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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Revitalize your employment prospects with these resume building tips

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You don’t have to look far to tell that the employment market is in dire straits. With millions of Americans looking for work, already competitive job force qualified individuals to make themselves as appealing as possible to potential employers. 

Hundreds of well-credentialed, deserving people make apply to the same job opening, hoping to at least get a chance to explain why they would make a great fit for the position. Often the resume will make the difference between being chosen for the next step in the employment process.

Most people adhere to the typical resume format: name, contact information, statement of purpose, job history, etc. Imagine you’re an employer looking through hundreds of resumes daily; could you really distinguish a qualified candidate among countless people with almost identical professional backgrounds? 

In reality, the resumes with the most commanding presence get the most attention. If you design your resume to stand out among others, you’ll at least ensure that your resume gets a longer glance from a hiring official. Below are a few tips to consider when you’re assembling the latest iteration of your resume. 

Rethink traditional formatting

As I said above, most people follow a fairly universal format when drafting their resumes. A different arrangement of your qualifications could break the monotony of the many resumes that a hiring official reviews each day. 

For example, you could structure your resume to be skills centered, focusing on your abilities relevant to the field. With this format, your skills take precedence over your previous employment as the key focus of your resume. Of course you still list your previous employers, but you do so in a different way. A passage from a skills centered resume might read like this: “Adept at managing complex coding issues with HTML5, as shown in my programming experience with ABC company".

This format essentially flips the usual ordering of a resume. A person may look at your listed experience with a company and wonder exactly what you did with the company. With the skills centered resume, your contributions to that company take priority.

There are no limits on how you can restructure your resume. You could consider a nonlinear resume format centered on pivotal career achievements. Rather than highlight each job you’ve held, this type of resume hinges on your most ambitious accomplishments as a professional. In an interview you can use these accomplishments as a springboard into conversation about how they exemplify your best qualities as a professional. For example, a salesperson could cite the successful transaction of a huge deal for a previous company to show how they perform well with high-pressure scenarios.

Know your audience

It’s absolutely critical that you consider the industry that you’re applying to when you’re designing your resume. While you want to stick out among your peers, you don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb. For instance, if you’re applying to an accounting position, avoid elaborate graphic flourishes on your resume; try to keep your resume unique in its presentation of content while still selling your best attributes. 

To continue the accounting example, your employers won’t give much thought to a candidate’s graphic design capabilities; they want to know if you can crunch numbers well. So try to present your proficiency with numbers in a way that communicates both your ability and your individuality. Your resume should be as brief as possible, no more than a page if you can manage it, so write it to include only the most pertinent information regarding your qualifications. 

Every word on your resume should be crafted to present this portrait of you as the perfect person for the job. You accomplish this by writing your accomplishments and relating those accomplishments to your more tangible skills in precise language. Don’t bother including personal objectives or statements of purpose in your resume—the hiring official knows why you want to be hired. Leave more anecdotal information for your cover letter. 

You have the experience and the skills to succeed. All you need to do is find a way to market yourself on a single piece of paper. Crafting the perfect resume is no easy task, but it’ll be worth the effort when you get the call back from a job posting.

Author Bio:
Stella Walker is a freelance writer where she writes about topics including credit, debt, investment, bankruptcy.

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