5 Steps to a Better Resume

Nancy Anderson
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A hiring manager has plenty of resumes to sift through once he posts a job description. That's why your resume must stand out from the rest if you want to increase your chances of a successful job search. Discover five things you can do to spruce up your vital document on the way to landing an interview.

1. Look for Keywords

Your resume needs to contain keywords found in the job description because a recruiter looks for a particular set of words as it relates to your qualifications. Tailor your document to each job description, such as changing the word "manager" to "supervisor," to make it more in line with each employer. Some companies may use automated applicant tracking systems, or ATS. This makes your keywords even more important as a computer program ranks candidates based on what their resumes say.

2. Showcase Your Accomplishments Using Hard Numbers

Your experience includes managing a team of 15 salespeople at Acme Brick for five years. That's a great job to have, but you also need to highlight what you accomplished during your time there. For example, you might say "Automated and upgraded sales software for a team of 15 staffers and increased sales 10 percent per year for five years." The use of statistics does two things. It puts your experience at Acme Brick in context, and it shows provable numbers that your supervisor can mention when your future employer seeks him out for a reference.

3. List Skills and Qualifications

The job description has a list of top-level qualifications, such as a degree, years of experience or specific certifications. If you have any of these skills, show them in a way that a recruiter or hiring manager can easily see on your resume. Consider a Career Summary section at the top to delineate four or five top-level skills, such as a PhD, 15 years' experience in sales and C++ certification in computer programming. If you run out of space on a resume, you can always provide a link to your online portfolio and LinkedIn profile.

4. Include Only Relevant Jobs

Sure, you had a lot of fun working fast food in high school, but is that relevant to landing a public relations job at a major accounting firm? List the most relevant jobs on your resume instead of trying to cram everything onto the page. If a hiring manager wants to know about any gaps, you can follow up with an email or talk to the person on the phone to explain any time gaps.

5. Proofread Like Your Life Depended on It

After you compile everything in your resume, it's time to proofread and edit the document. Look for typos, misspellings, grammatical errors and any words out of place. Have someone else look over the document just in case. A well-polished resume impresses a recruiter with your attention to detail.

Your resume summarizes your entire career into a page or two of text. Make every word count during your job search with these five easy tips to create a polished document that rises above the rest to possibly move to the interview stage.

Photo courtesy of everydayplus at bm_adverts at Flickr.com


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