One of the most difficult parts of re-entering the job market is modernizing your resume and making it relevant. On top of that, it needs to stand apart from the competition in an increasingly digital world.

Resume style trends are always changing, and it can be difficult to find that balance between eye-catching and garish. Here are some of the best ways to modernize your outdated resume and stand out in a crowd.


modern resume

Use an Industry-Specific Template

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when creating a resume. Rather than battling with columns and margins in a word processing application, use a premade template from a provider that has resume examples you can review. By doing so, you’ll get a better idea of what the completed product will look like.

Using an industry-specific template can offer a few benefits. It showcases what aspects you should include in your resume to appeal to hiring managers (such as a brief personal profile). Additionally, it gives you an opportunity to incorporate design features that are relevant to your industry. Whereas a corporate application may take on a minimalist approach, someone applying for a position in marketing and design can opt for something more colorful and creative.


Keep it Consistent and Use Text Breaks

While adding color and font variations can look modern, it’s easy to go overboard. Choose one or two fonts, rather than opting for multiple. Better yet, use one font that you will change slightly for a bigger impact, such as having all-caps or a different color for titles and italics for smaller details. Having too many fonts in addition to size and color variants becomes overwhelming and unattractive.

Text breaks are a great way to stand out to a hiring manager. White space attracts the human eye, and after going through lines and lines of text, seeing the use of blocks and lines can help a hiring manager look at your resume with fresh eyes. Again, it’s important not to overdo it. Look for a design that puts your contact information in a text block or divides your resume into easy-to-digest columns.


Add Social Media Links

It’s common knowledge that modern employers often refer to social media to get to know someone before calling for an interview. Show them that you have nothing to hide by adding your social media links, such as your Instagram and LinkedIn. This is a great feature for those who are trying to build a personal brand as they advance their career or people transitioning from self-employment into the job market.

As social media has become so prevalent, it’s time to let go of a previous resume trend: including a photo. As your future employer will likely be looking at your social media regardless, they’ll see what you look like before you walk in the door. Instead, opt for having your name bolded and eye-catching, with subtitles outlining some of your main experience touch points.


Forget the References

It’s still very important to have references who can speak to your character and work ethic. However, no one will be calling your references without first interviewing you. Therefore, references can take up valuable space on your resume, especially if you’re already showcasing ample work experience. Before you go in for an interview, have your references ready and printed out to hand to your employer.


Use Keywords and Role-Specific Jargon

Using keywords for SEO has become a significant focal point for modern businesses. The same effects are carrying over into hiring practices.

Pre-screening often takes place robotically, scanning for pertinent data before flagging applications for human review. Human pre-screeners are looking for specific terms that jump out. Find a way to bridge your experience with the qualifications listed on a job posting and include the keywords in the minutiae of the resume. This is especially critical as many organizations have different titles for what’s ultimately the same job.

By following these simple tips, you’ll be ready to enter the modern job market and stand out against the competition.