There is no denying it is a competitive job market out there. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help yourself land the best position possible. Self-promotion is key to obtaining the position you want. Once you are invited to interview for a job, you will have the opportunity to display your confidence and share your skills with the interviewer. But to get to that point, you’ll need to shine right from the start. Your resumé is the first thing a potential employer will see--the first impression of you. Here we’ve compiled a guide on how to write a resumé that is sure to be the first step to securing the position you desire.
Concerned about Length?
A simple Internet search will yield proof that many people are confused about the proper length of a resumé. The truth is, the length of the resumé is not a make or break issue. While your resumé should not be excessively long (or frighteningly short), what matters most is the content of the resumé. Human resource experts cite 2 pages as the typical length-- for someone with many years of job experience, that is. If you are just starting out in the job field, condensing your skills and experiences into one clean, succinct page is highly preferable.
Using a pre-made resumé template is a great way to ensure you’re using a proper format. Another benefit of a resumé template is that it will save you time creating and formatting the resumé--giving you more time to focus on the job search.
Content is key on your winning resumé. Your goal is to stand out amongst numerous other applicants, so you must showcase your achievements and abilities in a way that sets you apart. As you list previous employment experiences, include a very brief summary of what you achieved in each position. Include unique and tangible successes that emphasize your skills, talents, and leadership potential. A short statement of top achievements is recommended over a droll listing of typical job duties, which may be easier for a hiring manager to overlook. If providing personal attributes in this section, it is important that each one be followed up with real, tangible evidence--an example demonstrating your use or expression of this attribute.
At the top of your resumé, consider adding a well written statement of objective. This is especially useful for a recent grad or someone new to the job search, as it adds layers and content to what may be a fairly thin resumé. This objective statement outlines your career and professional goals.
Boost with Keywords
A little known secret for crafting an outstanding resumé is the addition of relevant keywords. These keywords ca
n be peppered strategically throughout both your cover letter and your resumé. Certain employers, especially those who are receiving an inordinate number of job applications, may employ a practice of screening the materials of applicants. This screening method typically scans applications to search for the inclusion of keywords relevant to the available position. So how do you know what these keywords are? A great way of including the proper keywords is by looking at the job posting itself. Check out advertisements for similar positions at other companies and make note of the recurrent key words that stand out as important. These keywords may be related to desired skills, qualifications, previous experiences, similar job titles, and more. You might also want to look at a more detailed description of the role you’re applying for, if that is available. The more relevant keywords you incorporate into your resumé and application, the greater your chances of being selected as compatible with the company, identifying you as a potential candidate for the position.
Tailor to Employer
As you integrate significant keywords into your resumé, you are already taking steps to tailor your resumé to the specific employer you’re targeting. It is important to take the time prior to applying for each new position to adapt and customize your resumé for that specific position and company. Reading the company’s statement of purpose or similar allows you to demonstrate your own understanding of the company and showcase your personal alignment with its goals and values. (This statement of purpose can also indicate if the job or company is a good match for you to begin with).
Your resumé is the ideal place to prove to a potential employer what a great fit you will be for their company. An employer wants to know you’ll be a hard-worker who will be an asset to the business. Your resumé should always contain indications that you will make the company better--that you will have something substantial to contribute. The very best resumés give the employer a sense that the candidate will bring to the table unique qualities and contributions that no other applicant can provide.
Odds and Ends
It is important that your resumé paints a clear picture of you professionally and individually. A unique resumé, in terms of style or format, can certainly be eye-catching and memorable, but it is generally suggested to avoid extreme or outlandish ideas. Keeping the resumé professional overall makes a much better impression.
You should address any significant gaps in work history, such as maternity leave, extended travel, etc. Military service should definitely be included on your resumé, as this is very important to potential employers and also demonstrates certain skills.
Education can be listed on the bottom of the resumé. You should indicate your degree and institution from which it was achieved. If you are a recent graduate, it is also okay to display your education more prominently, as well as highlight academic achievements, awards, and accolades.
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