Four Ways to Make Your Resume Stand Out

UCF Alumnus Shares Resume Tips

Steven Branstetter ’11, director of recruiting with Crawford Thomas Recruiting and member of the Expert Advisory Group for LinkedIn Recruiting and Staffing, provided his best tips and strategies during a recent UCF Alumni webinar, Alumni Resume Building: Beyond the Piece of Paper. Branstetter coached us on how to use and show the transition of your work experience to get your next job and leverage your professional network.

He answered tons of questions from alumni regarding resume format and structure, drafting your resume for a career change, and what to include on a resume when you have many years of experience.

We summed up his top four ways to make your resume stand out so that you can effectively share your professional story:

1. Brag About Yourself

The sole purpose and goal of a resume is to highlight your experience and skills that are relevant to the job posting. Your resume is a marketing tool and should serve as an advertisement. There is no right or wrong way to customize your resume, but you do want to include any recent experience and accomplishments that showcase why you would be an asset to an employer. Use bullet points to list your career highlights and make sure to include metrics and quantitative successes to show your individual contribution.

2. Format

Resumes come in all shapes and sizes but here are a few suggestions to take note of. You want your resume to be easy to read and not too distracting. There are many ways to make your resume stand out without it sticking out like a sore thumb. Consider condensing your resume into 1-2 pages and selecting a font style that is easy on the eyes. You can never go wrong with Times New Roman, Calibri, or Arial. Limit the amount of colors used and stay away from bright colors that are hard to read. Different industries may expect a more creative resume template, so keep that in mind when applying for artistic or nontraditional roles.

3. Sections to Include

The first page of a resume is so important because a recruiter typically only spends about six seconds reviewing it before they decide to move on to the next candidate! This means that the first half page of your resume needs to grab their attention and show that you have the skills and experience for the job. Consider adding a branding statement or professional summary, following your contact information, and include three to four lines providing an overview of industry knowledge, accomplishments, and the breadth of experience you have to offer. Include value-add insight and competencies. A skills section is also important to have featured in the top half of your resume. Include relevant soft skills (personality traits) and hard skills (technical knowledge and training) related to position. If you do not have much experience, consider highlighting your educational background earlier on your resume.

4. Showcasing Your Experience

Whether you are a new graduate with minimal experience or a professional with years of experience, you want to customize your resume for the role you are applying to and include relevant information. Consider including relevant volunteer work and work experience by narrowing in on your most recent (5-10 years) of experience. You want to mention individual accomplishments and contributions that you delivered to your past and current employers. Help bridge the gap for the recruiter by providing examples on how your skills and responsibilities can translate directly over into a specific role. If you are new to the work force or changing careers, focus on leveraging the skills you currently have and reach out to friends and employers to find job shadow opportunities or internships to gain more experience.

Your resume is yours to tailor and customize to showcase yourself in the best light. For more tips, you can view the recorded session with Steven Branstetter ’11. 

UCF Alumni Professional Engagement

Whether you’re a new graduate about to be launched into the workforce or an experienced professional looking for a career transition, we’re here to help. Visit our website for more information!

About the Author

Ashley Colquhoun ’12, SHRM-CP is a human resources management and event services professional with a background in HR generalist affairs, including employee recruitment and retention, staff development and employee relations.

UCF Knights Network

UCF Knights Network

We’re proud to introduce UCF Knights Network — our very own alumni professional networking platform! The power of the platform is amplified to promote and showcase virtual networking, informal mentoring, UCF alumni businesses and career and professional opportunities. Join UCF Knights Network now!

Featured Image for the Contact Us Bar
Contact Us