Simple ways to stand out

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Your resume is often the first and sometimes only thing a prospective employer looks at when deciding whether or not to interview you face-to-face. Smart job seekers understand how important it is for resumes to make good impressions, since most hiring managers spend mere seconds assessing this document.

That's why it's important to find the right balance of information: You want to put enough to prove that you're qualified, but you don't want to bore the hiring manager with pages of useless bullet points and details.

If you want to spruce up your existing resume to compete in the job market, Business News Daily rounded up some of the best expert resume tips to help you land an interview.

Create a striking visual

Create a striking visual
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When creating your resume, avoid dull and tacky formatting. Go with a design that's pleasing to the eyes but also functional. In an interview with Business News Daily, Veronica Yao, a former recruiter and current marketing manager at HigherMe, stressed your resume should be readable and logically structured.

"Think about the way a hiring manager would read your resume – starting at the top and ending at the bottom," she said. "However, if they don't finish reading the whole thing – and they often don't – you still want to ensure your strongest points come across."

Craft a career snapshot

Craft a career snapshot
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More recently, career experts have urged job seekers to do away with the old "objective" statement and instead include a brief summary, called a "career snapshot," at the top of their resume.

"With the career snapshot, you present a branding statement that briefly explains your unique value as well as your skills and qualifications. This would then be followed by a few bullet points that highlight your experience and your accomplishments," said Tomer Sade, CEO of Wise Data Media. "Whatever you list here should be relevant to the position you're applying to."

"The top third of your resume is prime resume real estate," added Lisa Rangel, an executive resume writer and official LinkedIn moderator at Chameleon Resumes. "Create a robust summary to capture the hiring manager's eye."

Optimize your text

Optimize your text
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If a company uses an applicant tracking system (ATS) to collect and scan resumes, a human hiring manager may not ever even glance at your application if it doesn't fit the job criteria they've entered. Trish O'Brien, vice president of human resources at Caliper, emphasized adapting your resume to the position to increase your likelihood of passing the first level.

"Make sure you've carefully reviewed the posting and ... [used] the appropriate keywords in your resume to get past the screener," O'Brien said. "Be truthful, but understand that the first pass on your resume is likely via an ATS."

"Customize your resume for every single job application," added Dana Locke, certified professional resume writer (CPRW) and manager of the resume and research departments at Impact Group.

Think beyond your job duties

Think beyond your job duties
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Hiring managers don't want to read a list of your daily routine. They want concrete examples of the accomplishments you've made in previous positions. Rangel noted that listing specific merits, rather than just your experiences, is more engaging to read. For example, "I have reduced operating expenses by 23 percent in six months" is far more interesting to an employer than "I have 30 years of sales experience," as Rangel said.

Similarly, Cheryl Hyatt, CEO of Hyatt-Fennell Executive Search, advised including any promotions or recognitions you've received since your last resume update.

"Integrate recent achievements and awards into the existing format," Hyatt said. "Conversely, it may be time to trim off items you listed previously that are no longer relevant to your focus."

You shouldn't ignore your skills section either. Sade reminded job seekers to list any industry-relevant apps or programs they're familiar with, as well as find ways to incorporate examples of their soft skills (e.g., work ethic, multitasking, reliability) into their job descriptions.

Use the right language stand out

Use the right language stand out
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Trite, lackluster descriptions of your job duties and accomplishments won't do you any favors when you're writing a resume. Make sure you're using strong, action-oriented words like "achieved," "created," "improved" and "managed" to describe your roles and projects, said Sade. This, he said, will make you sound confident while still imparting vital information.

"Words such as 'professional,' 'results-driven' and 'detail-oriented' provide very little helpful information," Sade told Business News Daily. "It's better to use actual job titles than these words."

Diya Obeid, founder and CEO of applicant tracking software JobDiva, agreed, noting that you should remove buzzwords like "best of breed," "go-getter," "team player" and "go-to person" from your resume.

List your social media profiles

List your social media profiles
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Many hiring managers today search for potential candidates on social networks. Save them a step by providing your profile links on your resume. Seasoned applicants with an existing professional social presence would do well to include URLs for their LinkedIn profile, Twitter account and blog, if applicable.

"If, and only if, your social media accounts are filled with professional posts pertaining to your industry, listing them on your resume can be advantageous," said Richie Frieman, author of "Reply All … and Other Ways to Tank Your Career" (St. Martin's Griffin, 2013). "They can show you have a strong network and are up to speed with modern-day marketing and communications practices. The hiring manager will see that you like to keep up with what's happening, and that you care about learning more."

Check for errors

Check for errors
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Triple-check your own work, and then have someone else look over your resume to ensure it's 100 percent clean. There's no room for sloppiness on your resume, said Obeid – a hiring manager might automatically dismiss your application if they spot a typo or grammatical error.

"Make sure it's error-free and easy to read. HR reps equate typos and errors with laziness," Obeid said. "Use good English – the written word has a huge impact on the employer."

However, typos aren't the only type of mistakes to watch out for.

"Candidates often submit applications addressed to the wrong employer or even outline irrelevant experience to the role," explained Yao. "Most employers are realistic about that fact that you've likely applied to other jobs, but they are looking for evidence that you are seriously interested in the role and care enough to put something cohesive together. Receiving a resume that's crafted and addressed to someone else (or worse, a competitor) can be a huge turnoff and will set a negative tone even if they do choose to continue reading your applications."

Additional reporting by Nicole Fallon. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.