Enhancing Your Resume: Sound Better to Employers

What are the secrets to learning how to sound impressive on a resume?

Today’s employers often need to sift through dozens or even hundreds of applications to find a handful of candidates they want to interview. If your resume is dull and uninspiring, you’ll never stand out from the crowd. That’s why it’s important to know how to sound impressive on your resume. Without the right strategy, however, that can be easier said than done!

In this guide, we’ll explain the benefits you can enjoy when you learn how to sound impressive on your resume, explore tips that can make your resume details more compelling, and provide some examples that show you how to turn boring information into a more dynamic and interesting presentation.

Why does your resume need to be impressive?

If you’ve ever struggled to gain traction in your job search and have been disappointed in the number of interviews you’ve received, chances are your resume isn’t making the right impression on employers. The good news is you can change that dynamic by learning how to sound impressive on your resume. If you can accomplish that feat, you’ll enjoy a whole host of benefits, including:

Separating yourself from the competition

When you learn how to sound impressive on a resume, you can immediately differentiate yourself from candidates who are still relying on dusty old resume habits from yesteryear. While other job seekers are focused on dry lists of job roles and skills, you’ll be emphasizing the key qualities and achievements today’s employers expect to see from top candidates.

Establishing yourself as a professional and expert in your field

With a clear and concise resume that delivers compelling content to highlight your qualifications, you can demonstrate you’re the professional hiring managers are looking for. Conveying skills, experience, and achievements in a compelling way can help to prove you’re an expert in your field who can provide real benefits to any team.

Highlight your skills and potential value as an employee

The key here is “value.” Ultimately, all employers are looking for candidates who can bring value to their organization – which is why those boring resumes no longer resonate with hiring managers. When an employer picks up your resume, they have one main question in mind: “What can this candidate do for my company?” 

By learning how to sound impressive on a resume, you can help that employer see your unique value proposition and inspire them to invite you for an interview.

Tips to help you learn how to sound impressive in your resume

Now that we’ve explained why it’s so important to know how to sound impressive on a resume, it’s time to explore some of the best ways to achieve that goal. The following tips can help you bolster your resume to create a truly compelling document that makes the right impression on employers.

Tailor your resume to the job

When you’re trying to figure out how to sound impressive on your resume, start by reviewing the job description for the position you’re seeking. The job posting will typically include specific skills and experiences the employer expects great candidates to bring to the job. The words they use to describe those qualifications are keywords you should add to your resume.

If the job description calls for project management experience, make sure you include those exact words in your resume – either in your skill section or in one of the bullet point achievements you list in your work experience section. Including those keywords can help you speak directly to the employer’s needs, which will help you stand out from the competition.

As an added bonus, the inclusion of those specific keywords will also help your resume satisfy any applicant tracking system the employer is using. Those systems scan for unique keywords related to skills, educational credentials, and experience. If your resume fails to get past those ATS screenings, chances are the employer will never get a chance to see it.

Related reading: How to Make an ATS-Friendly Resume – Tips for ATS 2024

Create a compelling skills section

If you’ve only been listing a few key skills in your resume, it’s time to focus on revamping your Core Competencies section. The most effective resumes list anywhere from nine to fifteen skills in that section – including a balanced mix of both hard and soft skills. You should always start by identifying any required skills in the job description and then add other relevant skills to round out your list. You don’t need to include everything you know how to do, but you should make sure your skill list demonstrates your expertise.

Related reading: What Are Skills? (With Examples and Tips on How to Improve Them)

Use powerful verbs to describe achievements

It’s also important to use powerful verbs when you’re describing your achievements. Never use boring terms like “responsible for” or “led” – hiring managers’ eyes will often glaze over when they read that type of dull language. Instead, use more powerful and descriptive words like:

  • Spearheaded

  • Implemented

  • Facilitated

  • Designed

  • Created

  • Revamped

  • Revolutionized

  • Accelerated

  • Boosted

  • Reconciled

  • Reorganized

We’ve compiled a list of more than one hundred of these power words that can help you sound more impressive to employers. Before you finalize your resume, make sure you check out that list and see which ones will work for you:

Related reading: 100 + Keywords, Verbs and Action Words for Your Resume

Focus on value

This is probably the single most important tip for anyone who wants to learn how to sound impressive on a resume: emphasize your value. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should use your resume to boast about yourself or describe yourself as a valuable asset. Instead, you need to include examples of accomplishments that demonstrate your value.

The key here is to create bullet point achievement examples for each job title you include in your work experience section. Describe those accomplishments using real numbers that prove the type of value you can provide to any employer who’s savvy enough to offer you a job. For example:

  • Reorganized sales funnel process, reducing customer acquisition and onboarding time by 33%, contributing to 27% boost in sales volume and 21% increase in profitability

  • Designed and executed marketing campaign for online rebranding of ABC Corp., doubling customer engagement and increasing online sales revenue by 42%

In each of those examples, the candidate expresses value by highlighting specific achievements that demonstrate how they used their skills and expertise to create tangible and quantifiable results for their employer. By incorporating that strategy into your resume, you can more effectively highlight your potential value as an employee by demonstrating your proven track record of success.

Related reading: 47 Accomplishment Examples for Your Resume: Expert Picks

Weave testimonials into your resume

Have you been recognized for a major achievement? Have supervisors praised you for your innovation, problem-solving, or leadership abilities? You can add testimonials like that to your resume, too – but only if you know how to do it the right way. The key is to include that testimonial in one of your bullet points. For example:

“Received company praise and promotion for my proven ability to provide innovative solutions that consistently boosted productivity and profits.”

Eliminate or explain employment gaps

While most employers understand that even the most talented individuals may have some employment gaps in their work history, it doesn’t hurt to minimize those gaps as much as possible. There are some effective ways to do this without resorting to dishonest means. 

For example, if you have six months of unemployment between two jobs, you can close that gap by listing any skill development, freelance jobs, or volunteer work you did during that time period.

Create a stellar profile summary

Once you’ve completed the main sections of your resume, go back and draft a truly compelling profile summary statement. This should be a three to five-sentence paragraph that highlights your years of experience, job title, notable skills, and an attention-grabbing achievement. This summary should be placed near the top of your resume – below your resume headline and above your core competencies section. Use power words, several keywords from the job description, and real numbers to quantify your accomplishments.

Related reading: Resume Profile Explained (with Examples)

Learn how to sound impressive on a resume and land more interviews!

The job market is more competitive than ever before, and it’s vital to stand out from the competition if you want employers to take notice of your qualifications. By learning how to sound impressive on a resume, you can create a more tailored and compelling resume document that speaks to each employer’s needs. That can help capture their attention and increase the odds you’ll be offered an interview opportunity.

Need more help learning how to sound impressive on a resume? Our team of resume experts is always available to provide the insight and assistance you need. Get your free resume review today!

This article was originally written by Rachel Fletcher. It’s been updated by Ken Chase.

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