“Pimp Your Resume”: 5 Cool Resume Tips

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You’ve probably heard of the show “Pimp My Ride,” where a lucky person has a chance to turn an otherwise crappy vehicle into the beautiful car of their dreams. Well, as beautiful as a 1978 Ford Pinto can get, that is. The point is that there are ways to turn something not-so-beautiful into something spectacular. The same can be done with your resume. So if you want to turn your bland document into a job-getter, take a moment to review some tips that will help you “pimp” your resume. Tip #1: Focus on the Employer One way to make sure that your resume is impressive in the employer’s eyes is to make sure you correlate your qualifications with their needs. In other words, as you review the job posting, you want to zero in on what they’re looking for then note the qualifications that you bring to the table that match their desires. This way, they won’t have to play the match game on their own to determine how qualified you are for the position. Tip #2: Try an Executive Summary An executive summary is similar to an objective; however, it is a little bit longer (about 60 words, or 3 typed lines), and describes your both your objective and key selling points. So instead of simply noting that you’re looking for a specific position, you might mention that you’re a Yale Law School graduate with experiences as a law director who now seeks to showcase law talents in an executive position at ABC Corporation. Try #3: Narrow Down the Positions You Mention It may bit tempting to take the approach of jotting down every job you’ve held in recent years. But if you were laid off three years ago and took a four-month part-time job to make ends meet, you don’t have to mention it unless it is relevant to the position you’re applying for. Tip #4: Emphasize Accomplishments AND Education You probably hear quite often how important it is to emphasize your accomplishments. In other words, it’s important to discuss in action phrases what you completed, not simply what you were responsible for. This shows that you were not just given a task, but you got it done. Well, the same goes for education. It’s customary to mention the school you attended, year you graduated, and degree you earned. However, there’s nothing wrong with mentioning academic projects, advanced coursework, and activities that are relevant to the position you’re applying for. Also, noting honors isn’t a bad idea. Tip #5: Don’t Forget Your White Space A great way to “pimp” your resume, or make it more attractive to read, is making sure there is plenty of white space in the document. There’s nothing worse than trying to dig through a resume for relevant information. By creating bullet-point lists and utilizing other ways to “open it up” with white space, you can make it easier to read – definitely a plus. Creating the right resume can make or break your chances of snagging the job you want. So if you’re dusting off an old one, consider these tips on “pimping” your resume that can help make it a winner.

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  • Richard Gendel
    Richard Gendel
    Janet, you might consider using the inclusive dates, IE: from July 4, 1990 to June 6, 2009, Freelance consulting work for such notables, including, but not limited to  ABC Company, DEF Corporation, ...... My primary focus and accomplishments were institued .... which improved.......
  • Janet Cutrona
    Janet Cutrona
    As someone who's done a lot of 1099 freelancing in the last 13 years, with one contractor "job" lasting 7 years and another 19 months, I'd love to leave out any of the irrelevant 1099 stuff, consulting work done off premises...but if I do this, how do I avoid it looking like I have gaps in employment?
  • marcia wright
    marcia wright
    what do you write for the question: why did you quit your last job? most people quit their jobs because they don't want to work there anymore or they got a better job offer.
  • Alan Wigder
    Alan Wigder
    Wondering how this fits with the use of word scanning that employers use to screen resumes. That is if you don't mention a bit of software or a particular job function you are automatically removed from consideration. Perhaps this is more entry-level information?
  • Kenneth Miller
    Kenneth Miller
    I found the article to be very interesting and thought provocating.  I have been bolding key works on my resume to make it easer to find issues that the employer is seeking.  Any suggestions on dealing with older experience on the resume that the prospective employer is looking for?
  • Erica
    Thanks for all the great tips. I will be adding an executive summary to my resume. Someone mentioned not to tell them but show them what you've done. I would like to know more about this.
  • Donna Telford
    Donna Telford
    Would it be unthinkable to list your work history in reverse, starting with your oldest job (within reason of so many years, etc)? My strongest experience,(the very foundation of my work ethic and skills were laid for the jobs to come later), is always going to be the last on my resume and sometimes not even included on some prospective employers' applications. To highlight what I am capable of and have accomplished is oldest history.  Your spin please?Thank you so much!~drt
  • John Herritt
    John Herritt
    Someone suggested including a life goals section instead of career goals.
  • Gringa
    @Wondering - You might selectively include/exclude your magna cum laude honors, depending on the position you're applying for. I kept my GPA off, but did keep a bullet below my college education that reads "Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society".  My thought was: Those that know what it is will get it and it's subtler than GPA or magna cum laude to those that don't.    
  • Allen Hamilton
    Allen Hamilton
    I like your suggestions and remarks. First impression is key to the HR's mindset.Keep up all your good work.My best,Allen
  • Debbie
    As a Professional Resume Writer, I have to agree 100% with everything the author mentioned. I think people (in general) forget that a resume is the BEST of what you've accomplished- not EVERYTHING you've done! One thing I stress to job seekers writing their resumes is SHOW the employer what you have done, don't TELL them.
  • wondering
    A job counselor recently told me to delete the "magna cum laude" from my resume so as not to appear overqualified.  What do you think?
  • MK
    Thank you! All these tips are good advice  and I am adding an executive summary in my resume now.

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