Fantastic Ways To Make Your Resume Stand Out
The job market is competitive right now — here’s how to maximize your chances of success.
Job hunting can be an exciting yet overwhelming experience. I get it no one likes to get the dreaded rejection email, and nothing is more frustrating or discouraging than sending off 20 or more applications and getting zero responses. You may have the exact experience a hiring manager is looking for, but maybe youre just not telling your story right. Or its possible your resume isnt getting past strict algorithms that scan resumes for keywords.
If youre wondering what you can do to set yourself apart from other candidates, youre in the right place. From choosing the right keywords to designing the ideal layout, creating a stellar resume is no easy feat. But youre fully capable of getting the job done no pun intended.
Yes You Do Need A Summary Up Top
The first 15-20 words of your resume are critically important because thats how long you usually have a hiring managers attention, says Lees. Start with a brief summary of your expertise. Youll have the opportunity to expand on your experience further down in your resume and in your cover letter. For now, keep it short. Its a very rich, very brief elevator pitch, that says who you are, why youre qualified for the job, and why youre the right person to hire, says Heifetz. You need to make it exquisitely clear in the summary that you have what it takes to get the job done. It should consist of a descriptor or job title like, Information security specialist who It doesnt matter if this is the exact job title youve held before or not, says Lees. It should match what theyre looking for. Here are two examples:
Healthcare executive with over 25 years of experience leading providers of superior patient care.
Strategy and business development executive with substantial experience designing, leading, and implementing a broad range of corporate growth and realignment initiatives.
And be sure to avoid clichés like highly motivated professional. Using platitudes in your summary or anywhere else in the document is basically like saying, Im not more valuable than anyone else, explains Lees. They are meaningless, obvious, and boring to read.
My Example Ot Resumes
Once youve pulled all of the elements outlined above it is time to craft your resume into one that truly stands out, which means you have to look at the final element: design.
For this I thought it would be helpful to look at some resume examples.
I have had a pretty unconventional career, but I thought it was worth showing you an example of my resume from when I was new grad OT, along with my current resume. This way you can see how my format and content has evolved over the years to reflect my professional accomplishments.
For my new grad resume example, I used a free template from Canva. Canva had some really nice minimalist designs, you should check for a simple resume.
For my most current resume, I couldnt find an option on Canva that accommodated the longer paragraphs I needed to to describe my recent jobs, so I decided to purchase a template from Creative Market.
An example of a new grad OT resume
An example of an occupational therapy resume with diverse experiences
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Arrange Your Contact Information
Now that you know the format youre going to use, its time to start your resume. First things first, employers need to know who you are and how to contact you.
List the following contact details in your resume header at the top of the page:
- Telephone number
- Email address
- Link to online portfolio
- LinkedIn profile
Traditionally, you would also include your mailing address on your resume. However, this is no longer mandatory because most job applications are sent via email.
Here are two examples of how you can format your contact information section:
List Hard And Soft Skills
A resume’s skills section allows you to list your relevant hard and soft skills. Hard skills are job-specific technical abilities or training, such as data analysis or graphic design. Soft skills refer to personality traits that influence how you work, such as organization and time management. It’s important to review the job description and search for any keywords that you can include on your resume.
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Show How You Have Been A Strong Leader And Team Player
Most organizations value leadership and teamwork very highly. When writing descriptions of your previous jobs, try to include examples of how each job required you to demonstrate these skills. Incorporate words that show formal and informal leadership and teamwork, such as “led,””mentored,””drew a consensus,””collaborated,” and “sought input.”
Make A Winning First Impression
Creating a winning resumé is a key piece of a successful job search. With one quick scan, you want to compel a hiring manager into calling you that requires using strong language, quantifying your achievements, and remembering to show, not tell. Paired with a thoughtful, yet effective cover letter, your resumé has the power to leave a positive first impression with potential employers.
Use these seven tips to create a resumé that stands out so you can take the next step in the hiring process from acing the phone interview to getting invited back for an in-person interview, and ultimately landing your next role.
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Design With Readability In Mind
Avoid using graphics, tables, pie charts, and illustrations, which resume-scanning software cant read. Make sure you use a simple font like Helvetica, Arial, or Times New Romanless common fonts may be rejected by an ATS, and are harder to read for humans, too. Then, use clear section headings and make them stand out with bold type, capital letters, or a different color.
