he thought of resumes are intimidating to many because it’s the first impression you’ll leave potential employers with. Maybe you don’t feel confident in your work experience and skills, or you don’t know how your own resume will stand out amongst others. However, resumes are an excellent way to show off what we offer and what we can bring to the table! A resume represents us as a whole, beyond  technical skills and amount of working experience. 

Here are some tips to help yours stand out! 

Simplicity is key

The entire length of a resume should be no more than one page long. This means you must keep information concise and to the point. If you’ve worked a couple different jobs and have a decent amount of overall experience, it may seem difficult to fit all that information onto your resume. Instead, focus on experience that is most recent or applicable to the kind of jobs you’re applying for. 

Create everything yourself 

While tempting, avoid using resume templates to create your resume. Being original is the best way to stand out. You can look for design inspiration online, but everything should be created on your own. Microsoft Word and Canva are great options to choose from when going about designing your resume. Those applications have a wide variety of design options to choose from so you can get as creative as you want! 

Example of designed Canva resume
Image courtesy of Canva, with an example of a designed resume created using the application. Notice the clean and professional text, consistent use of color, and information placed into columns. 

While you have many options when it comes to the design of your resume, there are a couple tips to keep in mind: 

  • Have a clear and consistent color scheme: Don’t use too many different colors, instead focus on colors you really like and what colors go well together. Some strong color combinations are blue and red, black and orange, and gray and green.
  • Choose professional font selections: While you may want to get creative and use a really cool font, a resume isn’t the best option to explore with that. Keep in mind that a resume is still professional, so choose fonts that are more simple and clean.
  • Stay consistent when organizing all of your information: Consider using columns because they are the most effective way to separate all of the different information..

Structuring your resume

When deciding where to chronologically place all of your information onto the resume, there is a popular set of order in place:

  • At the top of your resume, include your name and contact information. This can include your phone number, email, digital portfolio, or even your home address!
  • Work experience and accomplishments should come next. What work experience do you have that is most relevant to what you’re looking for in your next endeavor? Did you accomplish anything significant at any of your previous jobs? These are both some things to consider when going about this section.
  • Education: Whether it be high school, college, trade school etc., include where you obtained your education.
  • Skills: This is where you will include all of your hard and soft skills. Hard skills refer to your technical capabilities, while softs skills are your own personal attributes that can add some more benefits when doing your job. 

Best ways to highlight skills and experience 

Maybe you really want a job in a field you haven’t had any experience in yet. There may be other candidates who have those technical skills and experience, but don’t let that steer you away from venturing out and applying for new opportunities. There are so many skills we learn in a variety of different jobs that are applicable to any career.

School and any volunteer activities are other great ways to exemplify your skill set and experience. For example, maybe you went to college for business but haven’t had any experience working in that field yet. However, there could have been a retail/customer service job you had at some point where you could have picked up some soft skills along the way. Business involves lots of interpersonal communication concepts, so maybe you became more skilled at selling products and dealing with customers. 

What are the most common soft skills you can pick up in a customer service job?:

  • Empathy: The saying goes, “The customer is always right.” During a customer service job you deal with people of all attitudes and personalities. Sometimes customers can become very agitated and aggressive, so it’s important to think with empathy to try and understand where they’re coming from to fix the issue. 
  • Adaptability: In customer service jobs, and the majority of all jobs in general for that matter, deal with many different types of circumstances where everyone has to adapt to keep everything going as best as possible. For instance, maybe you’ve had a coworker or two who’ve called off their shift at the last minute. It’s important for the employees to adapt and work together to cover what’s needed, or if you’re off the clock and available to come and cover. If you have a situation in mind where you’ve had to adapt at work, consider adding an example of adaptability to your resume to show off some of those soft skills. 
  • Patience: Patience is an important part of a job and many factors of life. We can’t fix what we can’t control, and we learn this quite often in some of our first customer service jobs. 
  • Time management: Work, school, hobbies, social life. It can be a lot to juggle a job with everything else going on in your life, especially while you are young and still in school. In order to manage everything going on in life we learn to manage our time as best as we can. If you’ve been involved with some activities along with working at the same time, make sure to include some of those on your resume. This shows you’re capable of being involved in a variety of different things while being able to manage your time and get it all done! 
Waitress writing down food order
Waitressing is a service job where you pick up a lot of different soft skills. Even if you don’t plan to stick with it the rest of your life, you learn how to multitask efficiently, make some extra money, and deal with the public using interpersonal communication skills.

Use impressive language & what’s unique to you

Think outside of the box when coming up with words to describe yourself and your experience.. Describe your roles using strong vocabulary, with mostly action words and verbs. You want to focus on what you’ve already done and accomplished, so focus on words such as “improved,” “established,” and “maximized.” Take the time and tune in with yourself and who you are. What are some of the most important things you have accomplished? What are some of the skills you feel most confident in? Really get creative and find out how you want to describe yourself (in a professional sense of course)! This will make your resume stand out based on its own originality.

Review for errors consistently 

If you have spelling/grammar errors within your resume, it is most likely that you will be turned down from many of the companies you apply to. Don’t simply rely on your computer’s spell check program, thoroughly review your resume on your own to keep an eye out for errors. It can also be beneficial to have a family member, friend, etc. look over your resume as well to review. That way you have the chance to receive some feedback and advice on what you can improve. It’s always better to have more than one set of eyes review a piece of any written work. Remember that strong spelling, punctuation, and grammar will all give you more of an opportunity to make your resume look professional as possible and stand out! 

Start creating!

Now that you have had the chance to read through this article, hopefully you have more of an idea to create a resume that best highlights who you are as a professional as well as your skill set. Even if you don’t have as much experience as you’d like for a particular job, there are many ways your resume can still stand out and help you get one step closer to securing a job. Remember to trust yourself and know you’re capable, even if there are setbacks along the way.

Sep 7, 2022