Writing a great resume alone won’t get you hired — but it is an important first step for anyone who is looking for work. So if you want to show off your accomplishments in a professional manner while capturing the attention of hiring managers and HR departmentsin your industry, take a look at these six tips for creating a smart and effective resume.
- Format, Spell Check, Edit, and Double-Check. Gaining the work experience, the education, the training, and the references to make your resume impressive are all tasks that can take years. Getting the small details of your resume right is a task that takes at most an hour or two. Yet so many people sell themselves short simply by turning in a poorly formatted and error-riddled resume. If you are serious about getting hired, set yourself apart from the competition by devoting a little bit of time to the finer points of your resume.
- Give Both Job Descriptions and Accomplishments. Job descriptions are certainly important, but including your accomplishments and each position that you have held can help convince hiring managers that you are a special candidate by giving them concrete proof that you are an effective employee.
- Keep it Concise. Unless specified otherwise, you should always try to keep your resume to a maximum of two pages. Many hiring managers sort through dozens of resumes for each position, and making your resume too difficult to read could result in getting passed over. Moreover, you want to ensure that the truly impressive parts of your resume get remembered — so try to avoid filling up space with unimportant fluff.
- Target Your Resume to Your Industry and to the Specific Company and Position that You Are Applying to. Many job candidates make the damaging mistake of simply sending off their resumes to various jobs without taking a bit of time to customize. The problem with this is that every company has slightly different values, each and every position has slightly different requirements, and the differences between industries can be immense. Doing a bit of research and adjusting the focus of your resume to the aspects that will truly matter to the people looking to hire you can improve your chances of scoring an interview.
- Give References. The old saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is a bit more true than you might think. A solid reference in the industry can go a long way toward setting you apart from the competition, so be sure to list the people who have been important throughout your career. At the very least, it will help your potential employer trust that you are telling the truth about your previous experience.
- Study Your Resume. This is especially important if you customize your resume heavily from job to job — be sure to take a few minutes before any interviews to review what you have highlighted in each particular version of your resume in order to speak more directly about the strengths that you have chosen to focus on.
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