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24 Practical Tips To Make Your Résumé Perfect

24 Practical Tips To Make Your Résumé Perfect

This worksheet was designed by an attorney* to serve as a guide toward the design, structure, content, and delivery of a modern résumé. To enhance your learning experience, please read the worksheet in its entirety prior to applying these instructions to your own résumé and/or life experience (henceforth, referred to simply as, “Résumé”).

1. Start with a Decent Template

Here are a few sites to download résumé templates:

Microsoft: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/results.aspx?ctags=CT010144894

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1aIYgnE

Word and PDF: http://www.resumetemplates.com/

Resume.pdf.lifehack.versabilityjpg
    No Johns were hurt in the making of this Lifehack…

     

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    2. Trust the Template

    They were designed by professionals, and professionals like working with other professionals who listen to them…so, no…no, we’re not interested in your ideas at this time.

    3. Stick to a One-Page Résumé

    McDonald’s explains what they do in 400 characters and a pic (and we all have access to the same tool, so there’s no excuse).

    4. Include Your Most Recent GPA

    If we’re looking for a Master’s Degree, nobody cares about your high school GPA, your kindergarten grades, or what electives you chose.

    5. List Your Latest Work First

    Your McDonald’s Shift Leader position looks less and less impressive as you age, and your résumé should reflect that you’ve resumed your life since then. Speaking of which…

    6. Exaggerate the Best Way Anyone Ever Has…Like, Ever

    We all started at the bottom, so we’ve likely worked your position and know what it takes. Your résumé tells me what you learned about a situation I’ve already been through. Also, *I’m not actually a lawyer, but I’ve worked with plenty.

    7. Sugarcoat Responsibly

    Focus on your battles, and the way you recovered from losses. If you think you’re the first idiot who thought they were perfect, you’re destined to fail. Nobody will trust in your life…much less you in their lives.

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    8. Take Advantage of Section Headings

    Do you see how simple this article looks? I sound professional with these tips (despite my snide remarks) because I’m following an easy-to-read format that slowly entices you to pay more attention. You didn’t think you’d actually learn something from this, did you?

    9. Move Your References to a Separate Document

    Mention that you have references, but don’t bother listing them. We’re more interested in what you know than who because the people you know aren’t as important as you think they are.

    10. Lead with Active Verbs

    The first word of every point you make should be some type of action you really want to drill into the reader’s head.

    11. Utilize Every Word

    Every keystroke matters; it shows your attention to detail, your craft – it shows what you’re capable of.

    12. Doing What You Say You Do

    With so little space, it’s vital to fit as many points in there as possible.

    13. Link to Your Portfolio

    If you send it digitally, the links will prove what you’re saying. If you’re printing your résumé on paper, it’ll at least provide intuitive access to your own portfolio.

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    14. Format as a PDF Unless Otherwise Told

    Even the file format you use makes an impression on people. Every keystroke counts (including Enter when ending the file); never forget that.

    15. Use a Dark Blue Font

    It’s the absolute only color you should ever use in a résumé. Look at the President’s State of the Union. What color suit is worn most often by the politicians in the room whose one job is to appeal to everyone? You better learn about it.

    16. Follow Conventions, but Don’t Sweat Them

    Grammar Nazis are notorious for resuming their rigid regime of résumé regimens they believe everyone should follow. Understand that miner mistakes aren’t often noticed since they’re buried in solid structures and foundations. (See, did you even notice that?)

    17. Match Your Résumé to Your LinkedIn Profile

    [Grabs you by the ears and screams] Repeat after me: “My LinkedIn profile is my résumé, and my résumé is my LinkedIn profile.” It’s for better or worse at this point, folks, because we’re past the honeymoon phase with this company.

    18. Update Your Résumé Every Six Months

    You should resume updating your résumé, or you’ll forget important jobs you’ve done. Instead of showing a glimpse into your life, it’ll be a page of fluff.

    19. Splurge on Paper

    Men tend to tie their level of professionalism to what’s around their neck, but your best impression lies in the paper stock quality of your résumé. The fancier the paper, the less likely someone will be to throw it away without looking at it. It’s a psychological thing; just trust me on this.

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    20. Send It Out

    You could have the best résumé in the world, but you’ll never get a job with it sitting on your computer (unless maybe your portfolio includes hacking).

    21. End with Your Contact Info

    Many people focus on having their contact info on the header. You want your name and location at the top, but your contact info at the bottom, along with your name and the closer.

    22. Quote Statistics

    Recent studies have shown that 73% of prospective employers love statistics in résumés; it’s the easiest way to relay to them that there are quantifiable results in your words. Don’t worry too much about the accuracy of your statistics – 67% of reference transactions are practically automated at this point, so I’m compelled to once again say grades don’t matter.

    23. Paint by Numbers

    The more numbers you use, the better. It helps people put an organizational order to the points you’re making much more easily than bullet points. Look at how the info is arranged when you input it on job search sites.

    24. Inspire the Hire

    You want to close everything you write with a call to order; you want your résumé to say, “This is who I am. Trust me. Choose me. Pay me. Because I get the job done.” And leave them salivating for more.

    You may resume your regular regimen.

    Featured photo credit: SighlentJ via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on April 17, 2019

    10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

    10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

    What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

    Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

    They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

    1. Communication Skills

    Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

    To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

    Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

    Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

    After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

    2. Flexibility

    Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

    Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

    Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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    Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

    3. Being a Team Player

    Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

    What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

    This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

    Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

    4. Positive Mental Attitude

    There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

    Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

    Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

    It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

    Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

    5. A Strong Work Ethic

    People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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    If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

    Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

    • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
    • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
    • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
    • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

    For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

    6. Public Speaking

    Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

    Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

    If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

    For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

    Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

    7. Integrity

    From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

    • Always doing what you say you will do
    • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

    …even when no one is around to check up on you.

    There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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    Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

    8. Managing Your Time

    Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

    A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

    Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

    Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

    These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

    9. Assertiveness

    In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

    • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
    • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
    • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
    • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

    Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

    How do you use this information for yourself?

    It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

    Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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    How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

    10. Creative Thinking

    LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

    Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

    How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

    Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

    These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

    You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

    What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

    Final Thoughts

    The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

    So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

    The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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    Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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