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How to Nail Your Dream Job with an Impressive Resume

How to Nail Your Dream Job with an Impressive Resume

Stuck in a job rut nightmare? It’s never too late to dig yourself out. And an all-star resume might just be the shovel you need.

Picture this: You finally get the chance to apply for your dream job. You already know what you’re going to wear to the interview. You’ve envisioned which pictures to hang in your office, and how you plan to decorate your desk. You just know that once they meet you in person, they won’t be able to say “No.”

But before you can sell yourself in person, you have to rely on your resume to do the initial talking.

And just the sheer mention of the “R” word has you cringing.

It can be difficult, especially for personable people, to describe their life’s work on a piece of paper. But these 10 resume tips can land you the breakout interview you’ve been working for. That dream job will be as good as yours.

1. Make your resume interactive.

You can add interactive resume links to your social media profiles, like LinkedIn, and examples of your work to give the hiring manager extra opportunities to explore your strong points. However, make sure you test every feature before you send your resume.

2. Take advantage of formatting tools to help important content stand out.

You can use different font sizes, bolded or italicized words to highlight important information, like this example:

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    But don’t overdo it. Using formatting is supposed to help the recruiter find information easier, but using the wrong formatting can complicate your resume, like in this example:

      3. Learn how to utilize your real estate effectively.

      You only get one page (two, tops) to show your stuff, so you need to use it wisely. But instead of sacrificing font size or cramming text into every white space, try decreasing your margins, and minimizing the size of blank lines between content.

      For instance, you might choose to use an 11-point font for your content, but you can change the blank lines in between sections to an 8-point font without your text becoming cluttered or unreadable.

      Also remember to use enough white space and minimize text on the page for easy searchability. You can do this by replacing long words with short ones (bigger isn’t better in this case), and writing phrases instead of complete sentences.

      4. Empower a keyword strategy.

      Recruiters typically scan resumes for certain criteria, and using action words early on in your resume can help to spark their interest:

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      • Utilized
      • Developed
      • Managed
      • Led
      • Designed
      • Initiated
      • Taught

      Front load these keywords in your job duties and accomplishments so the recruiter won’t be able to miss them.

      5. Don’t overdo it on design work.

      Sure, you want your resume to look nice (at least nice enough to catch their attention), but the content within will ultimately land you in the Yes or No stack.

      Hiring managers are used to a standard (if boring) format. It helps them find the information they want to know quickly. Differentiating yourself from the stack may help get you noticed, but no recruiter wants to spend extra time searching for key findings in your reinvented resume because your design skills got in the way.

      Here’s an example of how a nice-looking resume’s design confuses the content:

        Yes, it gets attention. But will it get an interview? Perhaps for a design job. Probably not for any other job.

        6. Your skills and job expertise should reflect how you can do the job you are applying for, not how you did your previous job.

        It’s important to recruiters how you performed in your previous jobs, but it’s even more important to forecast how you might perform if you’re offered the job.

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        No, this doesn’t mean creating a brand new resume from scratch each time you apply to a job. But it does mean you should make a few tweaks to tailor your resume to each job you apply for.

        7. Include the same language of the job posting into your resume.

        Nowadays, your resume will go through a computer scanner before it ever reaches human eyes. These scanners are searching for keywords and information: if yours has it, you might move on to the next step.

        Start by looking for clues in the job description. Add their language verbatim into your resume to ensure your skills match their requirements. This could mean the difference of an actual person seeing your resume, or having your digital resume hang out in eternal cyberspace.

        8. Put your strongest qualities at the top.

        Oftentimes recruiters will not read your resume word for word as they decide to move forward with interviews. If you want certain information to get noticed, it’s best to put it first.

        Start by listing your most relevant duties at the top of each job on your resume. These should be the specific items also listed in the job description. Also, make sure you are only including the most important information, rather than every single duty you can think of. You’ve got limited space and time to make an impression, so put your best foot (and only your best foot) forward.

        9. Be specific in listing your achievements.

        Details tell the story that recruiters want to know about you, so make sure you’re giving them a clear picture of what you’re worth. For instance, instead of listing things like

        • Promoted to shift manager
        • Problem solver
        • Self-directed

        you could say

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        • Managed a team of 7 employees after promotion to shift manager
        • Solved a shipping problem that saved $5,000 a year in materials
        • Initiated a company-wide account review that generated $6,000 in annual revenue

        10. Only talk about skills that pertain to the job.

        Listing irrelevant hobbies or skills that might not carry over to the job you’re applying for is a blatant waste of real estate on your resume. Yet many folks continue to include useless information as page fillers.

        For example, if you are applying for an office job, don’t waste time talking about how you maintained the office appearance, or made fresh coffee daily, or ordered office supplies. These things are either assumed, capable of anybody, or don’t matter.

        Instead, you could talk about how many clients or employees you managed, how you initiated a new process that boosted efficiency, or a mistake you caught that saved the company some money. This is your chance to talk about the things that differentiate you from other applicants.

        You don’t have to be an excellent writer to write an excellent resume!

        Use these 10 resume tips as your starting block to help you finish the job race and you’ll emerge with the dream job you know you deserve.

        Featured photo credit: Flaticon via flaticon.com

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        Last Updated on August 16, 2018

        16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

        16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

        The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

        How about a unique spin on things?

        These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

        1. Empty your mind.

        It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

        Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

        Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

        Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

        How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

        2. Keep certain days clear.

        Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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        This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

        3. Prioritize your work.

        Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

        Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

        Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

        How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

        4. Chop up your time.

        Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

        5. Have a thinking position.

        Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

        What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

        6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

        To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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        Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

        7. Don’t try to do too much.

        OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

        8. Have a daily action plan.

        Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

        Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

        9. Do your most dreaded project first.

        Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

        10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

        The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

        11. Have a place devoted to work.

        If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

        But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

        Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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        Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

        12. Find your golden hour.

        You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

        Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

        Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

        Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

        13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

        It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

        By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

        Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

        14. Never stop.

        Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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        Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

        There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

        15. Be in tune with your body.

        Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

        16. Try different methods.

        Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

        It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

        Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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