Résumés are par for the course in any job application process. They're the critical pieces of paper (or, let's be honest, PDF files) that get you past the screening stage of the job search process to the interview phase where you can speak to your skills in person. In short, the stakes for crafting a concise, compelling, and carefully curated résumé are high.
Given the cachet this document carries, we turned to LinkedIn career expert Blair Decembrele for tried-and-true tips on to how to make your résumé stand out. From using relevant industry buzzwords and listing "soft" skills to showcasing volunteer experience, these are the five attention-grabbing qualities that will ensure your résumé impresses recruiters. Ready to polish up your résumé? Keep scrolling for Decembrele's expert advice.
They Take Stock of Their Skills
"Professionals today are not just in it for the title—almost 90% (89%) feel that skills are even more important than job titles," explains Decembrele. To craft a compelling résumé that stands out from the crowd, she recommends using LinkedIn's Resume Assistant to identify the most desired skills in your field.
This tool "helps get your creative juices flowing by showing you examples of how real people—professionals in the fields you're interested in—describe their work experience and skills," she explains. "Use these examples as inspiration to frame your own personal experiences and shine a spotlight on your unique set of skills," Decembrele recommends.
They Incorporate Relevant Industry Buzzwords in Moderation
When you're finessing your résumé, it's easy to lean on industry buzzwords to advertise your skills, but how do you know if you're overdoing it? "While there's no hard and fast rule for how many buzzwords you should or shouldn't include within your profile, it's all about moderation," advises Decembrele. "LinkedIn's annual buzzwords list highlights the top words showing up on LinkedIn profiles nationwide." Swap out some of these go-to terms to ensure your résumé stands out, she suggests.
Rather than relying on these popular phrases to simply state your skills, Decembrele recommends incorporating concrete examples that actually demonstrate these skills to recruiters. "If you're including buzzwords on your profile, it's important to back these words up with examples to paint the best picture of who you are as a professional," she points out. "For example, rather than just stating that you're a 'skilled engineer,' highlight the specific programs you use along with past projects you've worked on that best showcase your expertise in the industry," she explains.
They List "Soft" Skills
While hard skills—the teachable, measurable abilities you possess like the ability to create pivot tables in Excel—are valuable, Decembrele points to data that suggests employers are much more interested in a prospective employee's learned skills: "57% of leaders say soft skills, such as communication, organization, and, teamwork, are more important than hard skills," she says.
By definition, soft skills are less tangible than hard skills, so you'll need to rely on real-world examples to grab a recruiter's attention. "Demonstrate your unique value by highlighting how you have exemplified these in-demand traits," Decembrele advises. "For example, explain how you are adaptable and collaborative in a work environment, what makes you a natural team player, why punctuality is your claim to fame."
They Showcase Volunteer Experience
You'd be remiss if you overlooked your volunteer experience, as it might just be the thing that sets you apart from the other applicants. "Forty-one percent of recruiters consider volunteer experience equally as valuable as paid experience when evaluating candidates," according to Decembrele. "Highlighting your volunteer experience and passion projects is a great way to round out your professional identity."
They Don't Lie About Previous Experience
What's the number one mistake people make on their résumés? Lying, answers Decembrele without hesitation. "A recent LinkedIn study found that more than half (52%) of hiring managers have turned down a candidate for lying about their previous experience," she says. "Remove the temptation to stretch the truth, and instead showcase your experience in a way that highlights your accomplishments, value, and the skills you've learned along the way."
Up next, the top reason people fail to land job interviews, according to a career coach.