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10 Tips for Writing a Killer Resume

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10 Tips for Writing a Killer Resume

By Michelle Yozzo Drake

No matter how technologically advanced job hunting has become over the years, there has always been - and will continue to be - one constant: the resume.

Whether it's an electronic file tacked onto an e-mail or an elegantly printed document on ivory watermarked paper, a resume is the gateway between "I'm calling about the job ad you placed..." and "Yes, I'm available for an interview." It's your first opportunity to tell a potential employer that they've found the right person for the job in you. It can mean the difference between trips to the boardroom for meetings...and trips to the unemployment line for benefits.

But no pressure, right?

With good reason, a lot of people agonize over writing a resume. It's a bit of an art form, like writing ad copy that jumps off the page and makes the consumer think, "I've GOT to buy this product!" In fact, it's EXACTLY like that: you have to write a compelling enough resume so that your accomplishments and experience jump off the page and make your potential employer say, "I've GOT to get [insert Your Name here] in for an interview."

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So how do you accomplish that? Well, you can start by following my "10 Tips for Writing a Killer Resume" to help you stand out from the pack (remember, there is almost always a pack of other applicants and a stack of their resumes).

Tip #1: Pay attention to the ad you're answering. A lot of times there are lots of clues in it that will tell you the type of things that are important to the company.

Tip #2: Your resume is your personal sales brochure. While I would stay away from exclamation points and an overabundance of cliched jargon, don't be afraid to use powerful words that sell to talk up yourself. Make sure you use action verbs so that your potential employer knows you're the kind of person that gets the job done.

Tip #3: Customize your resume so that it applies to the position being offered. Avoid acronyms and any terms that aren't universal.

Tip #4: If you don't have a lot of experience or if you have too much experience, go for a skills-driven resume. Traditionally, we're taught that chronological is the way to go, but in some cases, you're better off gearing your resume to the different types of skill sets. Pick a certain area that you want to highlight and then give examples from a variety of jobs as to how you support that skill.

Tip #5: Highlight your skills to project why you're the best person for the job. But don't be arrogant or over-the-top. Emphasize your achievements and give credit to the teams you've worked on. No one wants to hire the person who puts the "I" in "team."

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Tip #6: Connect your experience and your skills directly to job you're applying for, especially if it's a bit of a leap. If you used to be an administrative assistant and now you're applying for a sales position, twist your administrative duties to emphasize how you'll use them to be an incredible sales person. "Answered phones" can become "Interacted pleasantly and efficiently with clientele via the phone."

Tip #7: Support your experience and skills with statistics, endorsements, etc. These will substantiate your claims and impress your potential employer.

Tip #8: Don't lie! Be truthful and accurate because lies WILL come back to bite you on the rear.

Tip #9: Make sure you include your education. If you don't have a lot of education, your experience can compensate and in some cases prove to be even more valuable than a degree. Likewise, if you don't have a lot of experience, your education can let your potential employer know that you have the knowledge and can do the job.

Tip #10: DON'T FORGET YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION! How will you know you've got the interview if no one can reach you?!

 

Remember to keep the right goal in mind. Your resume is not going to get you the job, so don't make that the goal. