In today’s economy, finding a job is harder than ever. Hundreds of people are submitting their resumes for the same position and for the person trying to decipher which resumes make the initial cut, all of the resumes that come in may start to look the same and it gets harder to find resumes that set themselves apart from the rest.
Here are just a few simple tips that can help set your resume apart from the others.
Length. Despite popular belief, the 3-page resume is not necessarily better t the 1-pager. Sure, you probably have a lot of experience to list and other accomplishments, but if you can’t condense yourself to one page, then some employers may toss your resume before they get to other important parts. Cut out job experiences that don’t apply to the position you’re applying for. If you need more space, leave out items like “Objectives” and “References”, which are found on most resume templates. Most employers will assume you can produce references if asked and that your objective is to get the job they are looking for. Don’t waste precious paper space on these unnecessary items.
List your strongest selling point first. This is different for everyone and varies based on the position you’re applying for. For example, if you were applying for an entry-level position in a field you have no experience in, your education or skill set may be a bigger strength than your work experience. However, if you were applying for a position where you had quite a bit of experience in, but your education level was not up to par, you might want to list your work experience first for the job that is most relevant (maybe not even in chronological order). Right now, work experience is more important and more desirable than education, so if you can focus on your work experience first, the better. But only if that’s your strongest selling point.
List your weakest selling point second. Most people that are browsing resumes are going to look at the first thing you wrote, skim through and look at the last thing, so writing your weakest area of your resume in the middle helps. For example, you may not have finished college but have some college courses. You will want to list this under Education as the second item, underneath your strongest points.
Effectively describe your job tasks. As a rule of thumb, all job duties for past employers should be written in past-tense. Accordingly, all job duties for your current employer should be written in present-tense. Also, try to pick words to describe your job duties that are desirable skills for employers. Such words may include “delegated”, “trained”, “supervised”, “facilitated”, “responsible for” or “managed”.
Don’t lie on your resume. Be as honest and truthful on your resume. Don’t lie about jobs you haven’t held or tasks you haven’t done, but know that just because you only trained one co-worker at a job you held, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t list that as something you did for that employer. Build up the things that you did, but don’t be dishonest about it. The truth will always come out, whether in the interview or after you have been hired for the position.
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