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Your resume remains one of the most important components of your job search. A well-written resume that gives the employer an accurate view of your skills will help you stand out from the crowd and land you an interview for that dream job. Here are a few tips to help you get started!

Use effective keywords. Compare your resume with the job description in the ad. Use keywords and phrases from within the job description (within reason—they need to actually apply to you!) in order to appear as a more relevant candidate. You don’t want to overload your resume with keywords, but using language similar to the description can certainly make you stand out.

Focus your resume. Don’t include anything that isn’t directly related to the job at hand. You don’t need to include an objective statement or information on an irrelevant job you held 10 years ago.

Follow all directions listed in the job ad. Some applicant tracking system software only recognizes specific document formats, so even though your PDF version looks awesome, it may come out looking differently on the other end. If the ad asks for a specific Word format, save your resume in that format before you submit it.

Check your spelling. Keywords don’t matter if they are misspelled! Check your spelling and grammar thoroughly before submitting your resume. Send it to a friend for review, put it in Word and run spell check, or print it and read it aloud to catch any errors.

Keep it neat and simple. Don’t include pictures, graphics, or any other unnecessary formatting. While it might make your resume look pretty, the employer’s software system might not like it, thereby lowering your chances at landing an interview. Be sure to put the most important information first, use bullet points and limit yourself to 1 or 2 pages.

Include abbreviations. However, it’s also important you include the non-abbreviated terms. Although you know what the abbreviation stands for, the person reading your resume might not.

Explain transitions between jobs. If you have gaps in employment or an array of short-lived positions, prepare to explain why. If you have worked on several contracts in sequence, describe the purpose and duration of each.

Use action verbs. A very common advice to job seekers is to use action verbs. But what are they? Action verbs indicate the performance of an action and clearly communicate your experience and achievements to the employer.

Numbers are your friend. If you are going to describe your past professional achievements, it is a good idea to make them quantifiable. If you increased the annual revenues in your department, be specific by adding a percentage or dollar figure.

No jargon or slang. Slang should never be present in a resume. As for technical jargon, do not assume that the employer will know what you are talking about. Even if you are sending your resume to a company in the same industry, the person reading it for the first time might not have any technical expertise.


Image credit: Resume Hack

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One Comment

  1. Avatar Kerry
    Posted November 2, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Hey, you stated in a much more direct way what I was trying to communicate, thanks, I will recommend your site to my friends.

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