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11 Tips to Get Your Resume Noticed: A Comprehensive Guide with Real Life Examples

Editorial Team | On July 14, 2023

By Emi Leon

Navigating the complex terrain of the job market can be a daunting task, but with a well-crafted resume, you can create a powerful first impression. Your resume serves as a representation of your unique blend of skills, experiences, and achievements; it’s not just a document but a tool that can make you a standout candidate in the crowd or contribute to your application being disregarded.

Importantly, it should include certain words that will get the interviewer to pay attention. This comprehensive guide provides twelve in-depth tips, with a special focus on incorporating specific attention-grabbing words, to help you create a standout resume that grabs attention and lands you that much-coveted job interview.

1. Craft Your Resume Specifically for Each Job Application

In the ever-evolving landscape of the job market, a one-size-fits-all resume simply doesn’t cut it anymore. A generic resume, though easier to mass-distribute, fails to capture the unique needs of each job opening. Hence, it’s essential to create a personalized version of your resume for every job application.

This doesn’t mean rewriting your entire resume each time, but strategically adapting your content to highlight the most relevant skills and experiences to the job at hand. This involves closely examining the job description to identify key skills, experiences, and traits the employer is seeking, and then incorporating these elements in a natural, unforced way into your resume.

The goal is to align your personal attributes and experiences as closely as possible with the prospective employer’s needs. Reflecting the employer’s language and requirements in your resume can increase its relevance and, in turn, the chances of getting shortlisted.

Real Life Examples:

  • If you’re applying for a graphic design role that emphasizes Adobe Creative Suite proficiency, include specific projects where you used these tools: “Used Adobe Illustrator to create eye-catching marketing materials that increased web traffic by 20%.”
  • For a sales role that requires CRM expertise, detail your experience with these systems: “Leveraged Salesforce CRM to maintain customer relationships and track sales opportunities, increasing lead conversion by 30%.”
  • When applying for a project manager role, demonstrate your leadership and planning skills: “Spearheaded a team of 10 to complete a 6-month project 2 weeks ahead of schedule.”
  • If a marketing role highlights the importance of SEO, include your relevant experience: “Optimized company website with SEO best practices, resulting in a 35% increase in organic traffic.”
  • For a customer service position that values problem-solving, emphasize your accomplishments in this area: “Implemented a new customer complaint resolution strategy, reducing resolution time by 50%.”

2. Choose a Professional, Clean Layout and Design for Your Resume

Presentation matters, especially when your resume is often the first impression a potential employer gets of you. An effective resume is not just rich in content but also professionally presented. It’s important to maintain a clean, visually appealing layout that fosters ease of reading.

Stick to professional, easily readable fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman (source), and ensure consistency in your formatting, from bullet points and line spacing to the size and style of section headers. A cluttered, confusing layout can detract from your content, no matter how good it is. Strategically use color to draw attention to key points and use bold or italic fonts to highlight important information such as job titles or significant achievements.

While creativity can set you apart, remember to balance it with professionalism – less is often more when it comes to resume design.

Real Life Examples:

  • Use bullet points for job responsibilities, e.g., “- Led a team of 15 sales representatives.”
  • Use headings and subheadings to organize your information effectively.
  • Use a simple, professional color scheme to highlight key points.
  • Use consistent line spacing and margins for a neat appearance.
  • Use clear, high-contrast text and background colors for easy readability.

3. Build a Powerful Resume Objective or Summary

A resume typically starts with an objective or summary section, and this is your chance to immediately capture the hiring manager’s attention. This section should provide a concise yet compelling snapshot of your career goals, professional skills, and how these align with the specific needs of the employer.

Avoid generic, empty statements that could apply to anyone. Instead, focus on what sets you apart from other candidates and how your unique combination of skills and experiences make you the best fit for the role. Your objective or summary should be tailored to each application, showcasing your understanding of the company’s needs and your eagerness to fulfill them.

Real Life Examples:

  • “Detail-oriented accountant with 10+ years of experience, seeking to leverage my expertise at ABC Company.”
  • “Driven sales manager with a proven track record of exceeding sales targets, excited to bring my strategic sales techniques to XYZ Inc.”
  • “Certified Project Manager experienced in overseeing large-scale projects, looking to contribute to ABC Corporation’s growth.”
  • “Skilled software developer specialized in Java and Python, eager to bring innovative solutions to XYZ Tech.”
  • “Accomplished digital marketer with experience in increasing online presence, excited to utilize my skills at ABC Media.”

