How to Make Your Resume Stand Out

by Deborah A. Bailey

If you're working as a contractor or consultant, you'll probably need a resume at some point. Instead of waiting until you need it, create one now and have it ready to share. Here are some important tips you can apply to ensure your resume is polished and professional.

From my book, “Secrets of a Great Resume:”

Your resume should only include your strongest accomplishments. Though it’s tempting to add all the details about every client, position or internship you’ve had, your resume is only a starting point. Use it to get your foot in the door so that you can get a meeting. Once you have an opportunity to speak with the decision maker, you can go into more detail.

Since you have to catch the attention of the reader right away, stay away from passive-sounding words when describing your accomplishments and responsibilities. Passive sentences are indirect and don’t make much of an impression. Look at this example of a passive sentence: “Participated on product development team.” Compare that with this example of an active sentence: “Created scripts and tested the new product.”

In addition to using active words and sentences in your descriptions, you also have to show results. Which description would appeal to you as a hiring manager? “Arranged new product development meetings,” or “Facilitated meetings for new product development team which led to cost savings due to reduced miscommunication between departments.”

If you’re just starting out or looking for assignments in a different industry than you have experience in, playing up your skills is very important. You may not have direct experience in the area you’re looking to get into, but you can play up the skills you already have. Pick accomplishments that show that you are versatile and can think out of the box. Play up training and learning experiences to show that you are proactive and have leadership abilities.

No matter how much experience you have, the person reading your resume should see right away that you can perform the duties the position requires. If you present yourself to your best advantage, you’ll have a better chance of being hired for the assignment.

Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Deborah A. Bailey is author of five books including, “Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life .” She's also the creator and host of Women Entrepreneurs Radio, a weekly internet talk show. For more information, visit

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