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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 November 19, 2019

    Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

    Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

    I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

    How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

    Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

    So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

    1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

    Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

    For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

    Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

    “When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

    2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

    These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

    This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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    But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

    Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

    For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

    There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

    3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

    It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

    Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

    4. Use Your Phone Wisely

    Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

    If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

    5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

    If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

    In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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    One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

    6. Use a “To Don’t” List

    We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

    But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

    Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

    7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

    When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

    Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

    “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

    And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

    8. Be Concise

    Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

    One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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    Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

    • Making new contacts
    • Talking about yourself at a job interview
    • Meeting people at conferences or parties
    • Phone calls to new clients

    9. Ask the Right Questions

    “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

    How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

    When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

    Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

    Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

    10. Learn as Much as You Can

    You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

    Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

    “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

    11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

    No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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    If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

    What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

    Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

    12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

    As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

    But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

    The Bottom Line

    The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

    Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

    More About Working Smart

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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