3 resume tips that will help your application stand out

You don't need loud design features. You can cut-through the rest by being clear.

You don't need loud design features. You can cut-through the rest by being clear.

When it comes to writing a resume, there is no shortage of tips and tricks that people will offer up as advice. Hiring managers don’t have a lot of time – we know from experience. Resumes that stand out the most are clear with highlights in appropriate areas. We’ve put together some high-level things to think about: format, what to highlight, and how to highlight. What should be included and prioritised depends on your experience and the role you’re applying for. No matter where you are in your career or what position you want to apply for – keep the following top of mind as you write and edit your resume.

Use a simple, standard resume format
To get a resume to stand out, some people try to make it flashy and get creative with their formatting. While this can show visual and design skills in more art-centric professions, in general, you don't want to mix up standard resume formatting too much. A standard format helps recruiters and employers quickly identify the information they are looking for. The person reviewing your application wants to see you are qualified, and they need to look at that quickly.

To comply with standard formatting, keep your name and contact information at the top, make your section headings stand out through bolding, underlining, or all-caps text, and have your achievements written out as bulleted statements.

Make the best stuff obvious and clear
While you don’t want to shake up formatting too much, you should prioritise the most relevant information as close to the top as possible. When scanning your resume, a person will typically read from top to half-way, and may not make it all the way to the bottom. 

How should you do this? Think about what’s most important in getting you hired for each specific position you’re applying for and arrange the content of your resume accordingly. Put relevant skills at the top of your resume. If your most recent experience isn't relevant to the role you’re seeking, create a tailored experience section, like ‘Leadership Experience’ or ‘Broadacre Agronomy Experience’ – this way you won’t be confined to only talking about jobs you’ve had, but things you’ve put into practice across roles.

Use emphasis strategically
Aside from arranging the information in your resume to put first-things-first at the top, think about what else you want to highlight and use bold, underlining and italics to distinguish these points. 

If you worked at a well-known company but in an entry level role, you'd probably want to emphasise the name of the company over your position title. Alternatively, if you held a more senior or specialised position in a smaller or lesser-known company, you may want to highlight your position title over the company name. Considering your resume may only get a quick glance, think about what pieces of information you want to use to make an impact.