How to Write an Outstanding Resume that Gets Noticed by Employers
On average, most recruiters only spend six to seven seconds of their time looking at a resume. While that number may vary wildly due to factors like the number of applicants, industry, and urgency, it remains clear that you have minimal time to impress the person reviewing your resume.
While six seconds may not exactly be the best odds, especially in a challenging job market, there are things you can do to write an outstanding resume that will definitely get you noticed by employers.
How To Write An Excellent Resume
1. Know what the employer or recruiter is looking for
Contrary to what you may have been thinking, writing a resume does not have a one-size-fits-all solution.
By and large, you need to consider many factors, such as the following:
To name a few. Recruiters often look for a specific set of skills from an individual with a certain level of experience. Right now, you’re probably thinking that those are already considerations you make whenever applying for a job—but unfortunately, many applicants don’t actually make relevant changes to their resume to reflect unique employer needs.
The first step to developing an excellent resume is taking some time to get to know the employer. Here are some examples of how you can do that:
- Go on their website and read about their mission, vision, and how they work as a company;
- Read up on the company’s trajectory and goals (both long-term and short-term);
- Look for recent company achievements to see how you can leverage those achievements to your advantage;
- Pay close attention to the job posting and see how you can genuinely serve employer needs.
Knowing all this information will allow you to transition smoothly into the next step, which is to:
2. Customize your resume according to employer needs
According to Zety, as much as 63% of employers want applicants that tailor their resumes according to the available position. Unfortunately, a large majority of applicants still send out generic resumes—therefore making it tougher to land an interview.
To write a resume that truly stands out from the rest, you have to focus on what the job posting talks about. And we’re not just saying this so you can impress the recruiter. In many cases, especially for larger companies with hundreds, if not thousands of applicants, resumes will go through scanners, or recruiters will look for keywords.
For instance, a recruiter hiring for a sales development role may look for keywords like:
- Open rate,
- Conversion rate,
- Closing rate.
These job-specific terms make it easier for recruiters to filter for the applicants that they will actually consider hiring. Remember, these recruiters will typically have quotas to fill, so it’s essential to be efficient, much like in any other job.
Adding relevant keywords and ensuring your resume is tailored to fit the role is an excellent way to get noticed, especially in high-volume positions with many applicants.
Note: If the recruiter sends you the conditions of the position in PDF format, make sure you are protected with antivirus. Because of the popularity of this file format, frequently, pdfs have viruses.
3. Stay relevant
A recruiter does not want to hear about how you won a taekwondo competition when you were 12 years old—unless that is somehow relevant to the JD. Whatever you put in your resume is considered a representation of yourself and your skills, so make sure to only talk about relevant items.
When writing a resume, stick to the basics and don’t overcomplicate things. You are not going to improve how the recruiter perceives you by bloating your resume with meaningless clutter—which is what irrelevant content will be like to recruiters.
4. Be objective
One thing that easily stands out in any resume is any objective achievement. If you have specific accolades or unique achievements at work, make sure to include those in your resume.
For example, you can include items like:
- Achieved a 60% open rate vs. the industry average of 30%;
- Reduced employee turnover by 15% in one year;
- Increased team productivity by 10% ;
- Decreased project costs by 50% by utilizing x software.
Statements like these make it so much easier for the recruiter to understand the exact reason why they should hire you: because you achieve great results and you have the information to back it up.
As much as possible, don’t be vague about your achievements. Anything you put on your resume is not meant to brag but is intended to convince the recruiter of your technical skill and how well your achievements match the open position.
5. Be consistent
Consistency is probably the most underrated resume tip ever. Most people don’t pay enough attention to it, but there is tremendous value in paying attention to the little things.
Here are some examples of how you can utilize consistency properly:
- Use uniform punctuation. When you’re listing something (e.g., titles or descriptions), there isn’t really a set standard with regard to formatting, but it is crucial to use consistent punctuation throughout your application. So if you used a dot on one title, it’s best to continue doing so for each title.
