Top Ways to Make Your Resume Stand Out From Your Competition

When you’re after your dream job, you’re likely going up against dozens, if not hundreds of other keen candidates who may be similarly qualified and experienced as you. Therefore, it’s vital to find ways to make your resume — usually the first thing hiring managers see from you — stand out and grab attention for all the right reasons. Read on for some tips you can follow today.

Use an Effective Format

One of the most important factors in creating a resume that gets the desired reaction is using a layout that works. This has numerous effects, from the first impression recruiters get when they open your document (i.e. does it look professional?), through to which information they spot and how quickly; how seriously they take your application; and whether or not they decide to read your resume thoroughly or go on to the next one in their pile.

When considering the layout of your resume, you should remember that hiring managers typically have a huge number of applications to review. Due to this, they simply don’t have time to read each little piece of info on each resume; instead they scan documents to find the best options to spend more time on, and get rid of the rest. To make your resume scannable, break it down with headings, sub-headings and/or bullet points. Keep sentences as short and to-the-point as possible, so you don’t end up with huge big blocks of text. Use an easy-to-read font, like Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri, in a decent size that won’t make people squint.

It’s also wise to include a Summary, Profile or similar section at the top of your document. This should include all the most important pieces of information about you to show recruiters, quickly, why you’re a great fit for the job.

Tailor Content

Always make sure you tailor content for each individual position. You should still have a template document to work from that forms the basis for each application, but you do need to tweak this to make it suit each job and company specifically. There will be small differences from firm to firm and from recruiter to recruiter that you need to be on the lookout for.

Do some research into the company you want to work for, and read the job description multiple times to determine which qualities, responsibilities and other features are their focus. For instance, there might be an emphasis on certain cultural fit, which you need to address, perhaps by showing how your beliefs, attitude and/or work ethic will help you get along with co-workers. See if you can spot certain repeated keywords, phrases or topics that seem to come up multiple times, even if in a slightly different way. Then, try to mention these things in your resume. This will help you if the recruiter is using HR software designed to help filter through applications. Hiring managers input search parameters, such as keywords and phrases, into these programs. To ensure your document doesn’t get knocked out early on, you need to make sure you’re mentioning them too.

Keep in mind that just because some sort of training, qualification or skill seems obvious to you, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother including it on your resume. For instance, if you’re going for an advanced jurisprudence job, you’ll still need to mention your original jurisprudence degree, even if you completed it many years ago. Hiring managers will be looking to see that you have all the necessary pieces of paper to be hired, even if they seem dated to you.

Look for ways to highlight your education and experience, if they are advantageous, as well as the specific results you have achieved over the years. Don’t be vague; use numbers and concrete information as much as possible because this is what will help you to rise above the rest. Demonstrate the benefits you can provide a company, and you’ll have a much better shot for landing the job.


Never submit a resume without first having gone over it with a fine-toothed comb for potential errors. No matter how careful you are when you write and edit your document, there is sure to be at least a couple of mistakes that need fixing up. It is wise to get other people to proofread your resume for you too, as they’re more likely to pick up on errors than you are.

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