4. Highlight Job-Specific Skills in Your Resume

Your skills are the core of what you bring to the table, and it’s essential to present them effectively in your resume. Consider including a distinct ‘Skills‘ section where you can comprehensively list both hard (technical) and soft (interpersonal) skills relevant to the job you’re applying for.

This could range from software proficiency, language fluency, project management expertise, to communication and leadership skills.

Make sure to prioritize and include the skills that are most relevant to the job description. Remember, you’re trying to demonstrate a versatile yet specialized skill set that makes you the best candidate for the job.

Real Life Examples:

  • “Skilled in using Adobe Creative Suite for graphic design projects.”
  • “Excellent time management and organizational skills.”
  • “Proficient in project management software such as MS Project and Basecamp.”
  • “Strong leadership skills with experience in leading teams of 10+ members.”
  • “Exceptional negotiation skills utilized in securing contracts with suppliers and vendors.”

5. Quantify Your Achievements in Your Resume

Tangible proof of your achievements can significantly enhance the impact of your resume. Whenever possible, try to quantify your accomplishments. Instead of saying you “improved sales” or “increased website traffic,” specify by how much, like “boosted sales by 20% over six months” or “increased website traffic by 30% quarter over quarter.”

This not only provides concrete evidence of your skills but also gives the hiring manager a clearer idea of your potential contribution to their company. It demonstrates that you’re focused on results and are capable of achieving concrete goals.

Real Life Examples:

  • “Led a team to achieve 25% over the set sales target in the 2022 fiscal year.”
  • “Managed an annual budget of over $100,000 for department expenses.”
  • “Boosted customer retention rates by 15% through implementing a new customer feedback system.”
  • “Reduced costs by 30% through negotiation of supplier contracts.”
  • “Increased newsletter sign-ups by 20% through a targeted email marketing campaign.”

6. Use Potent Action Verbs in Your Resume

The verbs you choose can make a huge difference in how your resume is perceived. Strong, dynamic action verbs can help to show that you’re someone who takes initiative and gets things done. Instead of weaker, more passive phrases, use powerful verbs like ‘orchestrated,’ ‘executed,’ ‘negotiated,’ ‘initiated,’ or ‘driven.’

These words help portray you as a proactive, action-oriented professional who is capable of making a positive impact on a company.

Real Life Examples:

  • “Championed a new product launch that resulted in a 30% increase in sales.”
  • “Revitalized a stagnant social media strategy, growing the follower base by 50%.”
  • “Pioneered a new customer feedback process to improve customer service.”
  • “Mobilized a team to implement a new project ahead of schedule.”
  • “Spearheaded a fundraising campaign that raised $100,000 for a local charity.”

7. Incorporate Job-Relevant Keywords in Your Resume

Most companies today use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to sort and filter resumes, especially when dealing with a large number of applicants. These systems are designed to scan your resume for relevant keywords that match the job description.

Failing to include these keywords could result in your resume being filtered out before it even reaches a human eye. Therefore, it’s important to analyze the job description carefully and ensure your resume includes these relevant keywords in a natural, fluent manner.

This can significantly enhance your chances of passing through this initial screening phase and getting your resume in front of a hiring manager.

Real Life Examples:

  • “Oversaw operations in a high-volume retail store.”
  • “Utilized Google Analytics to drive website traffic and increase engagement.”
  • “Instituted a customer relations strategy that improved customer satisfaction.”
  • “Led a team of software developers in creating a new mobile application.”
  • “Managed social media campaigns to increase brand visibility and engagement.”

8. Maintain Resume Brevity

While it’s important to provide a comprehensive overview of your skills and experiences, remember that hiring managers are often inundated with resumes and tend to skim through them quickly. Keeping your resume brief and pointed, ideally within one to two pages, can increase the chances of your key points being noticed.

Discard any outdated or irrelevant information and concentrate on your most impressive and pertinent accomplishments. Each piece of information should serve a purpose in demonstrating your suitability for the role.