- Write numbers correctly. While number grammar might not exactly be the most glamorous thing, it still has an impact on your application. Showing the recruiter that you pay attention to details is an excellent way to make sure your resume stands out from the rest. The convention is to use words for numbers one through ten and use digits for anything higher than that.
- Use tiered formatting. When writing a resume, you are bound to utilize different font sizes and weights—especially when you want to emphasize titles or awards. You must use consistent weights and sizes throughout your resume. So if you’re using a bold typeface in size 16 for each work experience heading, make sure to use it consistently in other headings as well.
These details, while seemingly small and unnecessary, all contribute to the overall quality of your resume.
However, it’s also important to consider that you can only get to this stage when recruiters are actively paying attention to your resume. Focusing on the details should be a step done when you have already secured other ways to get noticed by the recruiter.
If you want to present your resume in a landing page format, use templates to make the process easier. For example, this could be TemplateMonster or other similar services.
6. Keep it simple
It might be tempting to add a lot of flair to your resume. After all, isn’t a good, catchy design an excellent way to get your resume noticed by employers?
Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding no—unless you’re working in a creative field that demands creative acumen. For the most part, resumes are professional documents; you should treat them as such.
This means keeping it simple, concise, and relatively clutter-free.
Of course, keeping it simple doesn’t necessarily mean making your resume dull or aesthetically displeasing! In fact, it’s quite the opposite. You want to design your resume in a way that recruiters can clearly see your achievements—often, this entails facilitating the reading process with sound, proactive design.
7. Write with a hierarchy
Most people you encounter, including recruiters, will read your resume from the top down. For one, your name is probably the biggest, most prominent item on your application, and they’re likely to hone in on that and start from there.
You can utilize this established pattern by ensuring that the information you write down is organized in a way that facilitates a good story that shows you are a competent individual for the job.
In theory, that’s pretty to understand, but in practice, it can be a bit more challenging to apply for several reasons, including the following:
- You have a personal bias towards the importance of your own work. What you deem important work experience might not be the most useful in the context of your application. Make sure to assess accordingly and organize information from the reader’s perspective, not yourself.
- You aren’t focusing on the right things. A good hierarchy relies on the value of certain pieces of information. For instance, a professional summary or bio would be more important than just one piece of work experience—thus, it only makes sense to put your bio right below your name. Plus, when writing your bio, always make sure that it is representative of who you are in a professional capacity.
Overall, just make sure you are taking advantage of your brain’s natural processing capacities and organizing your resume content in a manner that reflects value.
And lastly, don’t forget to proofread!
Going over your resume is an incredibly crucial step in building an excellent application. It shows that you have great attention to detail and that you aren’t someone who turns over a document just for the sake of compliance.
While proofreading may be a taxing step, especially when you’ve been staring at your resume for hours, it’s not something you want to skip (at all). Here are some of our best tips for proofreading your resume:
- Step away from your resume for a few hours and then go back to proofread;
- Proofread from a different screen;
- Have a trusted friend look at your resume to edit for errors.
You can do a combination of those for the best effect.
Looking for a job can be a tiring and stressful process, especially if you are not prepared for unemployment or if you’re in a major time crunch. But getting your resume noticed by employers isn’t that difficult with some dedication and time. Investing some effort into making an outstanding resume will go surprisingly far in your job hunt!
If there is one thing we want you to take away from this article, it’s that showing someone you are capable is always far preferable to just writing it down. When applying for a job, it isn’t easy to demonstrate certain skills on a resume (it is, after all, just one document).
But a good, professional resume shows that you are someone who isn’t willing to accept the bare minimum. It shows that you are proud of your work and that you make sure to put out something great every time—and that is what makes your resume stand out.
Dmytro Sokhach is an entrepreneur and the 6-Figure Flipper Club member. Founded Admix Global (web agency) that builds websites, makes them profitable, and sells them as business