5 min read
15 May 2024

Ask Our Experts: How to write a resume that stands out

Jennifer Mayville, Senior Manager, Communications

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. This is especially true when it comes to employers and your resume.

In today’s super-competitive job market, a well-crafted resume that showcases your skills, experiences, and qualifications is vital to help secure interviews and unlock other opportunities.

We asked our Employment Services team for their advice to help you create a resume that stands out so you can land your dream job. Here are their top tips!

 

Tailor your resume for each job application

 

Man of Middle Eastern descent holds up his resume, while sitting in an office cubicle.

Resist the urge to use the same resume for each job application. Instead, carefully review the job posting and customize your resume to highlight your skills and experiences most relevant to the role. Look for the job requirements and/or qualifications listed in job postings, and ensure you are addressing the key skills and requirements in your resume. You might want to switch up the sequence of your bullet points or change the language to reflect what is in the job posting. Don’t forget to update your resume often, as you gain new experiences and skills, so it’s ready to go when you want to start looking for your next job.

Keep it concise

 

Recruiters often don’t have much time to review each resume, so you want to make every word count. Keep your resume to one to two pages max, focusing on your work history, skills and achievements, prioritizing recent and relevant experiences.

Use a professional-looking format

 

Professional designed resume

A visually appealing and easy-to-read resume can also help you to stand out. Choose a clean and professional font (no Comic Sans!) and make sure that formatting is consistent throughout the document. The good news is that you don’t have to design your resume from scratch. You can find some great templates for resumes on Canva, Microsoft Word, Etsy, and other platforms, as well as on WoodGreen’s website.

Highlight your achievements not just job duties

 

Potential employers want to know what you can contribute to their organization. Instead of providing an overview of your tasks in your previous roles, share the impact that you made. If and when possible, use numbers and percentages to demonstrate what you were able to achieve. For example, rather than saying you "increased social media reach," specify that you "increased social media reach by 20% within six months."

Include relevant keywords

 

Black woman working on a laptop

Unfortunately, your resume might not always be reviewed by a human. Many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen job applications. To ensure you successfully makes it through this screening process, incorporate relevant keywords from the job posting into your resume.

ATS screeners also don’t like fancy formatting. So, create a version of our resume with a simple format, so your resume is easy to read. Here are some more tips on how to create an ATS-friendly resume.

Add a professional summary or objective

 

At the top of your resume, include a summary or objective statement that provides a quick overview of your skills, experiences, and career goals. This section briefly highlights why you are interested in the role and why you are a strong candidate, and should only be a couple of sentences in length.

Proofread, proofread, proofread

 

Person proofreading their resume

Spelling and grammar errors on your resume can make a negative impression, and, depending on the role, could land your application in the recycling bin. Therefore, it’s important to take your time and proofread your resume before you send it out. Asking a friend or a loved one to review your resume before submitting it to employers can increase your chances of getting a call for an interview. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can catch mistakes that you’ve missed.

Include your contact information

 

It's probably obvious, but it’s important to include your contact information on your resume. That includes your most recent email address (make sure it sounds professional), phone number, and LinkedIn profile (if you have one).

By following these tips, you can craft a resume that will grab the attention of potential employers.

Are you looking for more help with your resume? Check out these resources on our website.

More Blogs

What You Get When You Give Back: 10 Reasons Volunteering is Good for You

Volunteering is not only about doing good, it turns out that giving back is also good for you. Our experts explain the surprising benefits.

Read

Volunteering keeps Nick in love with Toronto. Here's why

Nick wanted a way to help newcomers to Canada make their way in Toronto. He began volunteering with WoodGreen. Fifteen years later, the experience has changed the way he sees the city he calls home.

Read

“There is no downside to volunteering” says long-time WoodGreen volunteer

Sitting around during retirement was not something Barb was ever going to do. She wanted to help uplift others in her East Toronto community. Why she says choosing to donate the last 15 years to volunteering at WoodGreen was absolutely the right decision.

Read

Generations of children gather to bid farewell to beloved WoodGreen childcare teacher

For 36 years, Vione Thomas helped children greet the day with a smile. Many of those kids -- now grownups -- are back to wish her well.

Read

Raising Awareness of Homeward Bound at Queen’s Park

WoodGreen hosted a breakfast reception at Queen’s Park to spread awareness about the Homeward Bound program. Find out what happened.

Read