How to Write a Great Resume

By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC

www.careercounselortips.com

 

If you're in the market for a new job, the quality of your resume can make all the difference. With careful planning and proper formatting, you can write a great resume that just may land you your dream job.

 

Here are some quick resume tips to get you on your way:

 

1.      Be brief. Your goal is to get your point across quickly and effectively. Don't fill your resume with fluff. Chances are your potential employer won't have a lot of time to read every detail, so stick with the meat.

 

2.      Start with action verbs. If you start your sentences with action verbs in the past tense, you'll be stating your past jobs in a brief, yet effective, way.

 

  • An example would be using a sentence that starts with "Managed" or "Coached" instead of starting a description with "I was a manager of a sales team."

 

3.      Targeting. Make sure that your resume and cover letter reflect your interest in the job you want. This means you'll want to place all the relevant job information at the top or at the head of a section where it's most likely to be seen.

 

  • Oftentimes the manager won't be the first one to read your resume. Target your information so you make the first cut.

 

4.      Keywords. Include the relevant keywords associated with the position you're seeking. Tweak your resume to include the job title you want as well as the keywords associated with your potential job functions.

 

  • This is especially important because employers may be searching for your resume online by querying these specific keywords.

 

5.      Bullet Points. It's important to break up your text with bullet points to avoid lengthy paragraphs. This also helps employers gain the information they need while quickly skimming your resume.

 

6.      One Page. You probably have a lot to say on your resume. Even if you keep your resume to the main points, you may be tempted to submit a resume that's several pages long. Don't give in to this temptation! If you need to trim down, try deleting some of the items not relevant to the job.

 

  • If you must go beyond the one page rule, keep the resume to two pages, maximum.

 

7.      Don't get fancy. There's no need to provide intricate designs or colored textured paper. It's recommended that you stick to white paper. You'll stand out to your employer because of the fantastic skills listed on the paper, not because of the quality paper itself or the unique font you picked.

 

8.      Explain your skills. Don't just provide a laundry list of your skill set. You can still remain brief while explaining how your skills can benefit the company. This tip alone can greatly improve your chances of getting noticed.

 

9.      Tweak your template. You may have found a template to use online to build your resume. These can be useful to help you get an idea of what a resume should include. However, you shouldn't copy and paste because other applicants may be using the same template.

 

  • If you want to stand out to your employer, you don't want to risk looking like everyone else.

 

10.  Avoid silly mistakes. Be sure to go over the final copy thoroughly. It may help to have a professional or trusted friend read it first before submitting. Be sure your resume is grammatically correct and avoid typos at all costs.

 

If you keep these tips in mind, you'll be well on your way to landing that dream job. Now the only thing you'll need to think about is the interview!


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