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A Great Written Resume Opens Many Doors

In this age of online everything, there are still the basics, and the professional written resume is one of them. Regardless of how you transmit your resume to potential employers—either as a pdf by email or U.S. mail—it is still the best way to present your credentials for an employment position. Here are some ways you can make your resume stand out.

  1. Get Organized. A resume is an employer’s first look at a potential candidate for a specific position as well as an addition to the company’s employee roster. Therefore, present your work experience first, highlighting the most relevant activities or projects for the position you seek with the company, beginning with the most current position you have or had. Education credentials come next (do not include your high school information) followed by other relevant information (i.e., special skills training).
  1. Introduce Yourself. Before listing your work experience, education and other credentials, prepare a brief paragraph about YOU—what you’re doing now, special skills and/or relevant awards and achievements. Make sure all of this information is contained in the rest of your resume.
  1. Keep it Simple and Brief. Most of your resume—the most important information that pertains to the job for which you are competing—should fit on one page. Therefore, use bullets to concisely and clearly explain each job you held and, especially the responsibilities and skills that apply to the position you are applying for. Use verbs or “action words” to start off each bullet point, such as “Led,” “Increased,” “Built,” or “Managed.”
  1. Use White Space. Leave plenty of space in the margins above, below and on either side of your text. Avoid dense text, complicated sentences that ramble on. Remember, use bullets and action words to highlight key roles, accomplishments and skills development.
  1. Check For Typos and Grammar. Check the details before finalizing your resume. A simple typographical error or spelling mistake sends the worst possible message that you are not detail oriented and careful about the quality of your work. Have a friend look over your resume before you send it to a potential employer; another set of eyes can be helpful.
  1. Focus on How You Can Help the Employer. Don’t be shy about your achievements, especially if you can translate them easily to work you could do at the company. Research into the company via its website may help you identify areas where you think you can help the company.
  1. Tell the Truth. Never, ever claim to have a credential that you don’t. Work experience and education credentials can be easily checked. One false claim will disqualify you immediately from consideration. Avoid exaggerating the credentials you do have.
  1. One Resume DOES NOT FIT ALL. Be prepared to make adjustments to your resume for each potential employer. Different jobs, areas and levels of responsibilities will require that you highlight different areas of your experience.

In summary, take some time to think about your skills and qualifications, and spell them out simply and effectively. This resume then becomes a foundational document for your interactions with potential employers and for your online job hunt as well.