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How To Write A Resume That Will Land Your Dream Job

How To Write A Resume That Will Land Your Dream Job

Just a few years ago, I was at that pivotal point when crafting the perfect resume was the only thing standing between me and professional success. Maybe that’s a little dramatic, but these days, you just can’t take the clout of your resume for granted, especially if you want a job that is highly sought-after.

Now I’m at an odd stage where I am actually the person looking through resumes and trying to hire people. And let me tell you, It is rough. Here is my guide for drafting your ideal resume, no matter what your professional situation is. My hope is that my past and present experiences will give you an insight into what employers are really looking for and how you can stand apart.

Layout

The first step is to decide on how you want everything laid out. You don’t want to go crazy with the design of the resume just yet, since it’s far easier to polish the look once everything is complete.

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The first thing you’ll need is an objective statement, which should be one sentence that acknowledges your intent to obtain the job and work for that company. People go back and forth on whether or not this is necessary, but I always recommend it, if done well. Its actual purpose is to tell the hiring manager that you are actually looking for a job in the profession that is relevant to what you’re applying for. Yes, you can do this in the cover letter, but covering your bases doesn’t hurt, and some people are more traditional and expect the objective statement.

Education

At this point, decide on what flow you want to use for the resume. In almost all cases, list your education first. This is crucial if you are a recent graduate, since it showcases your worth as an investment. If you’re still in school, write your expected graduation date and be specific about your major, minor and any specializations. If you have room to spare, consider listing some relevant courses that will display what you really learned.

Also, and this is a big one, put your GPA on the resume unless it is under 3.0. In some cases, you might be told to leave it out if it is under 3.5 or even 4.0. The trick is to discern how much value a particular hiring manager will see in your GPA.

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Experience

Next, I advise that you list memberships and school affiliations later on, so you don’t crowd education and can get to what reinforces your education: work experience. For some, you may have too many jobs in your background and will have to leave some out. My go-to approach has been to include only the jobs and internships that relate directly to my current profession. That way, you can still bring up other jobs in the interview.

For example, the interviewer may mention that the job you’re applying for has an element of customer service. You can respond by saying, “Actually, I worked in an outlet store during college and learned a lot about customer service. I just didn’t have room for it on the resume.” As long as you are tactful about presenting yourself professionally and honestly, the interviewer will no doubt be impressed by your work history.

Next, I’m going to give you what is probably the most important tip there is to writing your resume, and it involves how you describe your past jobs. Underneath your job title and company name, you probably know that it is essential to record what you actually did for that job. Ninety percent of people write this part of their resume in a list format, highlighting the things that they did. Be like the rare 10 percent and write what you accomplished.

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The difference between a task-based resume and an accomplishment-based resume should be obvious. When an employer is looking at two resumes side-by-side (trust me, we do that), he is far more likely to be persuaded by work experience that shows that you provide a return on investment.

If you craft your resume to simply show that you “managed teams” and “coordinated strategies,” then an employer will likely gloss over it. If you focus on the results, however, by showing that you “implemented strategies that increased revenue” and “organized an event that doubled last year’s attendance,” then the employer has confidence that you provide value to the position you are striving for.

Skills

Finally, it’s time to list your professional skills and affiliations. Remember to focus on skills that tie into the job you’re looking for and bolster what you’ve already listed in your work experience. They should flow pretty naturally from what you can really do. Make sure you don’t promise anything you can’t deliver on!

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If you happen to have references or even a portfolio, you should absolutely include the traditional “References and portfolio available upon request,” which makes a great end to a consistent resume.

Edit

Now that you’ve completed the layout and flow of the resume, go back and edit the thing to pieces. I strongly advise that you keep the resume to one page, no matter how difficult it might be (only in rare situations is this not necessary). Contact information should go at the top close to your name and should include a phone number, email, personal website/LinkedIn and the city/state where you live (especially if this is a local job).

The easiest way to make a resume look good is to choose the right font. Just make sure that it is not a display font like Papyrus or Comic Sans. Be more original and check out great font websites like LostType. Last, but definitely not least, ask for a second opinion. Put your resume in front of a professional or mentor who will give you constructive feedback. I hope this guide helps, and be sure to sound off your own tips or experience in the comments for other readers!

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Jon Negroni

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Published on January 7, 2021

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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  1. Respect deadlines
  2. Understand the work-flow plan
  3. Build in time to mess up

1. Respect Deadlines

Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

3. Build in Time to Mess Up

You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

1. Learn to Listen Well

You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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3. Follow Rules

Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

4. Take Notes

Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

9. Minimize Distractions

It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

10. Take Breaks

It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

11. Make Time for Reflection

At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

Final Thoughts

Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

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