For job seekers, a great professional resume is a make-or-break tool. A targeted, well-written resume piques an employer's interest, while an average resume makes you blend in with the crowd. When your dream job is on the line, it pays to spend time creating a document that takes your job applications to the next level.
Highlight Your Accomplishments
The Work Experience section of your resume is more than a list of your previous jobs. It's also an opportunity to show how you shine as an employee. The trick? Don't simply provide a list of responsibilities. Instead, describe your impact on the company. For example, instead of writing "Managed a sales team of five," you might say, "Managed five people and increased team sales by 25 percent." The accomplishments and duties you choose depend on the dream job you're applying for. If the employer needs someone who can plan successful events, you might say, "Doubled attendance of annual fundraising gala in one year." Focusing on results shows potential employers that you have what it takes to succeed in your dream job.
Break Out the Thesaurus
Employers might read through hundreds of resumes during a hiring period. After a while, the documents start to blend together. How can you stand out as you search for your dream job? Change up the language on your professional resume. Stay away from resume buzzwords that are overused to the point that they're nearly meaningless, such as "creative", "motivated" or "extensive experience." In most cases, there's a better, more interesting way to communicate these ideas — one that catches the employer's eye. Instead of saying you "worked with multiple departments", you might say you "collaborated with marketing, sales and design departments." Instead of weak words such as "led," try more powerful words such as "chaired" or "orchestrated."
Get Through Applicant Tracking Systems
If your dream job is at a medium or large company, you may need to contend with applicant tracking systems. These automated systems scan every resume for a job and send only the most qualified applicants to the employer. As the job seeker, you need to figure out how to get through the system. The job requirements are a great place to start. If a job posting asks for five to seven years of experience in civil engineering, state your experience clearly. If it mentions software programs by name, include them in your Skills or Work Experience listing. Keep in mind that applicant tracking systems might not be able to interpret vague job titles and dates. If you're concerned, create a Professional Profile section that provides an overview of your qualifications. Here, you can write things such as "Six years of civil engineering experience" or "Expert in AutoCAD" to help your resume get through.
Finding your dream job is serious business. By taking the time to craft a compelling, unique resume, you can set yourself apart from other job seekers and boost your chances of getting to the next step.
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