Writing a resume may not come naturally to everyone but it is one of the most important parts of finding a job. Your resume is your first point of contact with a potential employer and it sets of the image of you that that employer will hold when they are deciding who to bring in for an interview. Use these 7 tips to make your resume stand out and paint the best possible picture of yourself.
1. Don’t use PDF
You may be surprised to learn that not all of the software that companies use to keep track of job applicants is compatible with PDF formatted documents. Job posts with strong attention to detail might list possible formats to use when submitting your resume but when in doubt use Word 2003 format (.doc not .docx). We all have that person in our address book who still can’t open .docx, you really don’t want a prospective employer to fall into that camp.
2. Make Every Bullet Count
Every line of you resume is valuable real estate, so don’t waste precious bullet points listing the boring chores you did at your last job. Make you bullets mean something and make them as relevant as you can to the job you are applying for. Outlining coursework you did that would make you good at the job is a great use of space.
3. Clearly State Goals and Objectives
Set yourself apart by showing your employer that you have an eye on the future. In a sentence or two at the top of your resume tell them what you career goals are and why this position is a step in the right direction for you. Include what you would like to learn and skills you would like to develop.
4. Pay Attention to Keywords
Although it may be tempting to submit the same generic resume to every job you apply to, making a habit of it can cost you callbacks. A good resume should be tailored to the job description and include the same keywords as the job posting. If there are specific requirements for the job, make sure you include how you meet each and every one of them. Even if you fall short, include relevant experience and frame it in a way that shows you are interested in developing those skills by using them more.
5. Order Items by Importance
When laying out each section of your resume you should pay attention to putting your most dazzling qualifications where they are the most likely to be seen. Generally speaking you should order your work experience by date, but if a project your worked on a while ago perfectly suits the job you are applying to and proves that you are the perfect candidate, that is what you want potential employers to see.
6. State Your Achievements
Part of making every bullet count and setting yourself apart from other candidates is clearly listing your achievements that are relevant to the job you are applying to. Use your resume to brag about beating sales targets or improving efficiency, and use real numbers. Instead of writing that you increased sales, your resume should say you increased sales by 25% or by $100,000. Numbers are an anchor to the real world that send a clear message about what you can do.
7. Use Action Verbs
Last but not least, don’t underestimate the power of language. Your resume should be full of action verbs that detail what you have done and what you want to do. Great examples of actions verbs to include in a resume are: managed, lead, coached, trained, enforced, planned, and executed. Clear and strong word choice can drive home the point that you are a doer and that you achieve results.
Featured photo credit: trudi via pixabay.com