How To Stand Out With Your Resume

5 min readDec 3, 2022
Image of a job applicant with a resume. Photo credit: vecteezy

Standing out from a pool of applicants can be as easy as answering some of the questions you will find here.

The reason your resume is not getting the needed attention is probably because you have not given careful thoughts to these questions.

Recruiters are some of the busiest professionals you will come across and it will be great if you don’t waste their time by putting in a subpar application and a resume that’s really not worth their time.

Many recruiters review an average of 100 – 200 resumes each day and you have just 6 seconds to catch their attention and 30 seconds to make a lasting impression

I will be answering these questions with some real life experiences where necessary. I have been a recruiter quite a number of times and it will be shocking to know that most of the things that applicants waste their time on when writing a resume do not really matter to recruiters.

Most of the things that applicants waste their time on when writing a resume do not really matter to recruiters.

The 5 questions you should answer before submitting your resume for that job application ⬇️👇

What template is the most appropriate to use?

Seriously, there is no right or wrong template. The template you use is of no use if your content has no substance.

As much as possible, use templates that give you room to fully express your value and what you will be bringing to the table as well as the results that you have to show.

In one resume review session, the resume that stood out the most wasn’t the most beautifully designed resume. As a matter of fact, you can say it broke the rules of how a resume should be structured.

Key points were highlighted in red fonts which could have adverse effects on the eye for those with colour blindness.

But this resume was full of great achievements, giving the recruiters the impression that the applicant could deliver on the job.

That is what you should aim to achieve with your resume but that doesn’t mean your resume cannot combine structure with quality content.

Make an impression that you can do the job. You don’t have to cook up numbers or lie about the things you can do in your resume.

Apply skill and think deeply. You have something beautiful and unique if you can express yourself clearly.

I’m sure my next question is what you’re probably thinking about…

What if I have varying experiences or no experience at all, how do I tailor my resume?

I don’t believe there’s anyone without any experience.

It’s either you are looking down on your ‘little’ experience or you’ve probably not found a way to package that little experience as something worthwhile on your resume.

Think about the things you did that no one paid you for.

How about the volunteering you’ve done? What about that time you took responsibility for a task with other members of a team?

If you went to college, you had an internship. You’ve worked on individual and group projects, and many others you just have to think about.

So, think again before you say have no experience to put in your resume.

If you do have varying experiences like having worked in several industries and looking for a way to tailor your resume, look for transferable skills that are useful for the role you are applying for.

Look for common grounds between where you have been and where you want to be. Capitalize on them and as always, show results. Use only experiences that are relevant for your application.

Not all of your experiences will be required for all of your applications.

Can I use the same resume to apply for every role?

No, you shouldn’t do that.

Even if you’re applying for the same role in different organizations, they are different in what they are looking for.

A manager in a multinational would not be the same with a startup. It’s the same role but the job description for both will be different in many ways.

Let the job description (JD) guide you in tailoring your resume for the role you’re applying for.

Where there is no job description, spell out your important experiences with the impact you made in each.

Should I add a cover letter along with my resume?

Sending a cover letter along with your resume is good practice. Depending on the mode of application, if you do have a chance to send, do it.

Many people don’t think about sending a cover letter especially when it is not stated that you do so. By adding a cover letter, you distinguish yourself from other applicants who do not think of doing so.

If you are filling out an online application that specifies what documents to be uploaded and a cover letter isn’t included, you can let it go.

What document format is best to submit as your resume?

The PDF format helps you keep your resume intact when it is opened on any device.

PDF is always highly recommended but in some cases, you might be asked to send your resume in Word format.

Follow instructions and do that. Create your resume in a way that it appears great even when opened in Word.

If no format was indicated, stick to PDF.

What am I still missing?

  • Is your email looking professional?
  • Have you saved your resume with a name that’s easily recognizable as yours? Your file name can be in this format: FirstName_LastName_Resume.
  • Have you fixed your LinkedIn profile link before adding and linking it on your resume? Ensure the link contains your name only without the extra numbers behind. You can edit this link from your LinkedIn profile.
  • Is your resume between 1–2 pages? The maximum number of pages you should have is 2 pages. Remember recruiters have very little time to go through your resume and decide if you can move to the interview stage.

These 5 questions and more have been answered for you but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to ask yourself these questions before you create a stunning resume and send it out for applications.

If you need tips for writing a resume, you can check this.

Look out for another article on the mistakes you should be avoiding in your resume.

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Share your questions and comments. I would be happy to have them and answer them. Who knows? I could even write a full article to address them.




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