Let鈥檚 clarify a few things first: Yes, you should tailor your resume for the particular position for which you鈥檙e applying. No, not every industry will be as accepting of a Pinterest portfolio, original resume design or a Vimeo video in place of a cover letter. But there are a handful of ways to stand out as the MVP job candidate across all industries, no matter how creative or conservative the field is. According to career experts we interviewed from coast to coast, these are tips that always impress.


1. Name drop. We鈥檙e not talking, 鈥淎h, yes, my father, the inventor of Toaster Strudel,鈥 here. We鈥檙e talking the mention of big name organizations you may have worked for previously 鈥 even if indirectly 鈥 as it will show well-respected companies can vouch for you or vet you through.

Cofounder of job-search startup Rolltroll Adam Grealish explains, 鈥淕o big. If you worked for a small subsidiary of a big company, don鈥檛 forget to mention the big and often more notable parent. For better or worse, people like name recognition. It gives a sense of validation or social proof that can help you land that first interview.鈥

2. Toot your own horn. Don鈥檛 be bashful, and don鈥檛 sell yourself short. If you don鈥檛 pitch yourself to prove your skills make you the perfect new hire, then who will? Karin Hurt of Let鈥檚 Grow Leaders understands that it can be uncomfortable to write about yourself, since we鈥檙e 鈥渘aturally humble and don鈥檛 want to inflate ourselves. But hiring managers want to know about all the cool features of the product they鈥檙e investing in (you!). Let them know exactly how great you are.鈥


3. Beef up your LinkedIn profile. Finally fill out the sections of your profile that LinkedIn鈥檚 been reminding you about. But rounding out your page is only the bare minimum. To kick it up a notch, even with a free account, there is a list of new ways you can get noticed on this professional networking site.

鈥淟inkedIn is still the first place most recruiters go,鈥 Hurt says. 鈥淵ou can now upload video, podcasts, images and other examples of your work. I鈥檝e taken advantage of a lot of this as a free member.鈥 In other words, no excuses. You鈥檝e got the best tools at your disposal, free of cost, to illustrate your greatness.

4. Tell a story. Hiring managers want to see a gradual progression in your career and the anecdotes, trials and triumphs you鈥檝e gone through to get to this level 鈥 much like the plot and climax of a bestseller. Do your best to sell yourself by giving them colorful details and examples that will captivate their attention and make them truly understand what you鈥檝e accomplished and what you intend to provide to their company.

Career expert Susan Hay recommends doing this: 鈥淯nder each job, have accomplishment stories 鈥 as specific as you can鈥 be in less than two lines. These are the stories you want someone to ask鈥 you about in an interview, so make them interesting.鈥

5. Add/omit your GPA. Hay says, 鈥淚f your GPA is above a 3.0, put it on your resume, but unless it鈥檚 above a 3.5, take it off after you鈥檙e five years into your career. If it鈥檚 above 3.5, you can leave it on for up to ten years. After ten years, no matter how good your GPA is, it looks foolish on your resume.


6. Check for an echo. Reread your resume aloud to ensure it truly sounds like you 鈥 even if you hired a writer or had your resume written by your university鈥檚 career center. Mark Anthony Dyson, MAEd/AET of The Voice of Job Seekers warns that if you use big words that you don鈥檛 actually use regularly, find other words or risk coming off inexperienced and insecure. 鈥淓mployers can see right through the way you sound on paper and a phone interview if the vocab doesn鈥檛 match.鈥

7. Clean out your work history. Are you one of those people who have a two-paged resume with a list of jobs dating back to your babysitting days? Chyeah, it鈥檚 time to purge your Work History section.

Kelly Studer of Career Stylist recommends taking off the experiences you never want to do again or are mediocre. 鈥淒on鈥檛 sell it,鈥 she urges. 鈥淛ust because you鈥檝e done it, doesn鈥檛 mean it belongs on your resume. You don鈥檛 want to be hired for something you hate or never want to do again.鈥

Final Resum茅 Thoughts


What do all of these tips have in common? The duty of the job candidate to connect the dots for the hiring manager. Don鈥檛 expect them to come to the conclusion that you鈥檙e perfect for the job on their own, using all of the hidden messages and vague references you sprinkled into your job application. Spell it out for them. Be bold. And on that note, remember that it鈥檚 ok to humanize your resume a bit to make it (and you) memorable.

Studer offers this final tip: 鈥淵ou want to give a flavor of who you are. I鈥檓 a big fan of putting personal information at the bottom of a resume, but quirky! Not like, 鈥業 like golf, yoga and scuba diving.鈥 It could be more like, 鈥業 make a mean chicken cordon bleu. I鈥檝e watched Bourne Identity more than 100 times and I鈥檓 an aspiring accordion player.鈥 I would never forget that resume.鈥

Got any resum茅 tips we missed? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!

This post was previously published on Levo League by Megan Broussard.

(Photos via Getty)