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Resume Tips to Make You Standout (2023)

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

The Guide To Building a Standout Resume – everything you need to know

Resume Tips to Standout

We understand a lot has changed during the pandemic. What has not changed is the need for a resume to get an interview. It can be hard to know where to start. Many ask, "How many pages should my resume be?" Or "How many bullet points should each job experience have?" Ask no more!

Here are key questions this article answers:


What is the Purpose of a Resume?

The purpose of a resume is to introduce your knowledge, skills, and abilities to potential employers. It is a way to sell yourself and tell your professional story. Bragging about your accomplishments, experience, and more is encouraged. Writing your own resume helps you recall workplace successes and identify strengths to make you an excellent interviewer. A resume should lead to an interview.

Commonly Asked Questions About Resumes

How many pages should a resume be?

A resume should be no longer than one or two pages on average. However, aim for one page if you hand your resume to a physical person.

What font to use on a resume?

The most commonly used font for resumes is Arial. Some other fonts used on resumes are Times New Roman and Calibri.

Can you use colors on a resume?

Yes, you can use colors on your resume. Color is good for drawing attention to subheadings or a certain group of information. Just make sure the colors are dark and professional. Some commonly used colors are dark grey and dark blue. Creative fields like graphic design may get away with bolder colors.

What to Know Before Writing Your Resume?

We live in the digital age of job searching. In 2022, most job applications and interviews will be online. It is important to know how the application process has changed. Most organizations use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to find qualified candidates.

What are Application Tracking Systems (ATS)
ATS are Used to Find Candidates

What are Applicant Tracking System? It is software that helps companies find and hire new employees. It uses keywords to identify applicants that meet the job requirements. As a result, about 80% of people are rejected based on an Applicant Tracking System.

How to beat Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)? Rather than beat it, work with it! You can work with ATS by including keywords from the job description in your resume. However, do not copy and paste! Rewrite the information in your own words. You will find more information on this topic later in the article.

How to Prepare for Writing your Resume?

Before writing your resume, think about your hard skills. Technical or hard skills are knowledge and abilities needed to do tasks like accounting or typing. You gain these abilities through education, training, and experience.

Brainstorm about your Hard Skills
Take Time to Brainstorm

The following exercise will help:

  1. Get a sheet of paper and make three columns by drawing two lines from the top of the page to the bottom. Leave enough space for you to write between each line.

  2. In the first column on the left side of the paper, list your most recent job for the past year. Be sure to leave space between each employer you list.

  3. In the middle column, list up to five skills you gained at each job.

  4. On the right side of the paper, list how you gained each skill.

Including Keywords

Job descriptions tell you about the position and what skills you need to get hired. Keywords are the knowledge, skills, and abilities repeated in a job description. For example, a job description might list "Customer Support" or "fluent in German" as a requirement. Those keywords are most likely what the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is programmed to check on a resume.

Are you having trouble finding keywords? Try an exercise to help you spot them.

  1. Search for the ideal job you would like to apply for and read the description closely.

  2. Highlight or mark skills you see repeated. Also, skills labeled highly desired or required.

  3. Think about how your work, education, and volunteer experiences relate.

  4. Try to add those keywords to your resume, so they fit naturally. Also, always be honest about your job experience.

Brainstorming may seem dull, but it saves time when you start writing your resume. Also, it makes you better prepared to explain your skills in an interview.

What to Include on a Resume?

Here are some sections or subheadings to include.

1. Name and Contact Information

The contact information section should be at the top of your resume: name, city location, phone number, and email address. Consider adding your LinkedIn or a portfolio link to this section if available. All information should be professional.

Resume Contact Information
Example of Contact Information Section

Like the example above, keep this section clean, concise, and easy to read.

2. Summary and Objective

Usually, the summary or objective goes after the contact information on your resume. The summary can be a great tool to catch someone's attention. Also, this can be another way to incorporate keywords from the job description. In just 3 or 4 sentences, a summary should highlight why you qualify. Share your level of experience, skills, and clear direction.

Summary example for resume
Example of Summary

An objective differs from a summary because it expresses your short-term professional goals. Objectives are not required and best fit those with less work experience.

Objective Example for Resume
Example of Objective

3. Education and Training

Education Example for Resume
Example of Education

The education section of your resume should include the name of your school, city, and diploma. For college certificates or degrees, put your field of study and graduation date. Consider including any academic recognition, coursework, or achievements. Regarding your GPA, only include 3.7 or above, showing academic success. Important Note: If it has been many years since you graduated, do not include a date.

4. Experience

In this section, you want to showcase how you brought value to your past employers in just a few sentences.

Show Your Resume Experience
Showcase Your Experience

List your experience in reverse chronological order, meaning your most recent work should be listed first. Include your job title, years of employment, and resume bullet with statements summarizing your accomplishments and tasks.

Resume bullet points are probably the most challenging part of the resume process. Bullet points should be unique, express value, and show what you accomplished during your employment. The best bullet points share things you did that resulted in success for the company.

Want to improve on your resume bullet points? Try this exercise.

  1. Find your previous job description or a job similar to what you did.

  2. Look for the required tasks and duties

  3. Write a list of your accomplishments based on that information.

While doing so, add action verbs to your bullet points to express capability. Each job title should have about 3-5 bullet points and be descriptive.

Non-Descriptive Resume bullet points
Non-Descriptive Bullet Points

Descriptive Resume Bullet Points
Descriptive Bullet Points

5. Skills and Certifications

The skills and certifications section should include hard and soft skills related to the job. Consider listing tools, software, or industry-standard certifications. Your skills and certifications should match the job description to increase your chances of getting an interview.

Resume Skills and Certifications Section
Skills and Certifications Example

6. Accomplishments and Volunteer Work (Optional)

The last section to consider is accomplishments and volunteer work. This section is not required. However, include it if it makes you stand out. Information should show that you are a great candidate for the job. Look at the job description and see where your accomplishments or volunteer work fits.


Tailoring your resume to the job description is key to standing out.

Tailoring your resume to the job description is key to standing out
Tailor Your Resume

When using the job description method, you are beating the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and catching the eye of potential employers. Remember, share that you are an excellent candidate by the information. Last, highlight results and be specific when writing your resume bullet points.

Are you ready to start going on interviews?


Do you need more hard skills? Microsoft Word and Excel are standard software applications used in many industries. This skill is excellent to have on your resume and is what most employers require. The Next Step, Inc. offers a 2-week course called The Microsoft Office Basics that can help you learn Word and Excel while strengthening your emotional intelligence.

Watch this 30-second to learn more about our program.

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