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How to Make your Resume Stand Out

It’s been said that you only get one chance to make a good first impression. People meeting you for the first time will make some type of judgment based upon your appearance, the circumstances of meeting and more. Just as this saying is true for a face to face meeting, it also goes for your resume as well. Potential employers will make a judgment about your skills and abilities based upon the first impression – which is more than likely your professional resume. That’s why it is so important to put a good bit of planning and thought into how you wish to be perceived through your resume.

When you begin to build your resume, there are some simple resume writing tips to keep in mind to help grab the employer’s attention and get you in the door for an interview. The whole purpose of creating a resume is to get to the next step – the interview, so as you start to build your resume, keep this objective in mind.

Basics, basics, basics

Nothing is worse than misspelled words or improper grammar. A professional resume must be just that – professional! In this instance, the devil is in the details, so haul out your old English books or do some research on common mistakes.

Check the final resume. Then – double check it. Then – find a few good friends or family members who will check it for you several more times.

Don’t just rely on spell-check. Some words are misused more often than not and the rules for use can be tricky. Do a little research on which version of the word you really should be using.

Is it principal or principle? The principal is the head of the high school. Do not use it to mean a fundamental.

Have you been “complemented” or “complimented”? Both words are spelled correctly, but when referring to someone who thought you did a great job, you want the one with the “i”.

Have you been “affective” or “effective”? If you have accomplished something, use the one which starts with the “e”.

Check capitalization, abbreviation, punctuation, plural words and titles.

You Have Less Than 30 Seconds!

After posting an open position, many managers are inundated with applications and resumes from all kinds of applicants. The majority of those resumes will be disposed of without any second look. This is why resume format is so important. When creating a resume, think of how it looks at first glance.

Your resume may showcase all of your accomplishments for the past 5 years, but if it doesn’t look impressive from that first initial scan, the manager may never read it. Some items of interest to check:

Check the white space. Do not fill up your resume with words, words and more words. Allow for space on each side of the page, the top and the bottom.

Fonts. Pick a font and stick with it. Don’t change from Times New Roman to Ariel to Comic Sans MS. However, you can and should use bold and/or italics for headings or to signify one or two items you wish to stand out.

Bullets. Bullets are a great way to cleanly and easily highlight items from a list. This could be an educational history or a list of pertinent skills, like computer languages for an IT programming job.

Market Yourself

Many people misunderstand the purpose of a resume. It is not a job application or a complete job history. It is a marketing tool to help you get an interview. This does not give the resume writer a license to fabricate their background, but it does give the writer some leeway in terms of creating a resume.

There are very few hard and fast rules that exist for resumes. They do not have to be one page only. They do not have to be chronological. Think if what is going to grab the employer’s attention and use that. For example, sales managers like to see accomplishments. Hospitals hiring doctors need to see education history.

Talk the same language. Show that you understand the market you’re trying to enter. The easiest way to do this is to scour the job boards and find out which buzzwords or phrases are commonly used and insert these, appropriately, into your resume.

Use versions. There’s no rule that states that one person must have one and only one resume. If there are several different types of industries or several types of positions you are targeting, create one specifically for each variation. An example is the accountant who may wish to have three separate resumes: one for a cost accounting position, one for a financial analyst position and one for an AR/AP manager.

How Can I Help You?

The employer is hiring because it needs somebody to do a job. The objective is extremely important because it should state, in a limited number of words, how you are the top candidate. What’s important about the objective is that you highlight one or two of your own skills or experience in one sentence that directly relate to the employer’s need.

Stand out in the crowd! If it sounds like a generic objective that could apply to anyone, delete it quickly! Objective that read like, “Seeking a challenging position where my skills will be utilized” are generic objectives. Make sure your section of the objective is specifically addressing how you personally can meet the employer’s needs.

One example of a good statement is “Sales manager with more than 10 years success in increasing profits seeking position in the automobile sales industry.” This resume objective is specific, targets the hiring company and shows how the individual would contribute. In this instance, using keywords or phrases directly from the job positing is good! It shows you’ve read the advertisement and understand what is wanted.

When writing a resume, remember that templates, generic and bland resumes will be overlooked and you will probably not get that interview. You must target your resume to the company and the position you are seeking and make your resume eye-catching and impressive.

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1 Comment

  1. kish

    when selling something, you have to be well aware of the product that you are selling. In job seeking you have to sell your skills, meaning you have to make possible employers believe what you are selling.. This is a great article! I believe that it has given a lot of helpful information also if you need additional info career confidential might be of help regarding extreme resume makeover.

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