What Makes Your Resume Stand Out?

by Wes Lieser

Everyone has an elevator pitch, right? It’s one of the more popular ways to get someone’s attention in 30 seconds.

But what if you only had 6 seconds?

Well, according to a 2012 study by the Ladders, that’s all the time you have to impress a recruiter.

The top third portion of your resume is like the trailer/preview to your favorite movie. It’s the most important thing you can do to capture someone’s attention and make them want to invest more time. How many times have you seen a comedy and thought to yourself, “All the funny parts were in the previews.” That’s what the top third of your resume should do! Everything that a recruiter or hiring manager would ever want to know about you should be at the top of your resume – make it easy for them to find what information they need.

Some of the most effective resumes I’ve seen have followed a template similar to the one below.

resume template

This is a basic template, but the format of your resume makes all the difference. This example highlights:

  1. Who you are
  2. What your purpose is
  3. What you have done
  4. How you have done it

After you’ve established your “who, what, and how;” the rest of your resume will explain the “when and where”. You can add more context into your “what and how,” but you first have to lay the framework.

Now onto the “why.” I have yet to see anyone effectively explain their “why” on a resume. If you’re like me (aka a huge Simon Sinek fan), your “why” is what shines through during your interview – no one else can help you with that.

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