description Of The Job You're Applying For

Hiring manager asks about a job applicant's resume in an interview


Too often people think that their resume is a "one-and-done" proposition. Not so! You should customize your resume for every job each time you apply.

Match up keywords from the job description with keywords in your resume. Make sure that your achievements and successes indicate that you are an excellent candidate for the job you're applying for. You need to tweak your resume for every single job posting. There are no exceptions.

3. Make Your Resume Sleek

Woman reviews a resume


Some people think the trick to a great resume is to stuff as many accomplishments into it as possible by using tiny font and stretching the margins to the limit. The result is a resume that is difficult to read and looks cluttered and clunky. Those resumes will wind up in the "no" pile because the hiring manager doesn't care enough to search the document for truly relevant information. They also don't have time to waste when there are dozens of other resumes to review.

Your resume should have a clean and contemporary look and feel. Use lots of white space and be as concise as possible. Also, use clean-looking fonts like Calibri or Arial.

4. Use Keywords Strategically

Woman on laptop works on her resume


Check the job description carefully for each position you're applying for. Then, use keywords in your resume that match the keywords in the job description. Also, you may find it helpful to use free word cloud tools to identify the keywords that are used most frequently in the job description. Adding those keywords to your resume will make it easier for your resume to get past the ATS.

Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for individuals who are a good match for their job openings. Don't make them guess whether or not you have the required skills or experience. Your resume should get them curious to know more about your qualifications. At the end of the day, the goal of your resume is to get the employer to call you. It won't be the thing that gets you the job, but it will be what gets you an interview.

5. Describe Accomplishments, Not Responsibilities

Man on laptop looks for a job while writing his resume


Avoid using the word "responsible" in your resume. Instead, concentrate on specific and quantifiable accomplishments. For example, which sounds more impressive:

  • Responsible for manufacturing production with proven record of exceeding expectations.
  • Managed 5 different teams over the course of 10+ years resulting in $50 million in new sales along with a 30% reduction in waste.
If you said the second bullet point, you picked the right one. That's what hiring managers are looking for on a resume.

6. Use "Power" Words

Hiring managers discuss a job candidate's resume during an interview


Demonstrate that you are a person of action. Rather than being "responsible for" something, use words like "advised," "led," "launched," "executed," "generated," "planned," "produced," etc. These powerful resume words (and others like them) demonstrate your ability to perform on the job and your specific role in previous jobs. Strong action words validate your capabilities and specific duties you have performed.

Consider which is better:

  • Responsible for launch of a new product.
  • Initiated and led new product-launch that resulted in $20 million in revenue.
Don't forget that your resume represents who you are and what you can do when you can't be there in person to explain all of that to a recruiter or hiring manager. Your resume is just one of hundreds that fly into a company on any given day. You need to stand out from the crowd, and it is your responsibility to make that happen. By following the tips above, you'll be sure to create a resume that's better than the rest.

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This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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