As a recruiter I have seen thousands of resumes over my career. For each career level, from student intern to rainmaking partner, there are specific nuances that make winning resumes stick out. However, at all levels, winning resumes demonstrate three criteria:
No mistakes. This means no typos, no spelling errors, and no grammatical mistakes. Watch out for homonyms that won’t get caught by a simple spell-check. You don’t “meat” clients (hopefully!). Check proper names for exact spelling (e.g., PowerPoint, not Powerpoint or Power Point).
Quantitative results. If you sold a business, how much in revenues exactly? If you cut costs, by how much in dollars or %? If you managed a division, how large by number of staff or budget or both? Even non-profits or public sector jobs have tangible metrics. If you solicited grants, how much did you raise? If you organized a conference, how big was the audience, budget, participant list?
Compelling career progression. The resume should tell your story, and the ideal career story has a successful ending. Your most recent job should be the peak of your career to date. Your past jobs should show an upward trajectory, in terms of responsibility and/ or expertise. Of course, those starting out may have only junior jobs on the resume, but each successive job should show growth in some area.