Make your resume stand out from the crowd

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Looking for a new career in 2020? A local job search coach and expert resume writer can help.

In the first of a two-part series, Sarah Johnston, founder of Brief Case Coach, told you the best way to develop a job search strategy as we head into the new year.

Now, Johnston is sharing what you need to make your resume stand out in a crowded field of applicants.

Johnston said you may only have six to eight seconds to encourage a hiring manager to take a closer look at your work.

She offered these tips for building a resume:

  • do have shading and headers. Not only do they break up the text, but they tell the reader what to look at.
  • do have a consistent format
  • do have your resume keyword-loaded, so you can "rank for applicant-tracking systems," Johnston said.
  • do lead with results. What have you done to get results for your company? That carries greater weight than a description of the work you've done.
  • Make sure you highlight your achievements over listing qualities from the job description.
  • do have a consistent font.
  • do have your contact information easily available.


As for what to avoid, don't sacrifice readability for the expense of design and layout.

Johnston also said adding your address leaves open the ability for people to discriminate based on where you live or the perceived commute.

  • don't be too text heavy -- you don't want your content to get lost.
  • don't let your resume read like a job description.
  • don't have pictures or be heavy with graphics.


"There's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all resume these days," Johnston said.

And remember the old-school thought that a resume must only be a page long? Johnston said that's not so much true anymore.

"The new thought is that your resume can be as long as it needs to be and no longer," Johnston said.
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