Cut the Fluff: How to Make Your Resume Stand Out!

When applying for a new job, you want your potential employer to see enough from your resume that they invite you for an interview! And it can be tempting to cram your resume full of history and details, but remember that a recruiter or hiring manager may only spend mere seconds scanning each document and yours needs to stand out!  


When it comes to your resume, less is more. Include the best parts, and get rid of the rest. The more information you put on your resume, the more difficult it will be for the reader to see the highlights of your career. Allow your successes to shine. 


By cutting the fluff and streamlining your experience, you showcase your most relevant and impressive accomplishments! Below are some tips to help you get your application noticed and make a lasting impression:  

Create a strong start.  

As you’ve probably heard by now, objectives are out and professional summaries are in. Grab a potential employer’s attention by quickly showing what you have to offer. What strengths have you developed and refined throughout your career? Which ones best align with the role you’re seeking? It’s about what you can do for them, not about what you want from them! 


Instead of a run-of-the-mill objective statement that talks all about your goals and needs, replace it with a resume summary that summarizes your qualifications in terms that an employer will appreciate. Remember, keep this between 2-4 sentences!   

Tailor your resume to the job.  

Don’t go for a “one-size-fits-all” approach when it comes to resumes. Instead, customize your resume for each job you apply to. Research the company and job description to identify the skills and experiences they value most, and make sure those are prominently featured on your resume.   

Keep it concise and to-the-point.  

Your resume should be easy to skim and understand quickly, so use bullet points and short sentences to convey your experience. Avoid using buzzwords or vague language, and focus on concrete, measurable accomplishments. Remember, your resume should be no more than a page long (unless you have extensive experience in the field you’re applying to). 


It is easy to include a lot of details that really have nothing to do with the job you are applying for, or the career you are targeting. Highlight the most relevant information for the position; what will impress a hiring manager and demonstrate your ability to do the job? You can always share more during an interview.  

Keep it simple and visually appealing.  

A visually appealing resume can make a big difference! But there is a delicate balance between too little and too much visual creativity in a professional resume. You don’t want your resume to look like a boring list on a Word Document, but you also don’t want to use too many different colors or fonts! Use a clean, easy-to-read font, and make sure your resume is well-organized and visually balanced. Utilize the free resume templates available online to help you easily create a visually appealing resume that will help you stand out amongst the other applicants!   

Too much of the past.  

If you recently graduated college and entered the workforce, it’s time to get rid of any references to your high school activities and focus on highlighting your new degree and relevant internships or coursework. If you’re a senior professional, limit your work experience to the most recent 10 years and remove dates from certifications that occurred before the time period. Ensure that each job you list serves a purpose and is relevant to the position you are applying for.  


Employers care most about what you’ve done recently and how that’s relevant to their open position. Your work experience section must give an overview of your career and the jobs you’ve had in the past. But this doesn’t mean you need to give 25 years’ worth of details. One of the best and simplest ways to declutter your resume is to remove any outdated positions.  

Highlight your results and accomplishments, not your tasks. 

 Oftentimes the experience section is filled with job descriptions, which is a sure way to bore the recruiter or hiring manager. Skip listing the basic expectations of your past positions. As you’ve progressed in your career, show the more complex projects and initiatives you’ve taken on. Focus on what you accomplished in your role, not everything that the role entails. Demonstrate your leadership and what makes you stand out from others in similar roles. 


Instead of listing what your responsibilities were, use specific metrics and examples to demonstrate how you improved processes, saved money, increased sales, or otherwise made a positive impact on the company. For example, instead of saying “managed social media accounts,” say “increased Instagram engagement by 50% through targeted content strategy.” 


Here’s the test: If a bullet point can be put on someone else’s resume, it is a job description (something that anyone in your position can do) and not an accomplishment specific to you.   

Show me the numbers.  

Numbers help the reader better understand your impact in a shorter amount of time. It is an illustrative and efficient way to convey your accomplishments. For example, instead of saying that you “consistently exceeded annual sales goals through strong client management and excellent opportunity identification,” you could say, “Completed 2016 at 113% of annual goal.” Numbers can help your accomplishment speak for itself and can often be more effective than words.  

Highlight higher-level skills  

You are an experienced professional with a list of skills the size of your arm, but this doesn’t mean you need to try and cram them all into your skills section. Instead, only include up to 10 core skills. The best way to ensure you get this right and avoid unnecessary or unhelpful clutter is to choose the top skills for your industry, role, or those outlined in the job description. 


The same applies to soft skills. While it’s a good idea to include some, try to avoid adding broad skills like ‘communication’ and give more specific details about how you put this to use instead.  

Buzzwords be gone!  

According to CNBC, buzzwords like “synergy,” “think outside the box,” and “results-driven” can actually hurt your chances of getting hired. Instead, start each bullet point with a powerful verb to describe your accomplishments. Examples include “created,” “implemented,” “led,” “streamlined,” “optimized,” and “achieved.” (Avoid using weaker verbs like “assisted” or “contributed to.)  


By following these tips, you can create a resume that effectively showcases your experience and sets you apart from other job seekers. So, cut the fluff and give yourself the best chance of landing your dream job! Start applying with your new and improved resume: OPEN POSITIONS