Your resume is the first point of contact a potential employer has with you. So, it needs to be of the highest quality possible. There are six things you can do to ensure that it catches employers’ eyes and gives you a competitive edge as a candidate.
1) Keep your resume simple in format, font, and design. The easier to read, the better. While one might think using different colors and fonts will make you stand out from the crowd, it can actually be distracting and divert the focus away from your skills and experiences. When crafting a resume, design it so it can easily be skimmed by hiring managers.
2) Be sure to customize your resume for the job to which you are applying. This means making sure the job title is noted in your objective and being sure to include key words that will demonstrate you have the skills noted in the job description. Moreover, this may mean tailoring which of your previous jobs you choose to include, as you will want to include primarily the experiences that are relevant to the current position for which you are applying.
3) Use reverse chronological order to list your previous experiences. In most cases, this old standard format is still your best bet. It presents a clear, easy-to-follow picture of what you have been up to in your last few jobs and is also very transparent.
4) Rather than just providing a summary of your duties, be sure to work in some “power verbs” to demonstrate what you accomplished while at each of your previous jobs. Words such as “initiated,” “managed,” “launched,” “delivered,” and “upgraded” will allow you to come from a place of strength and create a sense of urgency. Additionally, such words will demonstrate that you are a unique individual, not merely a job description and a list of duties, and that you took charge and brought positive change to each position you held at each company.
5) Keep your resume focused and concise. Avoid filler and fluff. Time is of the essence, and employers and recruiters sift through many resumes a day. Getting your point across in the shortest amount of time is invaluable. One to two pages is the ideal length.
6) Proofread! Do not rely on spell check to catch all errors. Make sure you thoroughly proofread your resume multiple times for grammatical and spelling mistakes. Furthermore, it is best to have another pair of eyes (or two) go over your resume to see how it appears. It may also be wise to ask others for their “first impression” of your resume, and then edit accordingly.
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