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Tips for Writing a Great Resume

Tips for Writing a Great Resume

News / February 17, 2022

So it’s that time again. Time to craft the perfect resume, which is only the most important document in your career. And since hiring managers don’t spend much time–some research suggests only 6 seconds–you need to work quickly and carefully to make yours stand out. Whether you’re brand new to the workforce or a seasoned veteran, everyone needs a little resume help. Here are some resume tips to make yours stand out.


Sprinkle in the key words

Read and re-read that job posting a few more times. Make a note of the key words, required skills, qualifications and other unique phrases that jump out at you. Then pepper those same terms into your resume. Most companies use technology to scan resumes before they’re handed over to real-life people, so the more your resume parallels the job posting, the better.


Peruse some resume samples

Google resumes from other professionals in your industry, especially similar positions to what you’re applying for. Obviously you can’t steal someone else’s qualifications, but take note of what they’re emphasizing and make sure yours has a similar focus. Or, if you don’t think it’s a particularly strong resume, what could the applicant have done to make it stronger? How can you make your resume outshine theirs?


Keep only relevant skills and experiences

You can’t put every single job you’ve ever had on your resume. You just can’t. Unless you’re relatively new to the workforce and have had only one or two other jobs. Then, you have to work with what you’ve got. Otherwise, focus on the most relevant and recent jobs. So, although you worked hard selling ice cream at the local creamery when you were in high school, chances are you can leave that off your resume. In fact, anything more than ten to fifteen years ago is probably irrelevant, especially if you’re in a field that relies heavily on technology, which changes so quickly. Focus on what you’ve done lately and what’s relevant now.


Limit yourself to a page (or two)

A page, maybe slightly more, is plenty! If you choose the right language and format your resume properly–more on that below–you should be able to prove to a potential employer whether or not you’re worthy in a single page. Remember that employers don’t spend much time poring through the details. They’re busy people and they might have hundreds of resumes to get through. But one page is the sweet spot. Too short and you can look inexperienced, too long the employer won’t bother to see it all.


Show off your website

If you’re really itching to show off all your accomplishments, create a personal website that you link on the top of your resume, along with your contact info. This is especially useful for creative careers like graphic design, advertising, or writing where you’d want to build a portfolio. Linked In works well for cataloging all your experience and skills, too. Even if a website doesn’t make sense for you, keep a master list on file with all your past jobs, qualifications, certifications, awards and more. You never know when you’ll need to reference them down the road, and it’ll be a lot easier if you don’t have to rely on your memory.


Make it “skimmable”

Remember–employers are glancing for a few moments, then shuffling your resume to one pile or another, so make it easy to read. Keep it at 10 or 12 pt, in an easy-to-read font, nothing cute or script-like. Align everything to the left and use bullet points, no more than 5 or 6 per subheading,


Update your contact info

This one is obvious, right? But most people spend more time and effort updating their skills and picking out the right power verbs, and totally forget to update the address from the apartment they shared with eight friends right after college. And while we’re at it, have a professional email address. It can be as simple as Gmail, just nothing that hints at immaturity. Use larger fonts, bold, and underline to make your name and contact information really stand out. Make yourself memorable.


Use numbers

Nothing adds power and emphasis to all your accomplishments like numbers, so use as many statistics, facts, and figures as you can, this will give you a solid and great resume! It’s one thing to show that you increased the company’s sales revenues, but it’s totally different if you can say by how much. Or how many people you managed. Or the percentage by which you exceeded your quota. This will give employers a better picture of what you can do for them.


Highlight the transferable skills

If you’re applying to a job in a new field or that you’re just not quite qualified for, don’t fret! Instead, focus on your soft skills, those skills that are important in every job. Like leadership, communication, teamwork, problem-solving, punctuality, time management, work ethic. Wow, the list goes on. In fact, those are the skills that are often inherent in employees, that new training can’t even teach. So if you have the soft skills, but not necessarily the hard, technical skills you’re still in good shape.


Use powerful action words

Employers want to see what you’ve accomplished and what you can do for them. Don’t simply say that you “were responsible for,” say that you managed, powered, took charge of. Use an online thesaurus to make sure every verb and adjective is the most powerful word you can use to make you sound like a go-getter who can make valuable contributions at your new company. Powerful action words make for a great resume!


Don’t ignore the extras

Those extras might be what make your resume unforgettable! Volunteer positions, freelance work, blogging, special awards all make you seem intriguing and desirable. Yes, they take up valuable real estate on your single-page resume, but showing off those unique skills you’ve developed is well-worth it. You don’t have much space, so use those power words and numbers to show how remarkable you are.


Get help! 

You know who’s totally willing and ready to help you write a great resume? One of our experts at Chief of Staff. They’ll make yours stand out and look exciting in a sea of other resumes. Not only that, they’ll connect you with opportunities that are right for you, prep you for the interview, and go to bat for you to help you make the next move in your career. For more help with your job search, check out our website at