Most human resources professionals will tell you that they regularly get swamped with hundreds of resumes for every position posted to a job board.

So how do you make a stand-out resume that shines above above the throng? There are three main objectives you want your resume to achieve: relevant, professional and unique.

First, you need to display your industry proficiency and know-how. Second, you need to display professionalism. Finally, you want to come across as unique, like a diamond in the rough that needs to be snatched up before someone else comes along.


In order to showcase your industry expertise, strategically place keywords and metrics throughout your resume. A good tip is the keywords in from the job posting in which you are applying and with which you have experience.   This will increase your resume’s chances of getting hooked by any automated filtering system a company might use to process incoming resumes.

Include quantifiable metrics to give added weight to any language you might use. Words mean so much more when supported by hard numbers about how much you increased sales figures or boosted operating efficiency, for example. For example, increased sales by X percent or exceeded sales goals by 110 percent.  Likewise, highlight any awards you’ve received – such as “three-time President’s Club winner” or “branch manager of the year.”  A recruiter typically looks at a resume for less than seven seconds before deciding on whether or not to contact you – don’t be shy, a resume is your chance to brag.  Modesty will get you nowhere.

In today’s digital age, there are a few signifiers that show you’re up-to-date with technology. If you haven’t already, get any AOL email address you’ve been using off your resume and replace it with a Yahoo! or Gmail address. Also, consider adding a link to your LinkedIn profile or personal website if it feels appropriate for your industry.


HR professionals and hiring managers will likely have seen many resumes before they get to yours, so keep their tired eyes in mind and opt for clear, concise, bulleted lists over wordy paragraphs.   Aim for short blocks of text that pop when the resume is given a quick visual scan. Make sure those blocks of text are error-free!

Don’t ever consider using any crazy colors, images or fonts. This is a professional resume, not your Facebook page.  Stick to uniform, business-like fonts, and if you must vary color, try to stay within the realm of navy blue, grey or black.


Instead of using those splashy colors or fonts, be dynamic with your text. Some experts suggest you don’t use an ‘objective statement’ to declare your immediate career goals, but if you can write something unique, yet professional – feel free to express your passion in an objective statement.

It might seem like an unnecessary step when you’re sending out multiple resumes each day, but a hiring manager will appreciate a resume tailored to his particular job opening. Look at the job description and emphasize the parts of your background that speak to the position you’re applying for and eliminating any skills that don’t apply.

Finally, incorporating a narrative throughout your resume can make it more memorable and help it stick in the mind of a reader. Everyone has a story of how they got to this particular point in their career and showing how you made progress through hard work usually make for compelling reading.

At Cornerstone, we’re happy to look over your resume for free and assist you in looking for a short-term contract or permanent employment. Contact us today and let our experts help you find a new career!

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