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7 Tips to Take Your Resume to the Next Level

7 Tips to Take Your Resume to the Next Level

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.

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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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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

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    Last Updated on December 1, 2020

    How to Find Your Entrepreneurial Passion and Purpose

    How to Find Your Entrepreneurial Passion and Purpose

    I wrote a few articles about starting a business based on something you love doing and are passionate about. I received several responses from people saying they weren’t sure how to go about figuring out what they were most passionate about or how to find their true purpose. So I’m dedicating this article to these issues — how to find your entrepreneurial passion and purpose.

    When I work with a new client, the first thing we talk about is lifestyle design. I ask each client, “What do you want your life to look like?” If you designed a business without answering this question, you could create a nice, profitable business that is completely incompatible with your goals in life. You’d be making money, but you’d probably be miserable.

    When you’re looking for your life purpose, lifestyle design isn’t a crucial component. However, since we’re talking about entrepreneurial purpose, lifestyle design is indeed crucial to building a business that you’ll enjoy and truly be passionate about.

    For example, say you want to spend more time at home with your family. Would you be happy with a business that kept you in an office or out of town much of the time? On the flip side, if you wanted to travel and see the world, how well could you accomplish that goal if your business required your presence, day in and day out, to survive? So start by getting some clarity on your personal goals and spend some time working on designing your life.

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    At this point, you may need a little prodding, and you may want to hire a coach or mentor to work with you through this process. Many people are very used to the idea that there is a particular way a life “should” be. There are certain milestones most people tend to live by, and if you don’t meet those markers when or in the manner you’re “supposed” to meet them, that can cause some anxiety.

    Here’s how to find your passion and purpose:

    Give Yourself Permission to Dream a Little

    Remember that this is your life and you can live it however you choose. Call it meditation or fantasy, but let your imagination run here. And answer this question:

    “If you had no fears or financial limitations, what would your ideal life, one in which you could be totally content and happy, look like?”

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    Once you’ve figured out your lifestyle design, it’s time to do a little more soul-searching to figure out what you’re truly passionate about. This is a time to really look within and look back.

    Specifically, look back over your life history. When were you the happiest? What did you enjoy doing the most? Remember that what you’re looking for doesn’t necessarily have to be an entire job, but can actually be aspects of your past jobs or hobbies that you’ve really enjoyed.

    Think About a Larger Life Purpose

    Many successful entrepreneurs have earned their place in history by setting out to make a difference in the world. Is there a specific issue or cause that is important to you or that you’re particularly passionate about?

    For some, this process of discovery may come easily. You may go through these questions and thought experiments and find the answers quickly. For others, it may be more difficult. In some cases, you may suffer from a generalized lack of passion and purpose in your life.

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    Sometimes, this can come from having suppressed passion in your life for too long. Sometimes, it can come from eating poorly and lack of exercise. But occasionally, it may have something to do with your internal chemistry or programming. If the latter applies to you, it may be useful for you to seek help in the form of a coach, mentor, or counselor.

    In other cases, not knowing your true purpose may be a matter of having not discovered it yet: you may not have found anything that makes your heart beat faster. If this is the case, now is the time to explore!

    The Internet is a fantastic tool for learning and exploration. Search hobbies and careers and learn as much as you can about any topic that triggers your interest, then follow up at the library on the things that really intrigue you. Again, remember that this is your life and only you can give yourself permission to explore all that the world has available to you.

    How Do You Know When You’ve Found Your True Entrepreneurial Purpose?

    I can only tell you how I knew when I had discovered my own — it didn’t hit me like a ton of bricks. Rather, it settled over me, bringing a deep sense of peace and commitment. It felt like I had arrived home and knew exactly what to do and how to proceed.

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    Everything flowed easily from that point forward. That’s not to say that I found success immediately after that moment. But rather, the path ahead of me was clear, so I knew what to do.

    Decisions were easier and came faster to me. And success has come on MY terms, according to my own definitions of what success means to me in my own lifestyle design.

    Dig deep, look within, and seek whatever help you need. Once you find that purpose and passion, your life — not just your entrepreneurial life, but your entire life — will never be the same.

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