How to Build a Resume That Will Stand Out - Penn-Mar

How to Build a Resume That Will Stand Out

Posted on January 26, 2022

Chances are that you’ve heard of resumes before and probably even have one of your own. Resumes are documents used to highlight your skills and experience in an effort to get a job. They are the foundation of your job search. But, even if you already have a resume, you shouldn’t just stick with the same old one and hope it gets you hired. You need a resume that will stand out and get you noticed by a hiring professional.

Since resumes are often the first thing an employer sees from you, it’s paramount that your resume is organized, accurate, and comprehensive. Submitting a resume that is improperly formatted, contains spelling and grammatical errors, leaves large gaps in your history, or uses falsified information is a sure way to get your resume thrown out of consideration immediately.

So, whether you already have a draft or not, consider spending some time making sure your resume is in top shape and ready to be sent out. In this article, we’ll explain how to build a resume that will stand out and get you noticed.

First, let’s focus on the basics of building a resume.

How to Create a Resume

1. Select a Template – There are many different resume templates readily available for you to use, no matter what writing program you prefer. Both Google Docs and Microsoft Word offer a variety of templates to help you build a polished resume. You can also find even more on the internet. Be sure to select a professional template that is simple and set up in an easy-to-read format.

Make sure the template includes a professional font, like Arial, Times New Roman, Helvetica, Georgia, or Calibri. Generally, you should use 12 point font and make sure all text is consistent throughout the document. Your template should also use attractive colors to make your resume appealing to look at. But, make sure not to overdo it. Sticking to a white background, black text, and a third color is a good rule-of-thumb.

You can also use a resume builder online to help you create your resume. These websites make building a great resume even easier and ensure that they are formatted correctly. There are many different options, so do some research to figure out the best resume builder for you!

2. Add Your Contact Information – After you’ve selected a template or resume builder, it’s time to start filling out your resume. The first thing to include is your contact information—like your first and last name, your email address, and your phone number. You can also choose to include other relevant information, like a link to your portfolio or professional networking page. 

3. Include a Summary and Objective – Next, add your summary and objective. The summary should be a brief overview of your relevant work experience to help you stand out from other applicants. The objective should highlight specific skills and qualifications you possess that are valuable for the role you are applying for. 

Your summary and objective are crucial because they are the first things a hiring professional will look at on your resume. If they are poorly written or aren’t relevant, then the hiring professional may move on from your application, even without looking at the rest of your resume.

4. List Your Work Experience – When listing your work experience, you’ll want to provide a clear history of the previous positions you’ve held, especially those relevant to the opening you are applying for. This information will include the name of your employer and their location, your job title, and the dates you were employed. 

For each previous employer, you can add a description to explain your responsibilities in that role and highlight any particular achievements or accomplishments you had. This is another good area to focus on how your previous experience relates to the job you are applying for.

5. Add Your Education – Different jobs require certain levels of education, so be sure to include your highest level of education completed on your resume. If you are still in high school or recently graduated, you should include that information. If you are currently pursuing a degree, include the date you started your education and leave the end date blank.

If you’ve received a degree from a college or university, don’t worry about including your high school education information. You also shouldn’t worry about including your GPA unless the job posting specifies it. You can also include academic achievements, awards, and honors in this section. If you have any certifications or active licenses, you can add those as well. 

6. List Your Relevant Skills – There are many different skills to list on a resume, so you should be sure to focus on ones that relate directly to the position you are applying for. Keep in mind that there are both hard skills and soft skills and you will need to include both to make a good impression.

Hard skills include things like languages you speak, software programs you are proficient in, or other technical knowledge that is useful in your specific industry. Soft skills include abilities that can apply to any job, such as leadership, communication, time management, customer service, problem-solving, and more.

Now that we’ve covered some of the basic elements of your resume, let’s explore some of the tips that will help your resume stand out from the rest!

Resume Tips to Help Your Resume Stand Out

1. Customize Your Resume – One of the best things you can do to set your resume apart from other applicants is to customize your resume to each job you apply for. This may require some extra time and effort, but it will ensure that all of the information included in your resume is relevant and tailored to that specific position. This will give you the best shot at being hired.

One tip when updating your resume is to use keywords found in the job description. You can add these keywords to your summary, objective, and job description to make your resume even more attractive and likely to stand out. 

2. Use a Resume Scanner – Application tracking systems (ATS) are tools used by many companies during the hiring process. The ATS scans through all resumes, cover letters, and applications received for a certain job posting. It then uses the information it scans to determine whether the resume or application meets the defined requirements. The ATS removes an application from consideration if it doesn’t meet the set requirements—even before a hiring manager ever sees it. This happens with nearly 75% of resumes.  

Using a resume scanner will help to avoid having your resume prematurely removed from consideration. Resume scanners scan your resume and flag anything that might cause an issue with an ATS. This will ensure that the information on your resume is accurate, readable, and optimized for an ATS. More importantly, using a resume scanner will help your resume get in front of a real hiring manager instead of being rejected early in the process.

3. Submit a Cover Letter – Similar to customizing your resume to the specific job, you should also submit a cover letter with your resume for each application. Cover letters are not always required, but submitting one shows that you are taking the application seriously and you are willing to do extra work to reach your goals. Including a cover letter also gives you another opportunity to explicitly state why and how you are qualified for the job and should be hired.

While your resume is the foundation of your job search, there are also plenty of other resources out there for job seekers to help you get hired! Once you’ve built a great resume that stands out, though, you’ll land your dream job in no time! We even hope it’s with us at Penn-Mar Human Services!

At Penn-Mar, our mission is to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to live courageous lives full of self-determination, independence, and equity. Our approach is innovative, person-centered, and successful. Through meaningful employment, community inclusion, and residential choice, the people Penn-Mar supports are empowered to live their best lives. 

If you’re interested in a human services career and want to make a difference in the lives of others, consider filling out an application to join our team! You can also get involved by learning more about our services, making a donation, or signing up to volunteer with us today!

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