Creating a Resume that Stands Out

Creating a Resume That Stands Out and Gets Results

There are a few things you can do in writing and formatting your resume that will make it stand out to a hiring manager rather than being one that ends up in the discard pile. Until I joined Aureus Group and got to see the inner workings of hiring managers, HR departments, applicant tracking software, and the many other pieces that go into the hiring process, I had no idea what made an effective resume, and I made many common mistakes myself. In this post, I’m going to share with you the changes I’ve learned, which help candidates get more interviews.

Have a Clean and Clear Format

I’ve always been an artistic person who has spent a lot of time learning and practicing graphic design. When I would search for resume examples online, results would come up with these beautiful and ornate examples I thought would really make my resume stand apart. What I didn’t realize was that all of the time I spent adding colors, graphics, special layout boxes, and choosing fonts, I was just sabotaging my resume.

When a job is posted online, it’s not uncommon for hundreds of applications to come in for an opening. To handle the volume, only a small amount of time is available to hook the person reviewing the resume and show them your resume is qualified for the open role. Some companies will utilize software that will scan a resume and populate fields within their system with your work history, skills, education, etc. If your resume isn’t set up in a clean and clear format, either the reviewer or the software used to aid them may not read/process your resume and it will end up in the rejected pile or not being processed at all. Just remember something that looks nice may not be easy to read or effective.

Here’s how to format a resume so it’s clean and effective:

  • Keep it left-aligned. Other than the header of the resume where you can put your full name and contact information, which is okay to have centered, the text in the body should be left-aligned. This is how we read most books, websites, and other content, so we as readers are conditioned to process and understand information this way.
  • Keep the format linear. As mentioned above, just because something looks nice, doesn’t mean it’s easy to read. When your resume is being reviewed by someone who may have a large amount to review, having everything laid out where it’s expected will allow them to quickly identify your strengths and how well you align with their open position. If the information is hard to find because it’s placed in a non-traditional spot on the page, key information may go unnoticed, leading to a rejection. Organizing the different aspects of your resume linearly and in order of relevance/importance to the reviewer will allow you to stand out. I recommend the following order:
    • Name
    • Experience
    • Skills
    • Education/certifications
  • Only use text. Many resume templates will include graphics where you can put in some gauge or meter for how experienced you are on certain skills. Or you may be tempted to add the logos of certain software that you know rather than just listing the name. Something that might be an effective design for a print advertisement or catches the eye on a website is completely ineffective for your resume. Application scanning software won’t be able to capture and transcribe graphics into their systems. Unless the person who is reviewing your resume can recognize the logo for a specific piece of specialized software you know, your resume won’t communicate the required information effectively. Oftentimes people are looking to find certain keywords to verify your skills and experience align with what is needed for the job description. Make it easy and clear by just using text in your resume so however it’s being reviewed, it can be effective. I will mention here at Aureus Group, we do add our logo to the top header of many of the resumes we send out to clients. The reason we do this though is exactly the same reason why we want the rest of it to be in text format. We want our clients to instantly recognize where the resume is from and that it’s of quality. The Aureus Group brand has many years of excellence behind it, so we leverage that in making resumes stand out from the rest.

Using Only Relevant and Essential Content

Oftentimes you feel like you need to really show your value by adding in all of the accomplishments, skills, experiences, and things you are capable of doing. I will say that unless it is exactly relevant to the job description of the opportunity you’re applying for, they should be left out.

When you first start creating your resume you should have a “Master Copy” where it has all of your skills and experience but is merely the starting template that should never be used to apply to a specific job. Once you have a job opportunity you are applying for, save a new copy of your resume and trim out all details that are not relevant to the job. After that, you can spend a little bit of time highlighting your skills and experience as they directly relate to the position. This will tell the story of your experiences and capabilities to the reviewer of how you will be able to perform in the position.

Now, it’s going to be rare you will line up one-to-one on every requirement of a job posting. That’s okay, and I would honestly say it is a good thing. If you are not pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and looking at a position where you are growing, then there is probably a better position out there that will let you do so. Add any “transitionary skills/experiences” that are relevant to the duties in the job and show how having those skills will enable you to learn, grow, and excel in this opportunity. By having that clear storytelling in your resume, the hiring manager will have more confidence you are the right fit for their role.

Keywords and Industries

Because there will be so many resumes for someone to review, or perhaps a piece of software is being used to filter incoming applications, the words you use in your resume are extremely important.

Take a look at the job postings of the positions you are wanting to apply for and then rewrite the version of your resume you are going to use in your submission to include the appropriate keywords. Especially if you are applying for a position with lots of technical terms, your resume may be reviewed by someone without a deep understanding of how the role is done or a piece of software that is looking to give a “match score.” Having the correct wording in your resume will validate your ability against the requirements and show your capabilities in fulfilling the needs of the role.

Depending on the type of position you are looking to fill, industry experience may also play a huge role. Add in the industry under the name of your previous employer to help clearly show to the reviewer that you may have the appropriate industry knowledge/experience that will allow you to exceed. As an example, having prior experience working within the banking industry will give you a leg up when applying to opportunities with banking companies. The same goes for agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, and all sorts of other industries. The person reviewing your resume might not recognize the name of your previous employer, but clearly showing the industry that you worked in will help them match your experience with their unique needs and make you stand out

When you are going through and customizing your resume to the opportunities you are applying for, make sure you are doing so honestly. It’s easy to embellish skills or your duties at a prior employer. But when you get the interview, you will often be asked to dive deeper into things you put on your resume. Employer verification and reference checks happen also before starting a position, which could uncover discrepancies in your resume. It’s best to always be open and honest at all stages in your job search.

How We Can Help

There are so many variables to being effective in your search for the right career opportunity. Here at Aureus Group, we pride ourselves in supporting candidates as they find the right opportunity for themselves as well as being a partner to the companies looking to find the right talent to fill their positions. We are here to help you through every stage, including customizing your resume, making sure you are prepared and confident in going into your interviews, and ensuring the onboarding experience is great once you accept an offer. The relationship we build goes long beyond your first day as well, as our recruiters, account managers, and operations team are available to you throughout your whole career. If you are looking for someone to partner with, reach out to us today.

Tanner Lytle, Account Manager
Tanner has been an account manager at Aureus Group since 2021, helping match clients with talent in the technology field to help move their business forward. In his free time, he enjoys creating art, playing guitar, cooking, reading, and spending as much quality time with friends and family as possible!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *