4 Ways to Make Your Resume Stand Out from the Competition

With hundreds of applicants per advertised position, how can you ensure your resume is actually capturing the attention of hiring managers?

On average, recruiters spend less than 10 seconds reviewing each resume received.

Translation: in order to have any chance at surpassing the competition and landing an interview, it’s essential to design a resume that is clear, concise, includes relevant keywords and is aesthetically appealing. With the competition clearly visible on multiple job search websites, such as LinkedIn, the number of previous applicants being displayed is resulting in many millennials becoming more creative with ways to distinguish themselves virtually to impress hiring managers.

Colorful designs, personal headshots, social media profiles, company logos and other non-traditional approaches are becoming increasingly common in resume design - especially within creative fields - but despite best efforts, many recruiters continue to reinforce the importance of professionalism with applications.

Follow these 4 steps to strike the perfect balance of innovation and professionalism and ensure your resume won’t be overlooked:

1. Focus on Keywords

Carefully read the job description for each position applied to and incorporate keywords on your resume as they relate to your experience. With many companies utilizing applicant tracking systems that search specifically for industry specific terms, it’s not unusual that a resume never reaches the hands of a live person if this important step is neglected.  

2. Highlight Accomplishments, Not Responsibilities

Whether from college extracurriculars, internships or professional experience, tracking analytics and other ways in which you were successful in improving the team you worked with, fulfilling company objectives or accomplishing projects beyond the job description provides proof that you’re a highly qualified applicant with the capacity to enhance the organization.

3. Keep Design Simple

There are hundreds of unique resume templates available through digital resources like Etsy and Canva that make creating an eye-catching resume easier than ever. However, when it comes to resume design, simpler is often better. The goal is to showcase your talent and accomplishments in a way that is distinct, easy to read, and uncluttered. Adding a minimal amount of creativity may be appropriate for certain positions, but in general, the priority should be to create a succinct overview of your accomplishments in a non-distracting way.

4. Begin Each Bullet Point With an Engaging Adjective

Use these to begin each bullet point on your resume, and keep the rest simple and concise. The details can be explained in a cover letter, an online portfolio, or (ideally!) a face to face interview. Some of the best adjectives to describe previous positions include:

  • Accelerated
  • Organized
  • Enhanced
  • Strengthened
  • Increased
  • Spearheaded
  • Established
  • Launched
  • Initiated
  • Resolved

Your personal resume should be a piece of work highlighting your experience, achievements, and goals that you feel proud to share with potential employers. Whether you’re a student or recent graduate, constructing a well-written resume that’s both original and professional takes thought and effort.

Need help creating the perfect resume for your dream internship or career? Become a PathMatch client to get resume insights, optimization guides, and ATS friendly templates.

Or, download our PathMatch app to make crafting your resume something you can do on the go!