Tips to Make Your Resume Stand Out For a 2020 Hiring

Here Milestone Personnel, we love preparing our candidates for real-world careers.

Part of that process includes career exploration and finding the perfect job position to apply to once you have your new skills.

And, if you’re planning for a new career path in 2020, now is the time to start getting your professional documents in order.

The first place to make changes? Your resume.

Taking time to edit your resume and add relevant experience can put your application on the top of the candidate pile. Since you won’t be there in person to share all of your marketable attributes the first time a hiring manager sees it, your resume has to do the talking.

Here are tips to make sure your resume stands out:


  1. Highlight Relevant Work Experience

While this seems like common sense, you don’t need to list every accomplishment or job you’ve had. This may be a helpful time to create a couple of different versions of your resume. Whatever position you’re applying for, highlight only your most relevant skills and experience.

Here’s how to do it:

Customize your resume to reflect the specific job you’re applying for

Outline skills you have that make you the perfect candidate

Talk about projects or successes you’ve had that are relatable

Resume booster: If you’ve had a lot of different work experiences, you can always create a highlighted skills section. This is where you might include project management, customer service, or administrative skills you’ve picked up.

  1. Demonstrate Your Worth With Numbers

Hiring managers and human resources personnel love numbers. If you can highlight specific results with percentages throughout your resume, do so. If there’s any particular story or relevant experience that you can expand upon, your cover letter is the ideal place to do it. Consider your resume a sneak preview into your cover letter details.

Here’s how to do it:

Add numbers and percentages where you can

Expand upon impressive results in a cover letter

Don’t forget volunteer work (i.e. hours and experience)

Resume booster: When offering specific percentages or numbers to show off your results, be as specific as possible. For example, you might cover how you implemented a new system that improved data accuracy by 30% during a 12-week experiential learning opportunity.

  1. Update Experience With Online Certifications

In certain fields, like healthcare and IT, certifications can be everything. It proves to hiring managers that you’re motivated to learn as much as you can about an industry. Keeping up with renewing your online certifications proves you’re willing to stay updated on industry trends, too.

Here’s how to do it:

Share details of any certifications you hold

Be prepared to show proof, if necessary

Consider getting certified before or during your job hunt


For some ideas, here’s a partial list of certifications by industry:

Project Management

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

CompTIA Project+

Professional in Project Management (PPM)

Certified Project Manager (IAPM)

Healthcare Certifications

CET Certified EKG Technician

OSHA Certification

CCMA Certified Clinical Medical Assistant

CPhT Certified Pharmacy Technician

IT Certifications

A+ CompTIA

Network+ CompTIA

Security+ CompTIA

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

Business and General

Six Sigma Belts

Public Notary

PHR® (Professional in Human Resources)

FEMA Certification (Emergency Management)

Resume booster: Certifications demonstrate skills, knowledge, and dedication, even if it’s not required for your field. For example, healthcare certifications can give your resume a boost over other applicants. If you don’t currently have certifications, check out the MedCerts certification options.

  1. Format Correctly

If your resume is a cluttered mess, it will end up in the trash. Showcase your professionalism and organization by formatting it correctly. Make it easy to read with increased line spacing, proper grammar, and organized sections relevant to your past work experience.

Here’s how to do it:

Use easy-to-read fonts

Make all hyperlinks live

Double-check spelling, grammar

Watch for spacing issues

Save as a PDF to prevent formatting issues

Resume booster: A quick Google search of resume templates (click images) offers a ton of resources to help you find a template that works best for you. Remember, clean and organized is key to getting to the top of the pile!


  1. Focus on The Top of the Resume

Whenever you read content whether it’s on your phone, in an email, or even in a newsletter, you probably just glance at the first few lines, right? Same with recruiters and HR managers. Make sure what they see at the top of your resume is eye-catching and makes them want to read more.

Here’s how to do it:

The top ⅓ of the document should grab attention

Add a summary or clever headline

Write to-the-point descriptions

Start with your most relevant experience

Resume booster: Most hiring managers and recruiters are busy folks who want to get the resume’s key points straight away. Give them the best details at the top!


  1. Use Relevant Keywords

To get past an applicant tracking system or snag a hiring manager’s attention, use keywords from the job posting. By doing so, you make it clear you’re the perfect person for this position. It also shows that you read the full job description. Companies may use software to sort through applications. Both software and hiring managers tend to skim through resumes for job-specific keywords.

Here’s how to do it:

Review the job posting for relevant keywords

Stick to shorter, attention-grabbing keyword phrases

Some keywords to consider: chaired, directed, networked, joined, etc.

Resume booster: Use multiple versions of the same keyword and add keywords throughout the resume in all sections including the text, headers, qualifications, certifications, etc.

  1. Keep Your Resume to One Page

Again, recruiters and hiring managers are strapped for time. Even if you have a full 10 years of job experience, nobody has time to go through that large of a resume!

Here’s how to do it:

Keep your resume one page in length

Have someone edit it

Cut out irrelevant points

Eliminate words like “very” or “a lot”

Resume booster: Have too much information? Adjust your margins and be sure to keep it specific to the position. You can also use numbers instead of spelling the words out to cut down on length! Need more info to fill up the page? Don’t forget volunteer work and side hustles.