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Resume Writing Tips

A resume is a tool to get the employer’s attention. You need a well-written, up-to-date resume to market yourself effectively. An attention-getting resume is one that conveys your unique combination of skills, achievements and abilities that shows you are an outstanding candidate for the job. Click here for more help on how to write a resume.

What All Resumes Should Have:

  • Contact information: name, mailing address, phone and email address
  • Brief statement of your key experience and strengths. This is optional, but many career experts recommend it as a way to convey key information at a glance.
  • Skills, areas of expertise and specific accomplishments
  • Work experience that is relevant to the job for which you are applying
    • List every job.  Jobs that are not relevant to your job search may be listed merely with dates and no additional details.
    • Remember, many employers want to know your entire work history since high school. They are not looking to specific jobs or experience but typically want to know you’ve kept busy and productive.
    • Important:  If you have gaps of non-working periods, be ready to explain.  There are many good reasons and be sure to tell the truth.
  • Education, training and certifications
  • Awards, professional memberships and volunteer work — if relevant to the job

What Will Make Your Resume Stand Out From the Crowd:

Use an Attention-Getting Design
Never underestimate the importance of a well-designed resume. The recruiter will immediately notice your resume and be inclined to read it. Don’t overcrowd the page. Be sure to leave plenty of white space.

Keep It Brief
Most resumes should be one page.  If you have extensive or technical work hisorty, then no longer than two pages.  Avoid paragraphs and use brief statements with bullet points that provide small, digestible pieces of information. Remember, the purpose of your résumé is to generate enough interest in you to have an employer contact you for an interview. Use the interview to provide a more detailed explanation of your accomplishments and get that job offer. So your résumé doesn’t need to go into detail about every accomplishment.

Proofread…Then Proofread Again!
One typo can send your resume to the trash. Make sure to carefully proofread your resume various times before submitting to a recruiter or prospective employer. Also, it’s a good idea to have someone else review your resume. Since you are so close to your situation, it can be difficult for you to hit all your high points and clearly convey all your accomplishments.

Use Titles or Headings That Match The Jobs You Want
With employers receiving hundreds of resumes you must make sure that your resume hooks an employer’s attention within a 5-second glance. A great way to do this is to use job titles and skill headings that relate to and match the jobs you want.

Quantify and Use Power or Action Words
Numbers, dollars, and percentages stand out in the body of a resume. Using numbers and quantifying creates vivid images in our mind when we read them, whereas general statements are easy to skip over or forget. Typically the more specific you can be in describing your duties the better. Quantify your achievements, results and outcomes and use action verbs. For example, “increased sales by 40%,” “decreased annual expenditures by $50,000,” “exceeded monthly quota by 18%.”

Tweak and Target Your Résumé to Match the Employers Needs
Tailor your resume to the specific job you’re applying for. Don’t send the same resume to hundreds of employers. Read the job description closely, and use the key words listed in these ads, and match them to the bullet points in your resume. To beat today’s heavy competition for jobs, it’s important that you identify and anticipate the full range of needs each employer faces and show how you can solve those needs.

Focus on the Positive
Leave off negatives and irrelevant points.  If you do some duties in your current job that don’t support your job search objective, leave them off your résumé. Focus on the duties that do support your objective.  Remember, all jobs have redeeming and applicable qualities that can transfer to your job.

Lead with Your Strengths
Résumés are typically reviewed in 30 seconds, so take the time to determine which bullets most strongly support your job search objective and put strong points first where they are more apt to be read.

Always Include a Cover Letter
Another important part of your résumé is the cover letter. A good cover letter is like an introduction about the candidate and helps the recruiters understand your personality, which is half the battle won. Click here for tips on writing a cover letter.

Get Your Resume Out There
A wonderfully written resumedoes no good unless you put it out there.

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