Looking for a job can easily become a full-time responsibility. And when writing your resume, you need to craft it appropriately for each open position. There are certain rules, of course: include your updated contact info, make certain it is readable and include the requisite career and education history.
You have to sell yourself on only a sheet (or two) of paper, so here are seven tips to help you create that perfect resume. Does anyone else hear Trump boasting, “You’re hired!”?
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Who wants to be like everyone else? I suppose if you are seeking a certain dress suit required corporate position, then maybe there is a particular “stuffy” model (and a severe loss of individuality). But for many industries, showing a bit of personality in your resume is a great way to stand out in the stack. Use design skills if you have them to structure a unique (but readable!) layout, or hire a professional to create a letterhead containing a logo based on your name. Write it as if you are applying to your dream job.
2. Action Words
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Think of your resume as a cause and effect. You do this by adding verbs that end in –ing (such as managing, increasing, resolving). When you list a job responsibility, ask yourself, why is this important? Yes, you may have managed 20 departmental employees… so? Sure, you completed so many tasks on a daily basis… and? What was the result of your management skills on your team? Did you increase productivity with the creation of a certain report? This is how the bulk of your accomplishments are listed.
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There is no place for little white lies on your resume. Ever. While it may get you in the door – and perhaps even hired – upon the realization of your fibbing, you will be fired. Adapting job titles to match your industry is acceptable, but never fudge on dates, employers, salaries or degrees obtained. Just stick to the facts, then edit according to the other tips listed.
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Keeping the length of a resume to a strict one-page format is a myth. And reducing the font to 8 points just to squeeze it all in, is just ridiculous. But, if you find your document becoming much longer than two, some editing is required. Cater your past experiences based on the position for which you are applying and remove anything that is over ten years old. If you have two pages worth of worthy experience, then by all means, flaunt it.
5. Use Bullets
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Paragraphs only have one place on your resume, and that is in your summary or objective section (I tend to sway more towards a summary, but that is your prerogative). Your work history should include significant responsibilities, roles and achievements – and don’t forget the cause and effect – in list form. Keep this as succinct as possible.
6. Use Numbers
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Job achievements need to be measurable, not just in numerical or historical order. Numbers can translate to sales or productivity goals, profit or efficiency percentages and increases or simply, average dollar amount of accounts you managed. A quantified result is the single best-understood factor within all that “creative language” used in your resume.
7. It’s Not All about You
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Potential employers need to know what you will do for them. So leave off personal info or motivations, like marital status, children, or anything political or “hot topic” conversation starters that could potentially nix the opportunity before you start. Think like a hiring manager. While there might be aspects of your life of which you are particularly proud, keep in mind that discrimination can (and does) occur – in many aspects not necessarily relative to age, sex and gender.
Remember to always spell check and have a friend, mentor or career counselor read your resume when completed. Hopefully some of these techniques can help your resume stand out from your competition. Have you heard any strict resume rules that you proved to be false or obsolete?
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