How to Write a Business Resume That Will Stand Out in 2018

What you need for a winning business resume:

You need a business resume that turns heads to get you in the door, here are the most important factors to keep in mind.

  • Make sure it’s the right length, especially if you’re applying for an executive position
  • Ensure it shows you have the specific skills and attributes mentioned in the job posting
  • The general tone should match that of the company (check their website to get a feel for this)
  • Write with the recruiter, HR professional, or whoever will read it in mind; they are your audience.
  • Be sure to include specific metrics wherever possible
  • Try as much as possible to show and not tell about who you are and what you can do

Ultimately, a successful business resume is about more than just the skills or experience offered. Much like with a recipe, you can have fantastic ingredients and put them together all wrong. You need the right balance between the personal and professional. You need to demonstrate culture fit and that you can deliver results. The best way to learn how to do this is to see others who’ve already succeeded. That’s why we’ve collaborated with all kinds of business professionals to learn what made their resumes so successful.

Best Business resume examples by users who got hired

How to write a business resume

Begin with the job description

You may begin the job application process thinking about how to portray yourself in the best possible way, but that’s counterintuitively not the right way to go about it. Don’t start with yourself, start with what the position asks for. Carefully read the job spec and make note of all of the skills and qualities it asks for. Also pay attention to the tone of the writing.
Armed with this information, work backwards in creating or adjusting your resume. Make sure your experience is framed to match what’s being asked for. Also ensure the tone of your resume matches that of the job spec. The ultimate goal is for the recruiter to see your resume as a near-perfect match for what they’re looking for.

Make it a One-Pager (with exceptions)

As mentioned above, never forget that the recruiter is your audience. Therefore, the question you must ask yourself is whether they will want to take the time to read a three page resume. If you’re applying for an executive position with a six-figure salary, then the answer is probably yes. If, however, you’re applying for a more entry level position, then the answer is almost certainly no. A good rule of thumb is one page for every 10 years of experience.
Just remember, this isn’t about you, it’s about the recruiter. So when you’re choosing what to include and what to cut, keep them in mind. You may lament not being able to mention a deal you struck, but if it isn’t relevant to your position and doesn’t add value to your resume in the eyes of the recruiter, then cut it.

Use concrete numbers whenever possible

Plenty of resumes go on about how things were “managed”, “improved”, or “optimized”. But the average recruiter doesn’t pay any attention to such generalities. However, mentioning that you “managed a team of 112 sales professions, improving average sale value by 35%” is sure to get their attention. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t mention any accomplishments not connected with a concrete number, but be aware that numbers like this are among the most powerful tools you have as an applicant.

Show, don’t tell

Related to the goal of using concrete numbers is the broader tactic of showing instead of telling. Don’t simply write that you’re a “team player”. Those kinds of buzzwords are strongly disliked by recruiters and best avoided. Instead, simply show that you possess those qualities by mentioning cases when you demonstrated them.

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Focus on what makes you unique

Lastly, when possible and appropriate, show who you are. Recruiters are more likely to remember a candidate who seemed like a real person with interests and personal aspects which made them unique. This can be including a compelling personal websiteor simply mentioning a passionate hobby. In fact, hobbies and passions can be a great place to demonstrate skills outside your 9-5. For example, if you’ve build a marketing podcast with a large and devoted following, that shows a level of dedication and entrepreneurship which any employer would be interested in.

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What 10 sections recruiters and hiring managers are looking for in a business resume

When it comes to writing your resume, here are 10 sections to keep in mind and how to address them. Just know that you don’t necessarily need them all, so choose wisely based on what the recruiter is looking for and what you have to offer.

1. Bio
2. Strengths
3. Experience
4. Uniqueness
5. Languages
6. Most proud of
7. Philosophy
8. Books
9. Contact information
10. Education

1. Your Bio

Besides your name, a short (a few words to a sentence) description of who you are and/or what your goal is can be very effective. The idea is that a section like this sets the stage for the rest of the resume. So, when your resume mentions some facts about you, the recruiter considers those facts in the context of your mission. This makes the rest of your resume that much more effective.

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2. Your Strengths

This is a great way to brag a little. You should be proving your abilities throughout your resume with concrete numbers, but here you can put a name to them. So maybe you’ve mentioned several areas where you’ve been a leader, so you can add it to your strengths to reinforce the point.

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3. Your Experience

This is the section which forms the heart of nearly any business resume. However, getting it right is trickier than it may seem. Be sure to include bullets showing the impact you had in each position and don’t list every job you’ve had going back to high school. The key here is to make tough choices and only include what a recruiter wants to see.

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4. Your Uniqueness

The “my time” section is an Enhancv exclusive and the perfect place to get creative. You can use it to show where you’ve focused your career, how you spent a typical day, or even how you would allocate your ideal investment portfolio.

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5. Your Languages

You may be thinking that speaking multiple languages isn’t relevant for your business career, but speaking at least one other languages increases your cognitive abilities and the likelihood you’ll get hired. So if you’re a real polyglot, it’s worth mentioning.

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6. What you’re most proud of

This is the perfect place to talk about something you think is amazing about yourself but which doesn’t fit neatly into any other resume section. Here, you can share an endearing story, talk about a time when you overcame significant hardship, or even make a recruiter laugh (if you think that would be effective in the context).

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7. Your philosophy

Do you have a core philosophy of business? A quote or basic idea which guides all of your decisions? Is Jack Welch your hero or are you a “move fast and break things” kind of person? This is the perfect place to mention it. This kind of information really tells a recruiter where you stand, whether you will fit into their company culture, and how you approach problems.

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8. Your favorite business books

Similar to a philosophy section, including the business books which have shaped your thinking is a quick way to help a recruiter understand you better. This can be an effective way to show that you can fit into a company culture and understand a company’s values.

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9. Your contact information

This may seem obvious, however, this is more complicated than it seems. Be sure to spent a minute thinking about how you’d like to be contacts and what type of information is best to include here.

10. Your education

While it becomes less relevant the older you become, most business applicants will still want to show their education. This is true even if you didn’t go to university. You can proudly proclaim that you made your success without the need to go the traditional route (if you think the recruiter will respond well to that).

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How to get a referral on LinkedIn for the business role you want

Perhaps the most effective thing you can do to improve your chances of getting hired is to get referred to a position. Referred employees are hired 60% of the time compared to everyone else who make it to an interview just 2% of the time. Needless to say, investing in the kind of personal connections and networks you need to get such a referral is invaluable.
So before you start applying, be sure to check your 1st and 2nd degree contacts in both LinkedIn and in any other relevant groups you may belong to. If you don’t have strong connections in the industry you’re looking to establish yourself in, start making them now!
Check out our complete guide to getting job referrals for more actionable tips.

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