We all want to get in the door for that job interview to show off our winning personalities. But the first step to that is writing a resume that will set you apart from the crowd. We’ve outlined here the skills you need to craft a resume that sings your praises and helps you stand out.
The number one goal of a resume is to get results. Seem like a lofty goal for what amounts to a piece of paper? Not really. In short, a resume is a collection of your best attributes, your education and training, and the experiences you have that will make you an ideal candidate for the job. When you look at it this way, it should become easy to assume that the resume will be one of your greatest tools when entering the job market.
So then why do so many resumes fall flat? The answer is simple: the writer isn’t penning the resume with results in mind. It becomes easy to fall into the trap of just listing out details of schooling and work qualifications, without keeping in mind that there is something specific here you are trying to achieve. Each resume should be put together with the exact job your are applying to in mind. There is no one-size-fits-all option here. Really think about the job you are applying for, what that employer needs out of an employee, and what you have to bring to the table that can make you an asset at that company. Then translate those discoveries to the page.
Impressing the Employer
So you know what you’re working toward in crafting a resume, now you have to get it on paper. It’s true that writing isn’t necessarily a talent we all have, but you will need to use your best writing skills here. Fortunately, there are some techniques you can use if the written word isn’t your strong suit. The most important strategy will be to plan first, so you have an outline of what you’re going to do. Then go through several drafts until you’ve edited together something that works.
Make sure to focus on what the employer needs, not what you yourself need. Employers aren’t looking to hand out favors, so use bullet points to illustrate your clear objective and how you will bring success to the company. And break the resume into sections so it’s easier to write and manage: Objective, work experience, education, skills. These are good jumping off points to help you know where to fill in the details.
Proving Your Worth
Once you’ve outlined your resume and formatted your sections, it’s time to polish up that work and education history of yours. You can use your experiences to prove to potential employers that you’re not just someone worth hiring, but that it would be a big mistake to pass you over. You do this by backing up your words with facts. It’s here that details are going to be key. Instead of writing, “Organized files,” write, “Transmitted all written files into updated files online.” Instead of “Degree in English,” put “Degree in Creative Writing with Minor in Marketing and Communications.”
You can also add details like civic and volunteer work you’ve done, awards you’ve received, and valuable skills like foreign languages you might know or organizations you’ve headed. All of these things prove you to be a robust, varied potential hire.
Use Super Words
Super words are words that give you an extra bang for your buck. They go beyond mere adjectives and add extra meaning and purpose to your already well-written resume. Words like “engaging,” “reliable,” “productive,” “results,” and “focused” imbue into the reader not just the kind of worker you are, but the kind of worker you want to be in the future.
For example, the sentence “Worked with others on projects involving tech” is fine on its own. However, the sentence “Engaged co-workers to create more productive ways to produce results-focused tech programs” tells the reader so much more.
All of the above is useful, but it’s going to mean nothing if your well-written resume is presented in a sloppy fashion. Don’t try to go overboard with impressing interviewers–no one wants to look at wall to wall text or five different fonts. Use a simple layout with one, basic font. Don’t use too many different font sizes, and keep the bolding to a minimum. You want the resume to look clean and professional, not like something that is going to give someone a headache.
On the same note, a too-long resume is going to look like you’re over reaching. Try to keep it to two pages maximum, and don’t add items just to fluff it up. And for goodness sake, don’t forget to add contact information somewhere that is easy to find. These few, simple tips will make your resume look like it was written by someone who has done this kind of thing before.
Applying To The Right Job
So what happens if you’ve written a pitch perfect resume, but you’re still not excited about calls that are coming in? It may be time to ask yourself if you’re even applying for the right jobs. Sometimes we become so focused on finding a new position, we blanket our resume anywhere we can, hoping for something to stick. But sending out resumes isn’t just about finding someone that will take you; it’s about pairing the right job with the right person for the position.
If you find yourself in this situation, take a moment to really suss out what work you are best suited for, and what skills you are really best at. Applying to those openings that seem a great fit is a good way to make sure your resume gets into the right hands.