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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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        Freelance Writer and Marketing Consultant

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        Last Updated on June 18, 2019

        The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

        The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

        No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

        Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

        Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

        A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

        Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

        In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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        From Making Reminders to Building Habits

        A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

        For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

        This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

        The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

        That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

        Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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        The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

        Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

        But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

        The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

        The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

        A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

        For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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        But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

        If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

        For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

        These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

        For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

        How to Make a Reminder Works for You

        Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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        Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

        Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

        My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

        Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

        I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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