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5 Tips to Strengthen Your Resume

A cover letter may serve as a jobseeker’s first introduction to a potential employer, but your resume is where your skills and accomplishments can stand out.

A well-crafted resume helps hiring managers gain a feel for your abilities and experience, enabling them to gauge if you might be a good fit for a position. If the resume doesn’t attract attention, your chances of getting hired will likely wind up dead in the water long before an actual interview is scheduled.

Here are five tips to boost your resume’s odds of getting a hiring manager’s attention:

1. Tailor Your Resume to the Desired Job

Don’t send the same resume out to every potential employer regardless of industry. The best resumes are tailored for the desired job, using jargon appropriate for the position. This is important for two reasons:

  • Not every employer will take the time to understand how your experience relates to the position. Industry keywords and jargon can make this clearer.
  • Many companies now use computerized applicant tracking systems that rely on keywords and statements to automatically target candidates that might fit a position. If the right keywords are not present, your resume might be filtered out of the system before human eyes ever look at it.

2. Adopt a Clean Design

When a resume makes it to a recruiter or hiring manager’s desk, it’s likely to be accompanied by those belonging to other potential candidates. A resume that stands out typically has a polished appearance. Make sure your resume is easy on the eyes, organized logically and simple for hiring managers to scan for relevant information.

3. Make Sure People can Read Your Resume

There are techniques you can use to make sure your resume is readable. Use bullets instead of paragraphs to help important points stand out. Eliminate clutter – unnecessary dates, full sentences describing accomplishments and any other extraneous information – as employers may spend as little as 6 seconds actually reading your resume.

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4. Critical Information Should Go First

Frontload your resume with details employers really want to know. Employers are looking at what you’ve accomplished first, so list your job title before the name of your former employer or the time you worked there. The same applies to educational background – list your degrees or certificates first, then the names of schools you’ve attended.

5. Focus on Accomplishments

Accomplishment-driven resumes can capture attention. Rather than list “responsibilities,” detail the initiatives you took and how going above and beyond paid off. Highlight any skills and past activities that translate well to the desired position. Rely on strong verbs to paint the picture of what you’ve accomplished.

Getting a resume to stand out from dozens or even hundreds of others requires a smart strategy. In today’s workplace, your resume must often first get through computerized screening and then capture a person’s attention. Simple wording and formatting changes can make attaining both goals quite feasible.

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