Real Life Examples:

  • “Developed a marketing strategy that increased brand awareness.”
  • “Managed a team of software developers to deliver projects on time.”
  • “Led a customer service team to improve customer satisfaction rates.”
  • “Implemented new sales techniques that increased sales by 15%.”
  • “Organized events to enhance brand reputation and attract potential clients.”

9. Proofread Your Resume Thoroughly

A single error on your resume can be detrimental, as it can imply a lack of attention to detail. Be sure to proofread your resume rigorously for any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors.

But don’t stop at self-review – also consider getting a second opinion. Have a mentor, career coach, or even a trusted friend review your resume, as they might catch errors that you’ve overlooked and provide valuable feedback.

Real Life Examples:

  • Double-check your contact information for any errors.
  • Read your resume aloud to catch any awkward phrasing.
  • Use a tool like Grammarly or Hemingway to catch spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Ask a mentor or career coach to review your resume.
  • Take a break and come back to proofreading with fresh eyes.

10. Pair Your Resume with a Compelling Cover Letter

Though not technically part of your resume, a well-crafted cover letter can significantly boost your job application. Your cover letter offers you a chance to tell your story in a more narrative format, explaining who you are as a professional and why you’re passionate about the role and the company.

It can also be a space to explain any gaps in your employment or unique circumstances that your resume might not fully convey. A compelling, personalized cover letter can leave a strong impression and make a hiring manager more likely to review your resume in detail.

Real Life Examples:

  • “I was excited to find the Marketing Manager role at XYZ Company, where I believe my strategic marketing skills can help drive your brand’s growth.”
  • “As a driven sales professional with a proven track record, I am eager to bring my results-oriented approach to the Sales Manager role at ABC Inc.”
  • “I’m passionate about creating innovative software solutions and am excited about the Software Developer opportunity at XYZ Tech.”
  • “As an experienced Project Manager, I’m excited about the opportunity to drive large-scale projects at ABC Corporation.”
  • “I’m thrilled to apply for the Digital Marketing position at ABC Media, where my skills in driving online presence align with your company’s goals.”

11. Synchronize Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile

In today’s interconnected digital age, LinkedIn serves as a go-to hub for professionals across industries. It’s not just a platform to showcase your career trajectory, but also a powerful tool for networking, job searching, and industry research. Keeping your LinkedIn profile updated is vital in this context, as an outdated profile can send a signal of negligence or disinterest in your career progression.

An updated LinkedIn profile does more than just mirror your resume; it offers a comprehensive look at your professional persona. Unlike a resume, your LinkedIn profile isn’t confined to a two-page limit, giving you the liberty to elaborate on your achievements, projects, and responsibilities. It is also the place to list all your skills – both hard and soft – and get them endorsed by your connections to increase credibility.

Real Life Examples:

  • Make sure your job titles and dates match those on your resume.
  • Ensure your LinkedIn profile photo is professional and up-to-date.
  • Utilize LinkedIn’s “About” section to expand on your resume’s summary.
  • Keep your skills section updated with all relevant skills.
  • Seek out recommendations from colleagues and supervisors to bolster your profile.

About the Author:

Emi Leon is a well-established bilingual recruiter with over a decade of experience. As the Co-Founder and Talent Solutions Director at Palermo Advisors, Emi leverages his unique attributes of flexibility, creativity, and curiosity in every endeavour.

Previous roles as Head of Talent Acquisition at Alto and Senior Technical Recruiter at DistantJob have added to his vast industrial knowledge.

Emi is an ardent advocate of remote work, driven by the power it has to connect global talent with companies worldwide. A proud alumnus of Universidad Central de Venezuela, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Psychology, graduating Magna Cum Laude. His sustained commitment to innovation in recruitment strategies continues to empower businesses around the world.

Check out other articles by best-selling authors:

Dawn Rasmussen – Top Five Questions About Resumes Answered

Sunny Lurie – Eight Proven Strategies to Open the Door to a Vibrant New Career

Stacia Pierce – How to Search for a Job During the Holidays

Dawn Quesnel- Helpful Hints for Job Seekers

Stacia Pierce – Conceit vs. Confidence

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