How to Create a Resume That Will Impress Employers

FT Contributor
A man holds a resume in pen in a meeting.
Reading Time: 4 minutes

A resume is one of the most important components of getting a job. Your resume should be a highlight reel of all of your work experience, including hard skills and soft skills, and your education.

When you’re applying for jobs, your resume is the first chance you have to make a favorable impression on an employer. When it comes time to interview, your resume will serve as a reminder of your experience. It’s important to bring copies of your resume to any interview, as you don’t know who you’ll be meeting with and you want to appear prepared in the event that the employer didn’t have time to print copies.

Before you get to that stage, you have to create a resume that impresses potential employers and entices them to bring you in for an interview. Here, we’ll discuss the best way to create a resume that stands out from the pack and ultimately helps you land an interview.

Parts of a Resume

Regardless of your experience, every resume should contain the same basic components. At the top of the resume, your contact information should be front and center. Include your full name, address, phone number, and email so that the employer knows exactly how to get ahold of you.

Next, list your objective. This is a statement that identifies the type of role you seek and what you hope to get out of the job you’re applying for. Use this section to demonstrate your interest in the position to the employer by using strong action verbs similar to the ones used in the job listing. This will help make a favorable impression.

Next, your resume should highlight your skills. These include hard skills, such as those that require training or education to develop, and soft skills, or those that can be transferred to any role. This allows the employer to get a better understanding of what you’re capable of.

Your work history should come next. This section gives the employer an idea of the responsibilities you can be entrusted with. Be sure to include details like the title and company you worked for, the dates that you worked there, and the location. Using a bulleted list, highlight your responsibilities with action verbs.

Below your work experience, list any degrees you have earned, including your major and the type of degree, as well as the school you earned it from.

Finally, you list your relevant accomplishments. This demonstrates your personal drive and willingness to go above and beyond to the employer. Accomplishments include awards from previous jobs or certificates that designate an achievement outside of work, but make sure you don’t list anything inappropriate in this section.

How to Make Your Resume Stand Out

When applying for a job, know that your resume isn’t the only one that’s going to be submitted. As such, it’s important to make your resume stand out from the pile sitting on the employer’s desk.

What’s more, many companies use an automated system that helps them weed through the dozens — if not hundreds — of resumes they receive for any given role. By incorporating the following elements, you’ll be able to bypass automated systems and distinguish your resume from the rest.

Use Industry Keywords

When writing about your skills and past experience, use keywords that are included in the job listing or relevant to the role you are applying for. It’s important to use strong action verbs when describing your experience, as this demonstrates your value to the employer. While keywords are important, it’s vital that you avoid keyword stuffing, or overusing keywords. This might cause the automated system to flag your resume, meaning the employer will never see it.

Tailor Your Resume to the Job

While you may have a resume template at the ready, it’s important to customize your resume for every application. This ensures you’re only speaking to the experiences and skills that are relevant to the job. Don’t mention the babysitting job you had in high school on an application for a mechanical engineer, as those experiences really don’t have anything to do with each other.

Use a Header

When listing your name and contact information, put them in the header portion of your document. This draws the employer’s attention to your information, making it easy to introduce yourself. In some industries, it’s even acceptable to include a headshot on your resume. If you’re doing that, it should be formatted into your header.

Include Metrics

Demonstrate the value you bring to the employer by including metrics pertaining to your experience. This is a fast and easy way to highlight your achievements, and doing so helps you get past the scanners and onto the desk of the hiring manager.

Rather than listing the responsibilities outlined in the job description and modifying them to fit your experience, take it a step further by including specific metrics of your success. For example, instead of, “Boosted site performance and audience engagement,” say, “Boosted site performance and audience engagement by 65%.”

Keep Industry Needs First

Craft your resume around the employer’s industry. Remember the employer’s specific needs regarding this role, then present yourself in a focused way that makes it easy for them to understand you can fulfill those needs. Avoid including filler information that doesn’t pertain to the job listing specifically, as this can deter the hiring manager from passing your information along.

Create a Cover Letter

If your resume is a highlight reel of your experience, your cover letter should be the feature-length film. Your cover letter is a chance to elaborate on your experience a bit more and entice the hiring manager to bring you in for an in-person interview. Express more about why you’re interested in the role you’re applying for and what unique experience or value you’ll bring to the team. You can also include professional references in your cover letter. This will help make a favorable impression on the recruiter or hiring manager.

Proofing Your Resume

Before submitting your resume, it’s vital that you review it for spelling and grammatical errors. Nothing looks worse to an employer than a resume riddled with errors. Proofreading your resume demonstrates that you care about the work you produce and that you pay careful attention to detail — two quality personality traits employers look for in candidates.

To ensure your resume is error-free, use tools like :

  • The spell-checker in your word processor.
  • Grammarly.
  • Have a friend or family member review your work.
  • GrammarCheck.

Job Resume Sample

Copy and paste this resume example into your own document, then update it with your personal information, skills, and experience:

[Your Name.]
[Your Address.]
[Your Phone Number.]
[Your Email.]

[Your objective.]

[Skill #1.]
[Skill #2.]
[Skill #3.]

[Name of Employer, Location, Dates.]
[Position Held]
[Responsibility #1.]
[Responsibility #2.]
[Responsibility #3.]

[Name of Employer, Location, Dates.]
[Position Held]
[Responsibility #1.]
[Responsibility #2.]
[Responsibility #3.]

[Name of Employer, Location, Dates.]
[Position Held]
[Responsibility #1.]
[Responsibility #2.]
[Responsibility #3.]

[Name of School.]
[Major, Degree.]
[Dates Attended.]

Use these tips to craft a resume that will stand out from the rest and impress potential employers.

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