young man telling secret

Team Player. Results Oriented. Self-Motivated. You already know where this is going right? These are some of the most common and generic descriptors anyone could use on their resume, and yet everyone does it. Why? Because we’ve been trained to think that this is what companies want to hear. That may have been true before everyone started using these phrases. What was once powerful on your resume now makes you look as common as the next candidate. So how do you make your resume stand out and grab the reader’s attention? Tell your unique story. Here’s how!

1. Be honest and genuine in your profile

Really dig down to what’s at the heart of what you do and why. Include what drives, excites or motivates you about what you do. This is your chance to make a connection with the reader. Don’t squander it by writing what you think they want to hear or with catch phrases that no longer ring true.

2. It’s okay to be brief.

While your inclination may be to write a list of everything you were responsible for under each position held, don’t. Job duties don’t mean much without real results. Share your “so what” instead of “responsible fors.” For example, you could say you were responsible for new client development. But ask yourself “so what?” If the answer is important for a potential employer to know, that’s what you write. In this case, the “so what” might be “Consistently brought in 2MM dollars of new business each year.” More significant, right?

Rather than “responsible for mentoring junior sales staff,” ask yourself again, “so what?” Maybe your answer is “All junior sales staff under my direction were promoted to Senior Sales Associates within 3 months, well above the company average of 7 months for other departments.” A couple of good “so whats” will make more of an impact than a laundry list of “responsible fors.”

3. Look to your legacy.

Wherever you worked, you either added value or detracted from it. Think about what you did, initiated or implemented that left the organization better off. It could be that you made the push for the company to revamp their corporate culture. Did you start the internal communications plan that still exists even though you’re not longer there? You may not think of it in terms of a legacy, but if you created it, it’s yours to claim!

4. Convey your desired career path

Whether you include it in your summary or you write a brief explanation under each company title listed, all hiring managers are interested in your career progression. Naturally, they will be curious about why you left each job and what you hoped to gain in each new position. IF you can offer them insight into these areas, they’ll get a much clearer picture of your career growth as well as your thought process around it.

Remember, a resume is supposed to generate interest in the reader. It doesn’t have to offer all the details of your story. It does, however, still need to tell a story. You can fill in all the blanks in person.