5 Ways to Make Your Resume a Winner

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How to make your resume stand out.

I've recently been amping up my job search, and with that, I had to go back and polish up my resume. I know that I write a lot about how to make your resume stand out, but it was still tricky when I was doing it myself. Of course, I know all too well how important a great resume and a killer cover letter are. I'm aware of how important it is to focus on your achievements and tailor your resume for the job you want. Still, I was struggling.

On the plus side, I managed to create a document that I was really proud of. In the process, I was able to come up with 5 ways to make the entire process a little easier:
  • Write down everything - Don't make the mistake of getting a resume template and trying to just fill in the blanks. Instead, start off with some prep work. First, open a blank document and write down everything that you think might be important about your career so far. Don't worry about how long this takes, just write it all down and think back to make sure that you haven't forgotten anything. This will help you get all of the information fresh in your mind and will make it much, much easier to distill into a brief resume.
  • Get rid of the not-so-important stuff - When you go back over the big list of everything, you'll see loads of things that you just don't need to include. You can get rid of anything that isn't very impressive, that is outdated or just sounds overused. For example, if you have a career in customer service you may not need to list "answered the phone in a timely manner" on each job description.
  • Steer clear of overused phrases - This is a biggie. If you want to make your resume stand out and look different from the hundreds of other resumes, you have to do something different. Your accomplishments and experience alone aren't going to be enough, because if you look like everyone else, no one is even going to read it long enough to find out. With that in mind, get rid of phrases like "strong work ethic", "Team player", "Punctual". Of course you are going to say that you are a good employee, that you like to be on time and you can play well with others. I'm sure that you can come up with something better to tell a future employer about why they should hire you.
  • Show, don't tell - Let's say you worked at a coffee shop for the past few years. Instead of saying that you served coffee to a large number of customers, try saying that you "Promoted and helped increase sales by 40%" or however much your shop had grown. This takes the same information and changes it into something that a hiring manager can actually understand. Unless your coffee shop continued to lose money while you worked there, you should be able to show this information rather than just telling them.
  • Use keywords - I know that I've said this before, but it's still true. When you read a job description, make sure that you add the exact keywords that the employer used. This one is huge. Most of the time, resumes are scanned for relevant keywords and the rest aren't even read. If that is how resumes are being sorted (and it definitely is) then be smart and put the keywords in.
  • Proofread, proofread then proofread again - Nothing makes you look as bad as making spelling errors or using the wrong words on your resume. This is your primary marketing tool so make sure that it is spot-on perfect. If you are a poor speller, use spell check and then get a trusted (and hopefully smart) friend to proofread it to make sure that you didn't use the wrong versions of two,to,too or their and they're, your and you're etc.. Once you think that it is perfect, read it again from the bottom up, looking at every word and every bit of punctuation.

Hopefully some of these tips will help you get started and create a winning resume. Good luck!

What are you best tips for making your resume great? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer for HealthcareJobsiteBlog and Nexxt.. Along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.

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