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Employers are bombarded with hundreds of resumes when they post a position. Whether you’re graduating and joining the workforce for the first time or searching for new job opportunities later in life, you’ll find that your chances of getting a response are greatly improved if you submit a professional resume.
A potential employer should be able to glance over your resume and easily find what type of education you have, what industries you’ve worked in and what skills you bring to the table. Make your resume scannable by including plenty of white space and, if possible, fitting your key accomplishments on a single page.
The top of your resume should contain your name and contact information. Divide the remainder of your resume into clear categories. Common categories include “education,” “employment history” and “skills.” Keep your resume organized by using bold text to highlight category headings and outline your qualifications with bulleted lists.
Include only relevant information on your resume. Consider each category a highlight reel of your skills and accomplishments – not a play-by-play analysis. Don’t include nonessential personal information like hobbies, unless you gained specific job-related skills through these activities.
Although everything on your resume should be true (never include false information on an application for employment or resume), you control the tone of your text. As you outline your previous jobs, use action verbs to define your responsibilities and accomplishments.
If you produced quantifiable results, like increasing sales or lowering staff turnover by a certain percentage, be sure to include these numbers. Be as specific and thorough as possible when defining your worth.
Finally, tailor your resume to fit the job you’re applying for. Use the employment ad to determine what skills the employer is looking for and make sure you highlight those skills on your resume. Don’t limit yourself to only skills you’ve used in previous positions either. If you developed leadership and teamwork skills when playing sports in school, include these on your list. If you’ve been a homemaker, include the time-management, budgeting and organizational skills you developed managing your household.
Landing the perfect job can be a time-consuming and challenging process. Putting extra effort into a well-organized, clearly written resume increases your chances of success. Remember that a professional resume suggests what type of employee you’re likely to be. A poorly organized resume that’s hard to read and filled with spelling errors does the same.