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Your resume serves as the first (and potentially, the final) point of contact with hiring managers seeking to fill an open position. If it fails to grab their attention, the chances of securing an interview dwindle. It’s not uncommon for hiring managers to be inundated with hundreds of resumes in response to a single job posting. To pare down the overwhelming number of applications to a manageable shortlist, hiring managers often discard resumes that don’t meet their specific criteria.
Some guidelines for your resume:
1. Concise style
As a first step, many resumes are scanned rather than read word for word, at least on the first go-through. That means that keeping things concise and precise will help boost your chances of getting your resume into the interview pile. Unless you have loads of relevant work experience, aim to keep your resume to one page. You can always add extra relevant details in a cover letter or at an interview.
2. Outcomes and results
Prospective employers are interested in more than just your previous workplaces; they want to understand the impact you’ve made. Highlight specific achievements and results, whether it’s increased website traffic, successful project completion, or a certain sales volume. Aim to provide at least one tangible accomplishment for each job you list, demonstrating your ability to drive success.
3. Action verbs
Instead of merely stating your past roles, focus on articulating the actions you took. Whether you spearheaded promotions, mentored teams, recruited talent, drove sales, or devised innovative strategies, using action verbs brings vibrancy and focus to
Including measurable results in
5. Increasing responsibility
Listing each role you’ve held, including those involving slight shifts or incremental responsibility with the same employer, is beneficial when creating
This is your opportunity to customize
Be sure to include any accolades you’ve received as an employee (or student, if you’re a recent graduate). Additionally, if you’ve received commendations in your most recent employee review, consider including those results. Even being recognized as the employee of the month at a fast-food restaurant you worked at during school can highlight your work ethic and dedication. These honors and acknowledgments demonstrate your commitment to your work and can provide valuable insights into your character as a diligent employee.
A few other things employers might look at
While you’re polishing up
- Your Credit Report: Your credit report isn’t just used by lenders to gauge your financial responsibility. Depending on your state law and local regulations, it can also be used by potential employers to gauge how responsible you are with your life in general. A clean credit report can make the difference between getting hired and not getting hired. Pull a copy of your report before sending out resumes to make sure it’s error-free. If you have a load of debt, consider transferring it to low-cost credit cards and paying it down quickly to clean up your report a bit.
- Your Social Media Profile: Your internet reputation has a lot to do with your hire-ability these days. Clean up your photos and posts, and run a Google search on yourself (see Are Your Social Media Habits About to Cost You Your Job?) to make sure nothing too unsavory comes up. Photos of or posts about having a couple of drinks on a night out shouldn’t hurt you unless you’re applying to a religious or non-profit organization that’s very picky about reputation, but you should remove everything that might suggest you like to party hard or that you have recently made poor life choices. More and more employers are checking up on social media, so make sure it’s under control before you apply!
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