Great Resumes Fast » Resume Writing Tips » How Can I Make My Resume Stand Out Instantly?

You’ve spent countless hours crafting the perfect resume. After all, it’s the bridge between you and your dream job. But here’s the kicker: you’re not alone. With the vast sea of resumes flooding in for every job opening, how can you ensure that yours isn’t overlooked?

resume stand out

First Things First: Why It Matters

Imagine the hiring manager’s desk cluttered with piles of resumes. Most of them look eerily similar: the usual bullet points, the standard format, and the predictable jargon. Your goal? Don’t be a part of the predictable majority. Standing out means you’re memorable, and being memorable might just get you that interview call.

Let’s Break It Down: Where Most People Trip

One Size Fits None: Trying to use a single resume for every job application is like wearing the same outfit to a beach party and a corporate meeting. It just doesn’t fit! A tailored resume not only shows you’ve done your homework about the company but also that you understand the unique nuances of the position. Generic resumes often miss key terms or skills that specific roles prioritize, leaving you lost in the shuffle.

The “Everything But the Kitchen Sink” Approach: While it might be tempting to list every accomplishment since high school, recruiters are looking for specific, relevant information. Bombarding them with too much information can overshadow your most impressive achievements. It’s essential to curate your experiences, emphasizing those that align closely with the job’s requirements and company values.

Forgetting the Human Element: Remember, a human being will read your resume. If it doesn’t resonate or connect emotionally, it’s just another piece of paper. Personal touches, like mentioning projects you were passionate about or challenges you faced and overcame, can make your resume stand out. It’s about striking a balance between professional qualifications and personal attributes that make you a great fit.

So, you might wonder, how can I craft my resume to leap out of that pile and make an impression? Let’s unravel this together.

How to Make Your Resume Stand Out Instantly

Customize, Customize, Customize

Here’s a little secret: Recruiters can spot a generic resume a mile away. Take the time to tweak your resume for each job. For instance, if you’re applying for a managerial role at a tech firm, highlight your previous tech leadership roles and projects. Show them you’re not just a good candidate, but the *right* one.

Hiring managers are desperately looking for a standout application that screams, “I’m the perfect fit for this role!” In a sea of generic resumes, customization is what makes you stand out instantly.

Crafting the perfect executive resume can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to go at it alone. I’ve got something that will make things a bit easier for you. Grab your free executive resume template, and let’s get you one step closer to your next great role. 

Quantify Your Achievements

Numbers speak louder than words. Instead of saying, “Led a successful project,” say, “Directed a team of 5 and boosted sales by 30% in 6 months.” That precision can be the difference between your resume being glanced over and given a second look.

Suzann, an RN I worked with, initially had a vague resume that wasn’t positioned for the step up into leadership she wanted to make. Once we rebranded her as a leader and incorporated specific numbers, her interview invites tripled. 

A CareerBuilder survey found that resumes with quantified data are 40% more likely to get noticed. As Suzanne put it, “Quantifying my achievements made all the difference.”

Numbers add credibility and proof. Numbers also stand out on a resume, ensuring that you won’t be overlooked. 

Whitespace is Your Friend

Ever tried reading a book with no paragraphs? It’s exhausting. The same goes for your resume. Space things out. Make it breathe. Use bullet points, bold headings, and consistent formatting. 

Sarah, a marketing manager, came to us with her resume packed with text. When we reformatted for better readability and whitespace, she started hearing feedback about how “refreshing” and “easy to read” her resume was. Remember, hiring managers skim resumes. Make their job easier.

Tell a Story

Everyone loves a good story. Maybe you started in a junior role and worked your way up, or perhaps you pivoted industries. Narrate that journey concisely. Let’s say you transitioned from retail to tech. Highlight that journey. Explain how your retail experience gives you unique insights into user behavior, something pure tech folks might miss.

My client, Carlos, transitioned from military to logistics management. By narrating this unique journey on his resume, employers were intrigued by his diverse perspective. One interviewer even said, “Your personality really came through on your resume, and the story made me want to learn more.” Every career path holds valuable experiences; it’s all about how you present them.

The Extra Mile: Design and Keywords 

Consider using subtle colors or a different font to make your resume aesthetically pleasing. Also, companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). Ensure you have relevant keywords so your resume doesn’t get lost in the digital abyss.

The job description is your goldmine. Hiring managers specifically list what they’re looking for in this section. Extract key terms and phrases from the job posting, especially the requirements and responsibilities. For instance, if they mention “project management,” “team leadership,” or “data analysis” in the description, ensure those exact phrases are present in your resume. You can also utilize tools like Jobscan, which can compare your resume against the job posting and highlight keywords you might have missed.

Keep in Mind, You’re More Than Just a Resume

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, remember that your resume is just a representation of you. It’s not the entirety of who you are. It’s a tool, a foot in the door. But once that door opens, it’s your skills, personality, and ethos that will truly shine.

You’ve invested time, passion, and effort into your career. Don’t let it go unnoticed. Crafting the perfect executive resume can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to go at it alone. I’ve got something that will make things a bit easier for you. Grab your free executive resume template and let’s get you one step closer to your next great role. 

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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!


  1. Black Box SEO on October 10, 2023 at 5:21 am

    Sounds silly but a border on the pages always makes it stand out in the pile!

  2. mapquest on January 31, 2024 at 3:28 am

    Thank you so much! I tried a new template and all of your advice and am loving the improvements!

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