Omega Phi Alpha National Service Sorority is excited to partner with Vivian Chen, founder & CEO of Heyo and Rise. Her work in career development and personal branding have been recognized in Forbes, Business Insider, Fast Company, and more. Vivian is providing great career content for our members. We encourage you to visit Rise and set up a free account. 

*This post is part 2 of 3 of an article that originally appeared on HeYo on February 3, 2023. Check out this post and more content at

Part II: 9 Foundational Tips

Ready to sit down and write your resume? These foundational tips will help you understand what hiring managers want, create a compelling narrative, and make your resume just a little bit better than everyone else’s. 

1. Find Out What Hiring Managers Want 

Imagine you’re a hiring manager. Every day, you get possibly hundreds of resumes, and each resume looks the same. What do you want? A resume that’s scannable, easy to read, and compelling. Create an outline for your resume. Then, start building a compelling narrative around the facts. Show, don’t tell. And don’t leave out irrelevant experiences or details. 

2. Create a Compelling Narrative 

If you’ve worked for a big brand name, the name itself paints a picture.  But if your past experiences were at companies that aren’t so well known, don’t forget to include a sentence about what the company does, what you did for the company, and why a hiring manager should care. 

3. Make Your Resume Readable 

Don’t list your experience as endless walls of text and bullet points. We get it, there’s so much to say and so little space to say it! Just don’t forget that this needs to be readable. 

Katelyn Richards, Career Coach and Personal Brand Strategist, says, “Your formatting matters almost as much as your content does (although content is still king!) You’ve got about six seconds to draw the reader in, and the best way to do it is by making your resume super easy to digest. Remember that white space is your friend, have clearly defined headers & sections, and use bold, italics, or differently shaded colors to help words stand out and pop!” 

4. Write and Rewrite Your Resume 

If you’re trying to transition careers or break into a new industry, you may need to apply for several different positions.

  • Create different variations of your resume that include different skill sets for each position you’re applying for. 
  • Creating several variations will help you hone your skillset on each version — this way, you’ll save space by not listing every role you’ve ever held. 
  • Focus on what you bring to the table for each role, and don’t forget to fill in time gaps if you omit irrelevant roles.

5. Quantify Accomplishments/Results

 Not just job duties.  And don’t consider quantifiable accomplishments and results as “numbers”. Again, show, don’t tell here. Be as specific as possible.  Gladys Ng Kai Xin, Resume Writer and Interview Coach, says, “The most common phrase I see on resumes is ‘Responsible For’. Everyone is responsible for something at work. It’s a given. As such, highlighting what you’re ‘responsible for’ on your resume doesn’t help you stand out. To generate more interest in your resume, quit saying that you were ‘responsible for’ a project, team or task and instead jump straight into using strong action verbs to highlight your achievements.” 

If you work in customer service, how many customers did you help each month, week, shift, etc? If you work in design, how many people use your product? Show your impact, paint a picture in people’s minds.

Jessica Hernandez, Executive Resume Writer, also emphasized the importance of quantifying your impact. “Instead of ‘demonstrated success in’ or ‘proven results,’ show the employer the results using data, numbers, and metrics. You can do this by writing bulleted statements about your accomplishments using the C.A.R. formula. C.A.R. stands for Challenge, Action, Result”  

6. List Relevant Skills

 Wondering why you are not getting interviews? Studies show hiring managers spend on average 7.4 seconds reviewing each resume. Which means you have less than 10 seconds to make your case. You need glanceable skills sections that are easy to scan, so hiring managers can quickly gauge what you bring to the table.

Skills to include: 

  • Listed required skills 
  • Software or tools 
  • Pertain to the roles 

Don’t forget to include proof points to back up your claims. You’ll need to show that you indeed possess these skills, too. 

7. Keep Your Interests Interesting 

This is one of the few bits of real estate where you can add a bit of personality, so take advantage of it. However, don’t just list generic things like “travel” or “sports”, everyone likes those, make it a conversation piece, something people will want to ask you about during an interview.

Specificity is the key here, instead of “travel” can you be more descriptive, something like “Backpacking across Bali” because the time you spent in Bali chasing the best waves on your surfboard shows that you are a challenge-seeker. Instead of just “sports” tell us what kind of sport, maybe “competitive rock climbing” or “scuba diving”. Connect the interest to a job skill (if possible). And above all else, make it interesting. 8. Use Objectives Subjectively You have limited real estate space on your resume, and hiring managers get it: your objective is to find a job.  Objectives aren’t necessary anymore. But if you really feel that yours will help you stand out, don’t take up space with it on your resume. Include it in your cover letter. It’s an added bonus if your objective shows what you can provide potential employers. 9. Link to External Sites One benefit to online resumes is that you can link to external sites to offer a more holistic view of who you are, your experiences, skills, and even past work samples.  You can link to your portfolio, social media (if it’s relevant), or a Heyo profile to wow employers with your unique professional brand.

Keeping your resume short and to the point is essential, and linking to an online portfolio offers you another way to expand on your professional experience, show off past projects, and include more ways for a recruiter to get to know you.

You should showcase your most successful work, relevant awards, industry references, work samples, and volunteer experience.

Also, don’t be scared to show your personality: information like hobbies, interests, or stories from your travels show your human side and why you’d be a fun person to work with.

Finally, don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of setting up your own website to house a portfolio.

There are plenty of tools to help you do this more easily.

Mac Prichard

Host, Find Your Dream Job Career Podcast