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12 Steps to Create a Strong Resume

27 Feb
Businessman reading resume of woman on his digital tablet during an interview

Making your resume stand out is crucial if you want to get noticed by recruiters and land job interviews. With expert advice on crafting effective content, incorporating keywords, and designing an eye-catching layout, this guide will help you create a resume that showcases your skills and experiences. Learn how to highlight your achievements, tailor your resume to each job, and ensure that your resume makes it past screening software. With these tips, you’ll be prepared to build a strong resume that will capture hiring managers’ attention and position you for advancement and new opportunities.

Your Chance to Shine

A great resume is your first chance to impress potential hiring managers and make an impact. Whether you want to learn how to create a strong resume out of college or are searching for the right resume format for transitioning into a new career, the expert advice provided here will guide you through the initial step of the hiring process—writing a standout resume.

A powerful resume could give you the upper hand over other candidates who may be interviewing for similar roles. Making your resume stand out from the crowd with the latest advanced business management skills is mission-critical when seeking a new job!

It's no easy task to squeeze a lifetime of experiences into one page, but with the right tips you can ace that resume and get your foot in the door for an interview! Read more to learn the best ways to go beyond creating a resume so you can stand out from other job applicants.

A Great Resume Goes Beyond Technical Skills

No matter what point you're at in your career, it can be difficult to sell yourself to a potential employer or graduate program. This may be due to an overabundance of humility, or it may be because you doubt the significance of your accomplishments.

To paint a compelling career story, job seekers need to be able to effectively highlight their professional achievements in a way that shows:

  • Resume objective (optional)
  • Relevant experience
  • Hard and soft skills
  • Past jobs/work history
  • Transferable skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Volunteer work

Hiring managers bear the heavy responsibility of sourcing the best talent for their organization; from drafting job postings with an accurate job title and job description to then sifting through the many applications that come in from a multitude of job seekers.

Because of this, most companies have started using a resume technology called an Applicant Tracking System, or ATS, to find the perfect candidate for their job search. Incorporating ATS-friendly elements into your own resume can be beneficial, as this helps ensure the robot scanning for keywords is able to read it. These keywords make your resume stand out from other job applicants and highlight those relevant skills and qualifications a recruiter will look for in the recruitment process.

Avoid Submitting One of the 70% of Resumes Hiring Managers Don't See

In this modern job market, gigabytes of resumes are quickly evaluated by advanced applicant tracking software to find the perfect fit for companies and select those best suited for their needs. This technology allows employers to easily sift through reams of applications and hundreds of resumes to identify those that best match their criteria in record time!

ATS software streamlines recruitment processes so employers can find just the right hire without wasting time or resources. An astounding 70% of job applications don't make it past ATS screening to hiring managers' eyes.1

In order to be seen by a top hiring manager for your dream job, you'll need to write a resume that not only gets a hiring manager's attention but also passes the initial screening process of the ATS.

Making sure you don't miss out on any of the opportunities that come your way means crafting a Resume that is tailored to capture keywords. This process should seem somewhat similar to anyone familiar with search engine optimization. Putting in this extra effort will help ensure recruiters actually read and consider your resume by introducing it not just to AI systems but to real people as well.

Applying for jobs these days isn’t as straightforward as it used to be. The days of simple cover letters and using a generic resume template just won't cut it anymore. Today, when submitting a job application through an ATS—like Taleo, which is vastly popular among Fortune 500 companies—you must tailor your application in order to get noticed and score high!

Read the Job Description Carefully—and Apply Accordingly

Companies can be highly selective when it comes to receiving job applications. By utilizing an Applicant Tracking System, many resumes may never even end up on the desk of a human hiring manager if they do not match the criteria that have been set out for them.

When applying for a job, it is important to ensure your resume matches the position's specific requirements. Take some time to review each job listing line-by-line and ask yourself if you have clearly outlined in your experience section that you can fulfill what's needed.

Be mindful when crafting or editing your resume; scour through the posting language and be conscious of any potential skillsets or keywords missing from what appears on paper. Not only will this get your resume past the ATS filter, but you will also confirm that you are applying for the job opportunities you're best suited for as well as make your resume stand out for a specific job.

How to Create a Strong Resume: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you have some top tips to apply with a good resume and to the appropriate job ad, here is a step-by-step guide to creating a fantastic resume for any job posting.

Step One: Tailor your resume to the job you're applying for.

When applying for a job, you must tailor your resume to the specific position and company you're applying to. This means highlighting the skills and relevant experiences that are most pertinent to the job. This will show the employer that you are genuinely interested not just in getting a job, but in this specific position, and that you are the right fit for it.

Step Two: Use keywords and industry-specific language.

