Armanino Blog

9 Resume Tips To Help You Stand Out

September 29, 2014
  1. Prepare a master resume that houses everything about you that can possibly be used. That way, you can pull relevant content from the master and create different versions that highlight the skills detailed in various job descriptions. Update the master resume every 6 months, adding any newly acquired knowledge, skills, and accomplishments while they are fresh in your mind.

  2. Brand Yourself. Your resume is basically a marketing piece that tells about a product – you. Brainstorm about how your unique skills, experience and viewpoint stand out from the competition. Examine the job descriptions for key skills and responsibilities that match the role you want, and address the hiring manager’s needs. Aim to align those needs with your skills and experience, and find ways to show how you will solve that problem for the company.

  3. Tell Your Story. Include a short description below each company title that tells the reader 1) about the company’s revenue, industry, and what the company does, and 2) any significant events that occurred while you worked there (e.g., The company went public, was sold, doubled in size, or made several acquisitions). Example: ABC, Inc. is an $500M biotechnology company that manufactures medical devices for the treatment of spine disorders. The company received FDA approval in 2012 and was acquired in 2013 by XXX Company, an $8B Swedish medical device company.

    Most importantly, your resume should bring the reader through your professional experiences, accomplishments, skills, and knowledge, show how you’ve advanced over the years and what you bring to the table.  

  4. Get rid of Career Objective. Replace it with Qualifications. The recruiter or decision maker is looking for someone that closely matches the job opening, so make it easy for them by listing all of skills and experience at the very top of your resume. If they want to read the rest of your resume, they can, but they don't have to. You told them everything they needed to know. You gave them what they were looking for. If the position requires a certain level of experience in a particular skill, add up all of your years of experience with that skill from every job you've had and list it in bullet points. If a college degree or CPA is required, list it here. If you think a particular skill is helpful (ex: fluent in Cantonese), list it here.

  5. Focus your resume on what makes you unique, rather than using broad descriptions that could apply to anyone in the field. For example, if you're an accountant with experience or training in internal auditing, include that information in your skills or summary section if pertinent to the open position. Getting specific will help your resume stand out from the pack. 

  6. Keep things professional. It’s okay to list volunteer positions and personal activities (e.g., cycling, traveling, etc.) at the end of your resume, but don't list your personal qualities, politics or religious beliefs. Simply stick to your career facts and key points that will make you an attractive candidate for the position and a good fit for the company. Never include negative information about previous jobs or employers. 

  7. Select and Measure. Include a Selected Accomplishments, Selected Achievements or Selected Contributions section under each employment experience on your resume. Be sure not to list tasks here. This section is to showcase what you did that made a difference. List quantified achievements (include metrics) in two to five bullet points per job, using STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to describe the result you achieved and then the cause (in that order). There’s no better way to demonstrate how you will add to the bottom line or cut costs than to show measurable achievements. (“Led a team of 5 to increase department revenue by 8% in 6 months” is better than “Supervised a team of 5”.) A majority of resumes fail because all they provide are job descriptions. The reader pretty much knows the basic duties of your job by the title. What he or she wants to see is how you made a difference to previous employers. 

  8. Should you use a cover letter?  In most cases, you should supplement your resume with a cover letter, because it allows you to tell the reader why you are qualified for the job and why they should interview you (just in case they couldn’t figure it out by looking at your resume!) At the same time, cover letters often go unread, so don’t rely on it to tell the reader something they should have been able to ascertain in the resume, but also keep in mind that some employers won't even read a resume if the candidate hasn’t submitted a cover letter. So, unless you’re told explicitly not to include a cover letter, write one.

  9. Avoid these outdated terms that don’t add any value:
    • "References Upon Request" is not used anymore.  People expect that you will provide references at any time during the interview process.
    • Pronouns – Although your resume should have your “voice”, it should not be covered in pronouns.

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