When you sit down to write and format your resume, you should be brainstorming what accomplishments and skills make you stand out. You should never write a generic or “one size fits all” resume. Today I will outline some tips to ensure your resume is targeted to the position you are seeking and shows exactly why you are the best fit.
- Tailor your resume to the job description.
Many people don’t understand what I mean when I tell them they should tailor their resume to each position they pursue. This especially applies if you are applying to different types of jobs because it will allow you to effectively highlight different aspects of your experience and qualifications. Please note that this strategy applies to EVERY profession and resume. If you have just one version of your resume, it might work well for some positions, but you may be running the risk of being skipped over completely even though you have the necessary skills for the job. It is worth the time and energy to emphasize the things that will matter for each application you send.
- Keywords are effective and important!
Part of tailoring your resume to job descriptions is using actual keywords and language from the job description. Show the employer exactly how you have the skills listed in the job description by tying those skills to a quantifiable achievement. It is perfectly fine to use bullet points to list the skills/abilities the employer is seeking and showcase specific examples for each one. Most job descriptions are not exactly the same (even for very similar positions), so this is why it is important to tailor your keywords every time you apply.
- Use specific facts to describe yourself in the top section of your resume.
It is very beneficial to write a summary of yourself at the top of your resume that could not be mistaken for anybody else. This gives you the opportunity to brand yourself and state your unique selling proposition. Try not use vague or general language in your resume summary. Instead, list big name companies that you worked for, a specialized skill you have, and a couple of major accomplishments. Feel free to use the most impressive pieces of your background that you currently have listed in your Experience section.
- Professional formatting techniques.
It seems that many people wrote their resumes while they were in college using a template provided by the university. If I am describing you, then it may be time to update your resume. There are many formatting tricks that will bring your resume up to speed with current trends. Some examples include nicely designed headers, bolded sub-headers, text boxes, charts and graphs, and varied font styles. However you decide to format your resume, please be careful to keep your format within the standards for your industry and create something that you feel represents you!
- Vary your language.
You probably know the importance and effectiveness of utilizing active verbs. However, try to vary the language that you use for each bullet point. If you start each bullet with increased or managed, you will have a hard time keeping your readers’ attention. Instead, use a variety of verbs throughout your resume and your reader might not even realize what is keeping them reading past the first six seconds!
Mary Southern, M.Ed | www.resumeassassin.com