January 29, 2024

Stand out from the crowd: 7 ways to improve your resume

4 min read

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If you’re ready to jump into a new career, congratulations!

The decision to start looking for a new position is exciting, but it also can be nerve-racking. Whether you’re a recent or soon-to-be graduate or you’re simply ready to switch careers, starting your job search all begins with one important step — crafting the perfect resume. 

Your resume functions as a first impression, so it’s important to consider what you want potential employers to think about when they review your professional experience. Your resume needs to be informative enough to let hiring managers know that you hold the qualifications needed for the position while being intriguing enough to earn you an interview. 

If you’re ready to take your resume to the next level, here are seven steps you can take to make it stand out.  

1. Review the job requirements 

Your first step when crafting the perfect resume is to review the job listing and requirements for the position that you’re interested in. Make sure you understand exactly what the employer is looking for so you can highlight how you’ll meet those needs. For example, if you’re applying for an animal health position that requires a background in biology, you’ll want to ensure you emphasize previous training and experience that meets that particular need.  

Carefully reviewing the job requirements for each position you’re applying for also ensures that you’re only applying for roles you’re a good match for and will save you time and energy when it comes to the interview process. 

2. Update your resume for each application 

While your previous roles outlined on your resume won’t change, the duties and skills you highlight will. Make sure you update your resume for each position you want to apply for. It’s important that the skills you choose to emphasize are the same ones your potential employer is searching for, which may be different than the skills you’re most proud of. 

While there are probably specific abilities you feel make you marketable, be sure to highlight the talents that most closely match what the employer is looking for. During your interview, you’ll be able to expand upon your additional skill set, but making sure your resume matches those up-front needs is what will land you that first interview. 

3. Stand out with professional development training 

One of the best ways you can stand out from the crowd is by demonstrating that you’re always looking for ways to improve yourself, your abilities and your performance in the workplace. How can you best demonstrate this to potential employers? By showing that you’re always learning. 

K-State Olathe offers multiple professional development opportunities you can take advantage of to spice up your resume. Whether you want to attend a leadership series that shows you have what it takes to be a leader or you’re interested in diving deeper into the world of animal health and science, we offer a wide range of potential offerings that will give you ongoing education and show potential employers you’re always ready to boost your skills. 

4. Focus on what you’re good at  

Amy Gallo of The Harvard Business Review notes that it’s important to highlight your accomplishments, rather than just your responsibilities. Hiring managers want to know that you’re not just completing tasks at your current position, but that you’re skilled at what you’re doing. Sometimes, crafting your resume might feel like you’re bragging. Many of us feel uncomfortable with this, but a resume is the one area where you’re supposed to brag, so be sure to emphasize your best qualities and abilities when you’re preparing to apply for a new role. 

5. Be succinct 

Did you know that most hiring managers and recruiters spend less than eight seconds reviewing a resume? Because of this, it’s important that you “get to the point” with your resume. What are you good at? What are your skills? Highlight these quickly using keywords that align with the job description of the position you’re applying for. 

Allison Pohle of The Wallstreet Journal notes that hiring managers start by skimming resumes. If you can catch their attention enough for them to dig a little deeper, you’ll be well on your way to success, but making sure that you highlight key strengths and talents is essential when it comes to that first glance. 

6. Incorporate key words, but don’t overdo it 

Some employers utilize an applicant tracking system to manage resumes. These screening programs are designed to filter out applicants, especially for positions that draw in many potential hires. Incorporating keywords that are relevant to the job listing into your resume can help your resume make it through this initial screening process. For example, if you’re applying for a position in the animal health field and you don’t have keywords such as “veterinary” or “animal health” in your resume, your application may be discarded before it’s even reviewed by a human. Give yourself the best odds by adding a few carefully selected keywords into your resume. 

7. Stay consistent 

When you’re applying for a new position, make sure that you stay consistent with your formatting. For example, if you’re using periods after bullet points for your resume, make sure you use them for each bullet point. If you’re writing in the present tense instead of the past tense, you’ll likewise want to keep that same tense throughout your entire resume. 

While applying for new positions can be a stressful experience, these seven tips will help make your resume the strongest it can be. Whether you’re making a career change or preparing to enter the workforce for the first time, be sure to take the time to make sure your resume is as polished and well-rounded as it can be. 

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