How to Write a Résumé that Gets Noticed—Yes, It’s Possible!

resume on a bright yellow desk - how to get your resume noticed

So, like many, you want to know how to write a résumé that gets noticed. How does one stand out in a pile of résumés? What needs to be on a résumé to get an interview at the company you want? Will it even matter if applications are just submitted into a résumé “black-hole” corporate database?

Simply submitting résumés to job postings is a challenging way to compete in the job market. Many never see the light of day much less the desk of the hiring manager. Keywords help—thanks to automated searches for “typical” candidates—but where does that leave those taking a new career path?

Even if a résumé is not a perfect fit, it doesn’t mean a candidate might not be ideal for the position. Let’s explore how to craft a résumé showcasing the passion and experience needed to get the job.

So what needs to be included on a résumé?

When soul-searching with my clients, I work with them to detail the skills they most enjoy using in life (not just their current workplace). These skills need to be BOLD (or at least stand out) on the résumé with much less emphasis on the skills a candidate doesn’t enjoy using. Don’t highlight skills just to land a job, rather let’s show how you and your skills are a fit.

Create bullet points under each of the past experiences, highlight those skills you loved using and detail the results achieved. And if changing career paths, save space by leaving out details on jobs over ten years old (unless that information is relevant to the job you’re going after) and focus on what you do well: your passion.

Does your passion and purpose translate on a résumé?

Now ask yourself, what on your résumé excites you? This is how we start to recognize our own genius—the abilities, talents, interests, and experiences we bring to a work environment. Draft a list of all your positive, professional attributes and make sure those qualities are highlighted in your résumé. They can appear in the summary, under a core skills section, or under your work experiences—just make sure they all appear on the résumé.

Next, make a list of the benefits of your genius—the kudos, the bottom-line results and the happy client outcomes that you’ve achieved on the job. Remember, it’s not bragging if it’s true. And don’t be too timid to ask for specific endorsements and recommendations about your stellar abilities and the contributions made because of them. Highlight those on your résumé too. You can even leverage the recommendations featured on your LinkedIn profile.

How do I know if I’m conveying the right message?

example for how to write a resume that gets noticed on desk with pen and glasses

Then it’s time to ask, “What’s most noticeable about your résumé right now?” Are you sure? Let’s test it. Put the résumé in front of a colleague, a friend, or even a career coach. Give each person 30 seconds to look at it and then ask what stood out for them. Did they notice your genius? Did they mention what you want to portray?

If not, make changes. Again, it is not about landing a job but landing the right job to ignite your passions.

Okay, so what’s the secret for getting my résumé noticed?

Stop trying to get noticed and start being your authentic self. It’s not about how to write a résumé that gets noticed, but rather getting noticed by the right people who value and appreciate your unique talents and skills. Remember: no one else has the same particular combination of talents, abilities, interests and life experiences you have. No one.

So stop apologizing for what’s on your résumé—gaps, caregiving stints, and sabbaticals —and start celebrating who you are and what you bring to the table. I’m teaching my clients all the time how to step back into their power by appreciating themselves for all they are and all they bring to a role.

So does it go beyond the résumé, too?

For all potential candidates, employers usually perform a simple Google search on their name. Facebook posts get reviewed, LinkedIn profiles checked. All other articles or images read and reviewed. Make sure that these findings match your genius. Show you’re truly the way you present in your résumé by demonstrating it across your social platforms. If a position demands trust… do you act in a trustworthy way as evidenced by your posts online? If you’re going for a creative role…are you creative with your images and messages shared online? Whatever it is, own it, and be authentic.

Finally, when wondering how to write a résumé that gets noticed, remember a résumé is a snapshot of who you really are in life. It needs to showcase not just the best you, but the best real you—the person who is living their values, who is supporting organizations that align with those values, and who invests in him/herself to grow in alignment with what he/she values. Your résumé is complete when you have accomplished just that.


For more inspired career advice from Maggie Mistal, subscribe to her Making a Living Podcast on iTunes, Sticher or on your smartphone podcast app.

For additional career advice from Maggie Mistal, watch our one-on-one interview below:

About the Author

Maggie is a mom, a podcaster, and a career/executive coach. She has helped thousands Soul Search, Research and Job Search into their ideal careers. Dubbed by CNN as "One of the Nation's Best Known Career Coaches" she has appeared in numerous media outlets including the New York Times and has worked with Fortune 500 companies. Over 5.5 million people have watched her how to Ace a Job interview video on YouTube and NBC’s Today Show featured her personal story of dealing with life and career change. For 7 years, she hosted a weekly national radio show called “Making a Living with Maggie” on SIRIUS XM. For more including a clip from her Follow Your Dreams cabaret show, visit MaggieMistal.com.
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