How to Beef Up Your Resume: 10 Tips to Make It Stand Out

Your resume is often the first impression you make on a potential employer. A strong, compelling resume can help you stand out from the competition and land more interviews. Use these 10 tips to add meat to your resume and highlight your most relevant qualifications.

1. Select an Attention-Grabbing Template

Choosing the right resume template can help you organize information and draw the reader’s eye to the most important details. Consider using a professionally designed template from a site like Canva to give your resume visual appeal.

Opt for a clean, simple layout with plenty of white space. Avoid distracting colors or fonts. Tailor the template to the industry and role you are applying for. A software developer resume may use a sleek, tech-inspired template while a teacher resume could have a more academic design.

2. Lead with a Powerful Profile or Objective

Hook the reader right from the top of your resume. You can do this in two ways:

Profile: A 3-4 line professional profile or summary of qualifications just under your contact info. Concisely state your level, specialized skills, years of experience, and field.

Objective: A short objective statement that says what kind of role you are seeking and what strengths you will bring to the company. Keep it to 1-2 lines.

Either of these sections give the reader context right away before diving into your work history.

3. Showcase Your Skills Upfront

After your profile or objective, include a bullet point list of 6-8 key skills or areas of expertise relevant to the target job. These could include technical skills, soft skills, specialized knowledge, certifications, languages, and more.

Placing these up high on your resume helps ensure recruiters see your most marketable abilities first. Plus it provides keywords that applicant tracking systems will pick up.

4. Beef Up Your Work Experience Descriptions

Don’t just list job titles and company names under your employment history. Expand each listing to include 3-5 bullet points describing your responsibilities and achievements in that role. Use power action verbs and quantitative figures whenever possible.

For example:

  • Marketing Associate, Company XYZ
    • Developed social media campaigns attracting 2,500+ new followers in 6 months
    • Led product launch increasing sales by 15% over prior year

5. Showcase Projects and Accomplishments

Beyond your day-to-day work duties, call out key projects, accomplishments, awards, or innovations from your career thus far. These can be given their own section or woven into your role descriptions.

Highlight initiatives that demonstrate key skills or areas of expertise called for in the job listing. Metrics and results are crucial – for example, “Recognized for Player of the Year award 2 seasons in a row.”

6. Include Non-Work Experience

Education, volunteer work, freelancing gigs, student organizations, courses, conferences, publications and other relevant non-work experiences can help fill resume gaps or strengthen your credentials. Add sections for these activities including concise details of your contributions.

For recent grads with little work experience, this information is especially valuable. It shows well-roundedness and skills development beyond just academic credentials.

7. Optimize with Keywords

Research keywords and skills that commonly appear in job postings for your target role and industry. Work these into your resume judiciously. Use both keywords specific to that field as well as universal terms like communication, planning, analysis, strategy, leadership.

Just be sure they flow naturally within your descriptions. Don’t overstuff with keywords. Spread them throughout your resume rather than packing them all into one section.

8. Check for Spelling and Grammar

Don’t let typos, spelling errors or poor grammar undermine your resume. Carefully proofread each section, or better yet, have a friend or career counselor review it. Correct any issues prior to submitting your resume so it puts your best foot forward.

9. Use Strategic Formatting

Tweak fonts, margins, headings, bullet points and section ordering to make the information easy to scan. Employers spend just seconds looking at each resume, so you want key details to jump out.

  • Use consistent formatting for headings and spacing between sections
  • Make your name and section headers bigger and bold
  • Use bullet points instead of dense paragraphs of text
  • Put most important info like title and company first under each job listing

10. Cut the Fat

Finally, revise your resume to cut any superfluous information. Keep it lean and focused on details most relevant to your target job. Remove:

  • Irrelevant or outdated work experience
  • Unnecessary buzzwords like “team player” or “hard worker”
  • Hobbies/interests that don’t support your candidacy
  • Old high school accomplishments if you have a degree and work experience

Following these strategies can help transform your resume from drab to fab. Tailor it each time you apply for a new role. With a revamped resume that clearly conveys your top talents, you’ll be ready to land that interview in no time.

4 Ways To Beef Up Your Resume


What is the 30 second rule for resume?

You may be asking, what is the 30-second rule for resumes? Did you know in a competitive labor market, your resume must get you on the interview pile within 30 seconds? If not, you will end up in the reject pile and never get a shot to sell yourself in person. 30 seconds is longer than the average recruiter takes.

How can I make my resume look stronger?

Focus on the most relevant information: Keep your resume focused on the skills, experience, and accomplishments that are most relevant to the job you are applying for. Use bullet points to highlight your achievements: Use bullet points to clearly highlight your accomplishments and skills.

Leave a Comment