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How to Make Your Resume Stand Out

As the saying goes, “you only have one chance to make a first impression”.  Nothing could be more true when it comes to preparing a resume that will secure your chance for your dream job or internship. Your resume is your first meeting with a potential employer, so every detail deserves fastidious attention.

Did you know a typical recruiter spends no more than 8-10 seconds screening a resume and a cover letter for the best candidates?  Make sure your resume stands out and rises to the top of the pile by following the tips below.

Six Resume Rules to Remember

  1. Include important keywords. Do your research. Make sure your resume aligns with the culture and mission the company is projecting by selecting key words from the description or company website. Lead with powerful words as you construct your resume and target it appropriately.  Be ready to tweak your resume each time you use it.
  2. Target the right people. Resumes go into limbo, or worse yet, get lost, if sent to the wrong address or system. Follow the company’s defined process by submitting your resume as directed to the identified hiring manager, recruiter, or online system
  3. Create a flow. Your resume should tell your story in a logical sequence. For example: who you are and your contact information, your college highlights, your work experience, your extra credentials and activities. As mentioned before, you will tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for, so be sure you accentuate your related skills and experience appropriately.  Note that as you become a more experienced hire you’ll want to move your college experience to the bottom of your resume to highlight your experience.
  4. Keep it concise. Hiring managers and recruiters get loads of resumes. Make sure your resume is to the point, easy to read, and relevant for the job you’re applying for. Remove details that don’t emphasize related skills.
  5. Focus on format. The look and layout of your resume is all important.  Stay simple to keep it appealing.  Before a resume is ever read, it gets a “once over” on formatting, so make sure it’s pleasing to the eye. Don’t use overly small fonts and ensure sufficient white space for easy readability.  Here’s a great tip — Send your resume to a friend and have them open it. Everything should line up and it should exude professionalism.  Are you struggling to find the right format?  Take advantage of the resume templates available for Word (, or check out the countless other online resources.
  6. Use Spell Check. It’s hard to believe how often this is ignored.  There are no excuses for a single spelling or grammatical error. It takes just a moment, and should always be the last step before printing. Just do it!

Your resume sets the tone for how you will be remembered in a job interview.  Make your resume the best it can be so that you are remembered as the highly competent and intriguing candidate that you are!

Leigh Yanocha is an Executive Director and Head of People Strategy at Knopman Marks Financial Training. The employee projects she’s developed, including recruitment, coaching, and team building programs, have set the cultural foundation of the company. Strategic and compassionate, Leigh is constantly pursuing new ways to support the growth of the business and protect its most important resource: people. Outside of work, Leigh is honored to serve as a Board Member of the Hudson County CASA, advocating for foster children. She is also a proud mother of three.