Make Your Resume Stand Out

By Ben WoodwardBanner image

Just fourteen seconds, that is all the time you will get. In those precious seconds, a recruiter will review your resume and make the decision as to whether or not they will advance you to the next stage.

It is not long -- in those few seconds, you make big impression or your resume goes in the trash.

Before you read any further, look at your resume… if you had no knowledge of your work experience, could you make a yes or no decision in fourteen seconds?

If so, great, it is likely you do not have much work to do. If not, then is here to help.

The Header

Very easy, include your full name at the top in size fourteen to sixteen font. Directly below, detail reliable contact information, including a professional email, phone number, and mailing address. To save space, you can even fit your contact details on the same line.

Side note: Sensible email addresses only! Try to avoid .edu’s too, a simple Hotmail, Gmail, or Outlook works great.

Relevant/Other Experience

Outline your experience most relevant to the job for which you are applying first. The recruiter will expect to see this, so give them what they want. Outline the organization/office, the specific dates you worked, your job title, and then bullet point four or five accomplishments. Think about how you added value to your organization rather than listing your day-to-day work.

After you have outlined your relevant experience, detail your other experience. This shows you were continuously active without blurring what the recruiter needs to know. You will likely include just one or two bullet point (if any).

Two Secrets to Great Bullet Points:

  1. Start each bullet point with a strong verb: managed, coordinated, facilitated, designed…

  2. Quantify your accomplishments i.e. you ran an event, how many people came, etc.


Name of institution, location, GPA, graduation/expected graduation, major and minor.

That is it! Anything else like relevant coursework, honors, and study abroad programs can go in your experience.

Special Skills

Keep to those hard skills, that can include fluency in a second language, HTML coding, video or photo editing (with specific software listed), and specified software experience (SharePoint, Intranet Quorum, etc.).

Soft skills i.e. skills you cannot quantify like being a good leader or a nice person do not belong on your resume.

Final Pointers

  • Unless you have more than 10 years full-time experience, your resume should fit on one side of A4 paper.

  • Keep a master resume so you can simply edit according to the job to which you are applying.

  • Consistency is key! Make sure your font, tenses, style, placing of titles, etc. are consistent throughout.

  • Ask a friend to proofread your final copy!

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions about resumes or your career more broadly at