How to Ensure Your Resume Makes a Winning First Impression


Resumes are a great way to spell out information about yourself. Moreover, they give you the chance to make a good first impression as a knowledgeable and responsible person. You can also use this in order to present your skills and experience to possible employers. 

When it comes to writing a winning resume, you need to make sure that you highlight your accomplishments and unique skills and experience. With these in mind, here are some of the key elements to create a powerful resume that exudes a positive and lasting impression.

Start With an Attention-Grabbing Opening

Let’s face it, most people spend only a few seconds scanning a resume so it’s not enough to simply list your job history and major accomplishments. You need to grab the reader’s attention from the start. One effective strategy is to immediately follow your contact information with a short attention-getting “hook”. Here are a few examples:

“Mom of three, doctor by day, cancer fundraiser by night.”

“Local businessman in need of administrative assistant. Please send a resume to…”

“2nd degree black belt. Seeking a challenging position.”

“Experienced tax professional w/ Masters degree seeks challenging environment.”

If you don’t have any such statements, consider adding a short one-sentence summary of what your experience is all about, especially if it is different from the norm.

Choose a Format That Suits You

There are lots of different resume formats out there and it’s really a matter of personal preference as to which one suits you best.

Chronological resumes list your jobs in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent. This is a very common format and is easy to read and understand. It works best for individuals with a steady work history from the same employer.

Resumes with a combination of reverse chronological and functional sections list your employment history first, followed by a brief description of your skills and interests. This is another popular format for those with a steady work history, as it allows you to tell your story chronologically but also list your skills and experience.

Functional resumes focus more on your skills, abilities and achievements, rather than on your job history. This is one of the most effective resume formats if you don’t have a steady work history or if you have gaps in your employment history.

Choose The Right Words

When describing yourself, your skills, achievements, and work experiences, it is also important to use words that convey an immediate sense of what you have accomplished. Identifying the skills that potential employers are looking for is key to a winning resume. If you are in the military, for instance, you will want to highlight your duties and accomplishments, as well as your teamwork skills, leadership abilities, and specialized training.

If you are changing careers, you want to show that you have transferable skills that can be applied to the position you are applying for.

Using proper grammar and spelling is also key to a successful resume. Proofread your resume before sending it out. A resume full of grammatical and spelling errors is a sure way to land your resume directly in the trash bin.

Create a Clear and Concise Summary of Qualifications

It is also a must to include a summary section in your resume. This is because it will highlight the qualities, skills, and experience that you can bring to the table. You need to make sure that this section is written in a clear and concise manner.

Make sure that you have included a list of qualifications that are relevant to the position that you are applying for. This can be done by highlighting the most important skills and experience that you have obtained in your career and that are specific to the job you are applying for. You can also showcase these by arranging them by category.

For example, you can arrange the skills and experience in terms of the following;

  • Professional
  • Personal
  • Technical
  • Communication
  • Skills


Creating a winning resume is really a matter of personal preference. There are a lot of different ways to go about it, but the most important thing is to make sure that it reflects your experience and skills, your achievements, and personal attributes. Another thing to remember is to use keywords that are commonly used by employers. Try incorporating keywords that are specific to the position you are applying for. This will demonstrate your understanding of the job requirements and will help make your resume stand out.

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4 Tips to Make Your Resume Stand Out to Recruiters

passing papers

When you’re on the job hunt, you want to give yourself the best chances of success. And one thing you can focus on is making sure your resume stands out. Remember, recruiters will be looking at dozens of resumes. And if you want them to consider you for the position, you’ll first have to make a good impression.

1. Tailor Your Resume to the Job

Recruiters want to see that you’re a good fit for their open positions. And the best way to show them you’re a good fit is to make sure your resume is tailored to the job.

A great way to figure out how to tailor your resume to a specific job is to use a job posting to determine what skills, education, and experience they are looking for. Then you can use those requirements to guide you through the resume-writing process.

2. Use Action Verbs to Describe Your Accomplishments

Basically, recruiters want to see how you’ve applied your skills and experience to get real results. Instead of listing tasks and responsibilities, use active verbs that show what you’ve accomplished.

For example, instead of saying, “I supervised 20 employees,” say, “I led a team that successfully completed [insert result].”

This is particularly important for reaching out to recruiters. Recruiters are limited in their ability to dig into your work. So you’ll have to provide most of the context in your resume and cover letter.

A resume is typically the first thing a recruiter will see when they look through all the candidates. And active verbs can help you to stand out from your competition.

3. Don’t Forget to Include Valuable Soft Skills

Hard skills are things you can concretely show on your resume, like software knowledge, certifications, job responsibilities, and the like.

Soft skills are more abstract, like communication skills, problem-solving skills, leadership, and time management. While you can’t always prove these skills on a resume, they do play a major part in your value as a candidate.

Think about it. If you were a recruiter and you had two candidates with similar hard skills and experience, which one would you want to hire? The one with outstanding soft skills.

So, while you can’t always put these skills on your resume, they are just as important to include. For example, in the “Skills” section of your resume, you could say something like:

“Quick learner who is able to adapt quickly to new situations and is comfortable speaking in front of crowds.”

4. Have a Clean and Visually Appealing Layout

Your resume should have a simple layout with a clean and consistent look. A great way to get a good layout is to look at resumes of people that have a great design to see what they’re doing right.

And don’t forget to pay attention to the font type and size on your resume. You want to make sure it’s easily readable.

When you’re done with your resume, you should be able to glance at it and know exactly what it is within a few seconds.

In general, it’s a good idea to keep your resume brief, limited to a two-page maximum. Your cover letter should include some of these things, too. So take time to make it just as good as your resume.

Final Thoughts

Remember, when it comes to job searching, it’s not all about what you know. It’s also about how you present yourself. It’s important to not only have a great resume and cover letter but also to present them in a way that is visually appealing, professional, and easy to read. These steps will help you to stand out above the competition.

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