How To Craft A Winning Resume | How To Stand Out In 2021

Updated: May 9, 2021

It is more important than ever for job seekers to use their resumes as a way to set themselves apart from the competition. Here are some tips on how to write a successful resume.

The main purpose of any resume is to land the interview. A successful resume gets a candidate past the employer's screening process and places the job seeker in front of a company hiring manager for an entry level interview.

Interviews are granted for just one out of every 100 to 200 resumes received by most employers. And despite all the effort put into crafting a good resume, hiring managers or screeners typically scan resumes for as few as 10 to 20 seconds—which doesn't leave much time to make your mark.

There are many different types of good resume templates both online and in word processing programs, but crafting a solid resume can be boiled down to two main sections.

A resume demonstrates all your professional history as it relates to an open position. A well-formatted and visually appealing resume can not only highlight your best professional abilities but also show your attention to detail. Here are some other purposes for a professional resume:

  • It states the objective of your career and job search.

  • It outlines your training, skills, education and relevant experience.

  • It illustrates the accomplishments you have made with previous employers.

  • It demonstrates with clarity, the benefits you bring to the job.

There are different types of resumes that are appropriate for specific jobs. It is important to design your professional resume to target a specific job, which means you may have multiple resumes.

How to write a professional resume

You can follow these steps to ensure that you have a professional and polished resume:

  1. Choose the right type.

  2. Include the right sections.

  3. Make it easy to read.

  4. Use the right fonts.

  5. Keep the focus.

  6. Be concise.

  7. Proofread.

1. Choose the right type

The key to writing a professional resume is choosing a suitable resume type. There are three main resume types, and it is important to choose the most suitable for the job opening.

  • The chronological resume is best if you’re already working in the industry, as it outlines your work history in chronological order, beginning with the most recent at the top.

  • The functional resume focuses on skills and abilities without regard for dates or periods and is suitable for candidates without continuous working histories.

  • A combination resume is a blend of the functional and chronological resume. Both your skills and work experience are outlined with your working history listed in reverse chronological order. This type is appropriate for those with shorter working histories or those considering career changes. It normally starts with a professional profile or summary of qualifications followed by a section that outlines your skills.

2. Include the right sections

You should have certain sections in your resume that give the employer a well-rounded idea of your professional history and objectives. Here are the basic sections you should include:


Provides your basic contact information, such as your name, mailing address, phone number and email address.

Objective or summary

Include an objective statement if you want to focus on future career goals you want to achieve with a certain company. If you have extensive relevant work experience, you can add a summary of your main achievements. An objective or summary statement should only be one or two sentences.

Work experience

When adding your work experience, start from your most recent to your oldest. If you don’t have a lot of work experience, you can include all the jobs you’ve held. Only include the past 10 years of relevant experience if applicable. Your work experience should include your job title, company name and the dates you worked there. You should also add a list of three to four of your most important responsibilities or accomplishments.


Add your highest level of education, including the name of the school, the dates you attended it and your degree. You can also add any awards you earned, such as making the dean’s list or a particularly high GPA.

Additional information

This information could include relevant skills, achievements, volunteer activity, internships or hobbies. Only add information that applies to the job you’re applying for to keep the attention of the hiring manager.

3. Make it easy to read

For a uniform and easy-to-read appearance, ensure that the formatting is consistent throughout your resume. If you use bullet points in one section that describes your responsibilities, be sure to use the same formatting in other areas. Use the same fonts in the entire resume. To separate your sections, you can use different font styles or sizes, such as bold or italics.

4. Use the right fonts

Some appropriate fonts for resumes are Times New Roman, Calibri or Arial in sizes 10 to 12. Avoid the use of large blocks of texts as they are difficult to read and avoid the use of colored backgrounds. A clean and professional appearance allows the hiring manager to review the information quickly.

5. Keep the focus

Your resume should be focused on presenting your background as it relates to the job. Keep the specific reader in mind and check for redundancy in your statements. If you have held similar positions, you can omit repeating the same details or tasks associated with the job. Instead, consider describing each function as a quantifiable achievement. For example, instead of writing, “Resolved customer issues over the phone,” you could write, “Increased customer satisfaction by 13% by quickly resolving issues over the phone.”

6. Be concise

You should be as concise as possible. Employers prefer one-page resumes since they can review information quickly. If you have a lot of relevant work experience or education, you may need two pages.

7. Proofread

Be meticulous when proofreading your resume. A professional resume should contain no grammar or spelling errors. Reading your resume out loud will help to review sentence structure, grammar, and spelling. Ask a trusted friend or family member to review it to ensure consistency and that it is free of errors.

