Stand Out from the Crowd

Stand out from the crowd
June 17, 2016

A resume is required for most jobs. Employers will review your resume to get a summary of your education and work experience. It is a critical document, because it is used to determine if you will get an interview. It provides a first impression of your skills and abilities. That means it needs to be as perfect as possible.

Resumes that make a great first impression...

  • Use a format that best highlights your education and work experience.
  • Are customized for each job using keywords from job description.
  • Highlight technical and soft skills using action words and a positive tone.
  • Include credentials and certifications.
  • Use information that is accurate and up-to-date.
  • Are free from errors.​

Select a Format


  • Functional - Highlights skills and accomplishments. This is best for people with little work experience, or those with gaps in employment.
  • Chronological - Outlines educational and work experience in a time line.
  • Combination - Combines some of the features of functional and chronological resumes. It highlights skills and experiences as well as a brief job history.


  • Header - Include your name and contact information.
  • Objective - Put together a couple of lines that summarize the job that you are applying for and what you can bring to the position.
  • Experience - Show that you have experience with being responsible and working with others. This section usually includes employment dates, organization name, job title, and a brief description to show the skills you used in the position and how you added value to the organization.
  • Education and Relevant Coursework - Show that you have completed training to prepare for the job.  This section usually includes the training provider name, location, your degree(s), and dates.
  • Associations/Memberships - Show how you are involved in your community and/or industry. Include all positions that you held.
  • Certifications/Licenses - Show that you have evidence of knowledge and skills. Only include those items that are relevant to the job for which you are applying.

Add Skills and Experience

When you list your experience, highlight your skills using:

  • Action words
  • Keywords from the job description, and
  • Industry terms

You can include skills that you have developed through your past work history, volunteering, groups you belong to, or school activities.

Present your skills and experience in a way that shows you added value to the organization or group. Employers want people who will help achieve their mission. Show employers that you understand their needs and that you can help them reach their goals.

Market your skills and abilities based on the specific job.

  • Are you clearly overqualified for the job? You may want to consider removing some information so the employer does not wonder why you are applying for a lesser job.
  • If you are qualified for the job, highlight more than just your technical and academic skills. Showcase your workplace "soft skills." Employers need people who show they have a great work ethic and positive attitude.

Overall, make sure you:

  • Are honest about your skills.
  • Show that you have the academic, technical and soft skills to be successful in the job.

Get Started

Login to your Illinois workNet account to access the Resume Builder and your resumes anytime from your dashboard! You can also find additional sample resumes here.

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