A Guide to Creating a Standout Resume

Your resume is your professional calling card. It’s the main way employers evaluate your skills and experience before following up with you about a job, and it is the first step in what could be a highly selective screening process. Creating a resume that gives you a competitive edge over other job candidates is essential in your quest to get your foot in the door at the company you ideally want to work for. A well-crafted resume could be your only chance to impress upon employers what you have to offer professionally, and you need to make sure your resume has what it takes to stand out. What are the main factors of a good resume? Read on for some insights.

Use Your Words

The language you choose to highlight your experiences – both educational and professional – is very important. Be aware that the human resources person who will most likely be reviewing your resume will notice everything from the adjectives you choose to describe yourself in your summary statement to the verbs you use to describe your professional contributions. Keeping your descriptions concise and using easily identifiable keywords will help cut the clutter from your resume. Make sure the words you use to describe yourself are action-oriented and professionally appropriate.

  • Use action verbs to describe your professional contributions.

  • Summarize key points from your experience and/or education in succinct bullet points that utilize keywords to describe your skills.

  • Create clear subheadings for each section of your resume. For example: Separate education, skills, and professional experience sections of resume with different subheadings in different text styles.

  • Don’t get text heavy. Make sure there is an equal balance between descriptions and subheadings.

  • Eliminate unnecessary words. Trimming the fat from your sentences and fragments will help you keep the content concise, which makes it easier for the HR person reviewing your resume to read through your materials.

Aesthetics

The way your resume looks is often equally as important as what it says. Making your resume look aesthetically pleasing is one way to make a positive impression on the people who will be reviewing it. Choosing the right font, making spacing decisions, and formatting text properly are all choices you will need to make in order to make your resume visually appealing.

  • Ideal resume font choices can include: Helvetica, Arial, Times New Roman, Bodoni MT, Bell MT, Cambria, Calibri, Garamond, and Georgia. Whichever font you choose, make it legible, and don’t use Comic Sans. Just Don’t. Ever.

  • Margins should be .5 inches to 1 inch all around. Stay consistent.

  • Bullet points are your friend.

  • Mix regular case, bold, and italic for variety.

  • If you’re planning to use color, make sure the colors you choose are pleasing and consistent with your personal brand.

Takeaways

Your resume should be a brief (yet comprehensive) history of your relevant experience and summary of your marketable skills. Think about what skills you have to offer an employer, and tailor your resume to specific opportunities. Many people keep a master resume that they revise several times for specific job opportunities. Remember, it’s all about consistency in your formatting, and the words you choose to present your experience with must be chosen with care. Stay tuned to Lionbridge onDemand’s blog for more tips on career preparation!

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