To increase your chances of getting past ATS screening, include relevant keywords and industry-specific language in your resume. This will help the computer identify that your skills and experiences match the requirements of the job.

Step Three: Highlight your achievements, not just your responsibilities.

When describing your work experience, it's important to highlight your professional achievements, not just your day-to-day responsibilities. Instead of listing your job duties, focus on the results you achieved and the impact you made in your previous roles. Show the employer that you are a results-driven individual who can make a positive impact on your organization.

Step Four: Showcase your relevant skills and qualifications.

Make sure to highlight the skills and qualifications that are most relevant to the job. This could include technical skills, such as programming languages or software, or soft skills, such as teamwork and communication. As a result, any potential employers will see that you have the skills and qualifications they are looking for.

Step Five: Include relevant outside interests.

The experiences that have shaped you aren’t limited to those that occurred in an office or classroom. List activities that you’ve taken part in which can demonstrate your investment in a meaningful cause or showcase your leadership skills. Have you organized a rally or event? Volunteered at a homeless shelter? Contributed to adult education classes at the local community college? Items like these can help your resume stand out from the pack by showcasing your unique sense of social contribution.

Step Six: Account for any gaps in employment.

Life can be unpredictable, and time away from the workforce can become a reality for anyone. We all need a break sometimes, and gaps between positions can be crucial to help you recharge and focus your energy for successful work. If you’ve taken time off, be sure that your resume frames it in a way that emphasizes your personal growth and progress along your professional journey.

Step Seven: Keep your resume concise and easy to read.

Use bullet points and clear, simple language. Avoid long paragraphs. Use headings and subheadings to make it easy for the employer to scan and read your resume. Make sure to highlight the most important information and keep your resume to one or two pages.

Step Eight: Use a professional and modern design.

A well-designed resume can make a great first impression and help you stand out from other job seekers. Use a professional, modern design that's visually appealing. Keep the layout simple and make sure there's enough white space to make your resume easy to read.

Step Nine: Include a resume summary or objective statement.

Include a summary statement or objective statement at the top of your resume to give the employer a quick overview of your skills and qualifications. Keep it concise and make sure it's tailored to the job you're applying for.

Step Ten: Proofread and edit your resume thoroughly.

Proofreading and editing your resume is crucial to ensure that it's free of mistakes and presents you in the best light. Make sure to check for spelling and grammatical errors and see to it that all the information is accurate and up to date.

Step Eleven: Get feedback and suggestions from others before submitting.

It can be hard to evaluate your own writing, especially after multiple rounds of review. Choose someone (or multiple people) whose work you trust—colleagues, friends, family members, or professional career coaches—to help you catch the mistakes that no one else should see. In addition to bringing fresh eyes to the process, they may be able to identify areas for improvement or suggest ways to make your resume more effective.

Step Twelve: Update your resume regularly.

The best resumes demonstrate constant self-improvement and personal growth. For that reason, your resume should present your job experiences in an engaging and logical way that takes your readers up to the present day. This is true even if your most recent role isn’t directly related to the one you’re applying for; your potential employer will still want to see that you are acquiring useful skills in your present position.

These Basic Best Practices are a Great Place to Start When Building a Resume From Scratch

A basic resume is only the beginning. There's tremendous room to expand upon and elevate your skeleton into a fascinating presentation of you and your abilities.

While having a resume is essential, it doesn't have to be bare bones. With quality improvements, you can make your application stand out from the rest and improve your chances of success.

  • Avoid using a recognizable resume template that your readers may have seen before
  • Start by designing your layout, then tailor your information to fit its space
  • Divide your resume into clearly labeled sections: contact information, education, work experience, skills, etc.
  • Stick to chronological order when listing your education and work experience
  • Use active verbs to strengthen the descriptions of your job duties

Be sure to keep in mind that a basic resume is not necessarily the best one you can produce, and there is much room to improve on this solid skeleton.

It's Time to Revise Your Resume and Win Over That Hiring Manager

Once you've mastered these resume writing tips, you should be able to craft the perfect resume for any situation, whether you are changing careers to attain your dream job, a recent college graduate, or seeking admission to the graduate program that will take your career to the next level.

Gain Skills at SCU for a Standout First Resume

Expand your horizon of possibilities. Join Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business' tech-savvy community today!

At SCU, our Online MBA comes with extensive career support so you can build on your college graduate resume with the latest hard skills and more impressive job history for a new skills-based resume that's the envy of hiring managers everywhere.

With these new resume-building skills in mind, consider whether you might use them to apply to the Online MBA from Santa Clara University. Learn more about how to ace the interview for our Master of Business Administration program from SCU.

Connect with an admissions outreach advisor to discuss our innovative MBA. Get on board for success; contact us today!