Avoid Clichs Or Jargon
Put everything in terms a layperson can understand. And reconsider stock phrases like big picture thinker, out-of-the-box, thought leader, or innovative, which are so overused that they dont mean anything anymore. Just like in the rest of your resume, youre better off quantifying your results and backing up your skills with numbers.
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Tip : How To Write An Education Section That Stands Out
The education section demonstrates that you have the academic qualifications for the position. The key questions you should ask yourself while writing this section is, Have I clearly communicated the strongest and most relevant aspects of my educational experience? The next question is, Is this section organized in a way that is easily readable by the employer?
The education section is important for all applicants but may be weighted differently depending on how long it has been since you graduated from a degree program. For instance, an employer may have a different level of interest in the educational history of a college senior, compared to someone who has been professionally working for several years after college. Understanding this fact may influence where you choose to place this section on your resume.
In general, you should include all of the higher education that you may have had, including undergraduate, graduate, or professional schooling. You may also consider including online courses, certificates, and completed programs through companies like Coursera. Most people list their experiences in an order called reverse chronological, meaning that they list the most recent experience first, and work backwards down the page.
Other Important Resume Sections
The sections weve covered so far are must-haves for any resume. Theyre the bread-and-butter for any job application, and if you get them right, youll land any job you apply to.
The following sections, though, can really give you a boost here and there.
Are you bi-lingual? Or better, multi-lingual? You should ALWAYS mention that on your resume!
Even if the position doesnt require you to know the specific language, it can still come in handy at some point. At the end of the day, its always better to know more languages than less.
To list languages in your resume, simply write them down and assign them the appropriate level:
As a given, you should never lie about your language skills. You never know, your interviewer might turn out to be fluent in the language, or even be a native speaker!
Hobbies & Interests
Want to add some spice to your resume? The hobbies and interests section, while not a game-changer, can help show who YOU are as an individual. Who knows, maybe you and your interviewee have some hobbies in common?
If you end up with some extra space in your resume, dont hesitate to show off your personality with a hobbies/interests section.
If youre the type of person to use your free time helping others, while expecting nothing in return, chances are that youre the type of employee whos in it for more than just the money. It leaves the impression that youre a devoted, loyal employee.
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The Ordinary Ot Resume
Most resumes will have a lot in common. Here are a few examples of roles and responsibilities that youre likely to see on a majority of your peers resumes.
- Roles and responsibilities for occupational therapists. Note that most people recognize that you should always start a bullet point with an action-oriented word:
- Managed a caseload of ____ patients
- Examined and diagnosed patients physical conditions.
- Respected and maintained the privacy and confidentiality of all patients.
- Performed daily bedside ADL assessments and formulated intervention plans with functional outcomes.
- Led quarterly screenings of long-term residents.
- Evaluated acute care patients.
- Assessed clients for custom seating and wheelchair needs.
Obviously, while these things arent surprising or especially strong, youll still need some on your resume. But dont overdo itordinary OT resumes are filled with that stuff.
Utilize Quantitative Information Whenever Possible
Our minds automatically respond to numbers, percentages, and dollar signs. Rather than using words to describe these achievements, use numbers and symbols. Whatever you can do as an applicant to keep the eyes on your document means that you have a better chance of being noticed.
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Divide Your Resume Into Clear Sections
You may have, far and away, the best resume for the position you are applying for. However, if your information isnât easy to sort through, it wonât be noticed and will be tossed aside with all the others. For this reason, the organization of information is incredibly important.
Organize and split up your resume into clearly-labeled sections so your potential employer will know exactly where to find the information thatâs most important to them.
Remember, make your section headers obvious both in placement and labeling. You donât want employers to throw your resume aside just because they canât locate the information theyâre looking for.
In addition to making it easier on the human eye, you also need to remember that many ATS scans rely on section headers to parse your information. You donât want to confuse the machine.
Again, if you organize and label correctly, the reader will know exactly where to find the information they care about. If they canât find the important stuff right away, they will simply move on to the next resume. Make sure to clearly and neatly label each section header to let the reader know where to find the information they need.
Donât try to be original with your headings, you will only confuse the ATS and probably humans too. Stick to the classics: âExperience,â âEducation,â âSkills,â and so on.
The following is a wonderful example put together by the professional writers at Zipjob.
Increase Your Resume’s Aesthetic Appeal
Here is a list of considerations to help ensure your resume is professional:
Font style: Be sure that the font you use for your resume is clear and professional. Consider using fonts such as Georgia, Times New Roman, Calibri, or Helvetica.