Create Amazing Resume Content

Draft Your Interesting Accomplishments First

Resumes should not be rehashed with job descriptions or a list of responsibilities. For each bullet on your resume ask “Why should they care? What made that impactful to the company? What made that impressive?” Cut out buzzwords and be conversational. Use action verbs and get cozy with a thesaurus to avoid repeating words.

Quantify Everything, Especially the Benefit

How big was the team you managed? How much did your campaign raise? How much faster was the site after your refactoring? How much contentb were you creating each week? Numbers are powerful, use them whenever possible. “Increased readership by 220% in first 3 months” is infinitely more impressive than “did work on content creation”. Add notes in Evernote along the way so they’re ready the next time you’re working on your resume.

Organize and Prioritize for Easy Reading

Put on your user experience hat and think about the hierarchy and importance of the information you’re presenting. Put the most important content on top. Have more impressive job experience or a relevant degree from a top school? Flip your experience and education accordingly. Which tells a stronger story: your past titles or past companies? Emphasize the more important one. Use short, bulleted lists. Don’t blow out your margins or shrink your font sizes down until it’s a wall-of-text too they’ll need a magnifying glass to read, that’s just silly.

Your Resume Should be One (Comfortable) Page

Hiring managers and recruiters skim resumes to decide if they want to interview you and interviewers skim to decide what to talk to you about. Your resume should be one page of your biggest accomplishments. Period. Make powerful statements and be ready to share more in your cover letter, website, portfolio, LinkedIn profile, and interviews.

Your Resume Is A Billboard, Not A Report

Aggressively cut skills, bullets, positions and entire sections that aren’t really applicable to the role or that aren’t impressive anymore as you advance your career. For example, remove your high school once you have a college degree and remove Microsoft Powerpoint if you’re a Director of Marketing. Cut every single extra word. I like to think of each bullet as a tweet and there’s a finite number of tweets you can fit in a resume. Shorten as many bullets as possible to fit to one line. Don’t be afraid of a shorter number of bullets (or none at all) in older jobs.

I’m really emphasizing this because every time I tell people this they complain, “Oh, but I can’t. I don’t know-how. I have so much experience.” And then they whine for another five minutes. However, this is the single most consistent piece of advice I’ve heard from every hiring manager ever. If your resume MUST be two pages the first should stand completely on its own and the second page should be a bonus. Your actual experience should not be continued on the second page. This is also not an excuse to blow out your margins and cram everything in way too tightly.

Content You MUST Include vs CAN Include

Your resume really only must include your name, basic contact info, important links, a few relevant and impressive work accomplishments, and some relevant and interesting skills.

Your resume can include your highest education (only), community or volunteer work, a brief summary/objective, and your interests/other things that make you special. When you’re looking for things to shorten or cut, start here.


1. Inappropriate Graphics or Colors

You want your resume to stand out, but not for the wrong reasons. Avoid using unnecessary graphics or clip art on your resume.

2. Spelling or Grammatical Errors

Double-check all spelling and grammar. It’s a good idea to have someone else look over your cover letter and resume before you submit for a position.

3. Unprofessional Contact Information

Make sure your contact information is current and correct. Unless applying for a different position within Canteen, your email address should not be a work email with a current employer. If a personal email, it should be something simple and professional (like your first and last name).

4. Irrelevant information

Don’t state a career objective or job experience that isn’t relevant to the position you’re applying for. Leave out hobbies or overly personal information. If personal information or hobbies are relevant to the job, you can mention this in the cover letter, but keep the resume professional.

5. Exaggerated or false qualifications

Don’t waste a recruiter’s time by exaggerating your skills or qualifications. It will eventually be clear if you don’t actually have the skills required for the position you’re applying for. Always keep in mind that the main purpose of your resume is to get you to the next round of phone or in-person interviews, where you can expand on your qualifications and skills. Remembering this can help you keep your resume tailored and to the point.

How to acquire a referral for the job you like upon graduating?

It will help if you try to leverage your current networks to gain job referrals as a fresher. Keep in mind that a referral is a brilliant way to land a job because referrals can make you stand out among the other job applicants.

Are you not sure where to begin? Your social network such as Facebook, LinkedIn etc., your professors, and your college alumina could be the first place.

Remember that your resume is not just a summary of your qualifications. A resume also acts as a marketing tool for yourself. Think of yourself and your skills as a product and create a professional resume to draw hiring managers to buy your skills.

The purpose of a resume is to inform the recruiter of a quick story about who you are, the things you’ve done, and the things you can do for their organization.

Writing an efficient resume for freshers might be difficult. You might lose your chances of landing an interview and job if your resume isn’t written correctly or difficult to read. Hiring managers will check your application but don’t have time to read a hard-to-comprehend resume.

But don’t worry, follow the tips and insights stated above, and you are good to go.

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