Is your resume holding you back? Along with a cover letter, your resume is the only hope you have of convincing the hiring manager that you're worthy of an interview. With so much riding on this one document, it's important that you put in the extra effort to make it perfect. Follow these seven tips to craft a flawless resume and land that dream job.
1. Work in Keywords
As you review the job description, pick out keywords that relate to the position. Include them in your resume to ensure that it makes the cut if the potential employer uses an applicant tracking system.
2. Choose an Attractive Format
A neat, polished resume sends the right message to hiring managers. Make sure the formatting is consistent throughout and use bullets to organize information. Opt for a professional font and allow for a healthy balance of text and white space. Don't clutter your resume with unnecessary graphics or over-the-top fonts.
3. Include Action Verbs
When listing your job duties, use strong action verbs to describe each task. Rather than stating that you "Supervised six employees," write that you "Led a team of professionals."
4. Provide Quantitative Data
Back up your facts with figures to give the hiring manager a true picture of your achievements and abilities. It's not enough to list that you "Increased sales in every quarter last year." Instead, state that you "Topped sales records by 15 percent for the year" to provide quantitative proof of your sales skills.
5. Keep It Brief
Your resume doesn't need to be long and wordy to attract attention. In fact, most hiring managers prefer a succinct resume that delivers all the pertinent information about your education, skills, work experience and significant achievements. Try to limit your resume to a single page. If it extends onto a second page, reduce the font size or cut out some unnecessary info.
6. Make Sure It's Error-Free
Imagine receiving an error-laden resume from an applicant that claims to be "detail-oriented." Each document you send out should be error-free. Review your resume several times for spelling errors, grammar mistakes and formatting issues. Ask a trusted friend, colleague or family member to proofread it as well to get a fresh perspective.
7. Tailor It to Each Position
Resumes are not one-size-fits-all, so you should never send the same resume for two different jobs. Adjust each document to fit the position description of the job for which you're applying. Change up keywords, lists of skills and work experience information to make it relevant to each job.
Whether you're a recent college graduate looking for your first job or a seasoned industry veteran yearning for a change of scenery, your resume is the first step to landing that dream job. By following these seven tips, you can make sure your resume is impressive enough to score an interview.
Photo courtesy of Madeline Sobeck at Flickr.com