Font size: Choosing a suitable font size helps ensure a recruiter can read the content of your resume. Consider using a font size of 12 to help ensure readability.
Template: Maintain a minimalist look in your designs. If you’re using a template, ensure that the visual components highlight the resume’s content rather than distract from it.
Colour scheme: When developing your resume, choose a visually appealing colour scheme. White is an excellent background colour, black is optimal for writing, and a third colour may be used to draw attention to specific information.
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Two: Its All About The Content
We know that having an awesome resume is the first step towards landing your dream job, but how do you decide what to include if youve got years worth of experience to showcase? And what do you add if youre new to the workforce and feel like you dont have much to share? In this series, well take a look at how to master the art of building the perfect resume to win your next gig.
The Basics: It goes without saying, but dont forget to clearly add your name, location, contact details and any other key information about visas, citizenship, and/or relocation details. If youre applying for a technical or creative role and have websites or work that you would like the recruiter to see and click into, make sure to add this clearly in the front and center at the top of the page. If they need a password to access, dont forget to include that too!
To Summary or Not to Summary: If you choose to include an introductory summary, think about including the key skills or achievements that differentiate you from everyone else. Everyone will say that they are a hardworking individual or have good communication skills, so instead use this space to call out where you can truly add value. Instead of titling it summary, maybe title it why Im right for the job and make it super relevant to the role you are applying for.
What Is One Tip You Can Share With Creative Industry Candidates For Making Their Resumes Really Stand Out
To help creative industry candidates make their resumes stand out, we asked several recruiting leaders at Robert Half to share their best tips. From tailoring your resume to the job to keeping it concise and appealing, read on to learn more from the company that made Forbes 2022 list of Americas Best Professional Recruiting Firms .
Here are six tips to help make your creative industry resume shine:
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Know What To Leave Off Your Resume
Millions of workers lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, and many are still trying to find gainful employment today.
The silver lining, Leavy-Detrick says, is that employers have had to relax some outdated hiring practices as a result. Most noteworthy? Job seekers with a large employment gap on their resumeonce seen as a major red flagare getting a pass.
If your job was a casualty of COVID layoffs, its worth showing how youve stayed active and kept your skills fresh in the interim by getting a professional certification, attending virtual webinars, or otherwise.
Be discerning with the rest of the content: Dont add salary requirements, infographics or photographs. You can also leave off your home address, especially if youre applying for a remote role, or are hoping to convince a hiring manager to consider a remote candidate.
Lastly, avoid the temptation to tick off every job youve ever had.
The resume is a high-level snapshot of your skills, experience, and accomplishments, Leavy-Detrick says. If a hiring manager has to scan through a really bulky one, theyre more likely to miss key responsibilities.
Anything beyond that is best left for the cover letter.
Consider Adding Technical Extracurriculars
Unusual or colorful technical extracurricular activities and interests could be a great way to make your resume stand out! Be sure that they illustrate your passion for the field and fit with the overall job requirements. If you are applying for a programming job, mention that you are a part of a coding meetup. If you are interviewing for an accounting manager position, mention that you manage the books or prepare taxes for a local non-profit on a pro bono basis.
If you are at a loss of where to start when it comes to the resume skills section, try a bit of reverse-engineering! Read through LinkedIn profiles of professionals you admire. Carefully review job descriptions for positions that interest you, and scan lots of others with a highlighter to pick out commonly listed skills. You may also find that a technical skills inventory is an effective way to get started.
Click on the following link for more resume and career advice.
Want to see how your resume stacks up? Try out our free critique today!
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How To Make Your Resume Stand Out
To get ahead of the competition and show employers that youre uniquely qualified for the role you want, your resume needs to do more than just list your experience it needs to help you stand out from other candidates.
Here are eight expert tips for making your resume stand out and grab the attention of employers:
Make Your Resume Keyword
Recruiters and company resume databases search for resumes using keywords. Think of it as similar to the way youd search for a restaurant on Google you enter your key criteria for a place to eat, right? If your resume doesnt have those keywords embedded, it wont be included in the results. Its crucial to identify the right terminology in the industry youre applying for. Take time to research the company, look at the job requirements, and highlight all the keywords and key phrases. Dont get too crazy with the keywords, though. Just put enough to help employers find you faster. Remember this equation: Excellent Resume + Keywords = Job Opportunities.
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