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Writing a Résumé That Stands Out

Six seconds. That is how long you have to impress the person looking at your résumé. Recruiters have a keen eye for detail when it comes to your résumé. Any small flaw or out of place line will stick out like a sore thumb. 

There are many templates for resumes out there, but your resume should be plain and simple. Résumé builders can often add things that are not necessary. If you would like to use a template, make sure that it follows the tips in this guide.

Résumé checklist

  • Use a good font. Calibri, Georgia, Arial etc. look professional. Use 11 or 12 point font.
  • Set your margins evenly.
  • Have consistent line spacing.
  • Make sure you leave enough white space so it doesn’t appear cluttered.
  • Do not use graphics or photos.
  • Ideally, your résumé should be one page.
  • Highlight skills, experiences, qualifications, and accomplishments that are most relevant to the position you are applying for. You don’t need to include every job you have had.
  • Start with action words to describe what you accomplished! Don’t write in first or second person. 

Example of what NOT to write:
I was responsible for maintaining a positive work atmosphere

Example of what TO write:
Maintain a positive work atmosphere

© emiliezhang / Adobe Stock

© emiliezhang / Adobe Stock

Formatting your résumé

Formatting your résumé can be tricky. Here is the most ideal information to include: 

  • Name
  • Email address (make sure this is professional)
  • Telephone number
  • Mailing address
  • LinkedIn profile (optional)
  • Work experience
    • Highlight your responsibilities and qualifications using action verbs at the beginning. We can’t stress this enough—use action words!
  • Education
  • Certifications
  • Awards
  • Memberships

You can organize your résumé in chronological order, a common format that places your most recent work experience is at the top, and least recent is at the bottom. Another option is a functional résumé that focuses on your skills and abilities rather than your work history. This will allow you to better tailor your résumé to highlight your skills that align with the job you are applying for. 

Remember, you only get around one page—two,  tops—so you do not need to add every job you have ever worked. Adding every single job you have worked can take up precious space. Keep it brief and concise. 

To get you on your way to writing an eye-catching résumé to help land your next interview, here is a basic resume template that you can customize. If you’d like to learn more about career development resources available through the Mid-North Promise Program, a free college and career success program, call 317-334-3817 or email promiseinfo@childrensmuseum.org. 

Other Resources:

185+ Action Verbs That Will Majorly Impress Hiring Managers by The Muse Editors
How to Make a Resume for a Job in 2022 by Conrad Benz
How to Write a Resume posted by the Glassdoor Team