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PostHeaderIcon Five Ways to Make Your Resume Stand Out

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Unemployment is still hovering around 9 percent. That means many of you are looking for work. Here is a story we ran last summer that is back by popular demand. Enjoy:  

We’ve all experienced it – spending hours upon hours trying to find a way to describe how talented you are and how valuable you will be to a potential employer. But how do you create a resume that will stand out from the competition? How do you know if what you’re telling them is what they want to know?

My advice is to stop agonizing by trying to figure out what the other side is thinking because you can’t. What you CAN do is make sure your resume works for you by describing what you can do to help your next employer. Think of it this way: every hiring manager has a need. How can you fill that need? Try these 5 tips to make sure your resume stands out amongst the crowded field of applicants.

1) Your resume must be easy to read.
This is crucial – you’re resume will get passed over without a glance if it’s disorganized and takes work to navigate. You’ll get noticed if your layout is organized and highlights your key strengths clearly. There are many samples available on the Internet and at libraries and career centers. I personally like www.resume-resource.com as it contains many sample formats and examples of resumes for specific industries and career stages.

2) Position your resume to describe yourself as a "problem-solver" and someone who can meet the hiring manager’s needs.

Your resume is your "professional advertisement." Positioning is everything. Whoever receives it will quickly scan it to determine if you offer something that can help them and the company. Writing a descriptive "professional summary" at the beginning of your resume, highlighting your key strengths in a simple and clear format will catch their eye and entice them to read further. Don’t launch right into your job history – you may lose them.

3) Highlight achievements as well as responsibilities.

Employers don’t want you to regurgitate your job description. Instead, they want to know what sets you apart from other candidates and what you’ve accomplished in your past jobs. Remember: how can you help them? If you give specific examples of what you’ve achieved for past employers, they see that as a predictor of your ability to do the same for them. Example: "Achieved 115 percent of sales quota in 2009."

4) Be specific and give examples.

Being vague on your resume can turn off an employer. Don’t say "responsible for all phases of the project" because this tells them nothing about what you contributed. Be specific: "Directly managed 6 projects from inception to completion. Processed entitlements, pulled permits, prepared budgets and schedules and supervised multidisciplinary teams of consultants."

5) Use descriptive words.

Too many resumes look the same and aren’t eye-catching when every bullet point or sentence begins with "responsible for" or just lists basic job responsibilities. Try using descriptors like implemented, managed, achieved, improved, oversaw, spearheaded, created, developed, designed, facilitated, mentored, saved, partnered with, planned, negotiated, trained, etc. Dust off that old thesaurus.

Julie Youngblood has been recruiting top talent nationally for Fortune 500 companies for the last 10 years. She has been a senior recruiter for Toll Brothers Home Builders in San Ramon for the last 6 years and also enjoys individually coaching and advising people who are in a career transition and job search mode. Contact her through allnewsnoblues.com at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated (Wednesday, 11 May 2011 21:19)


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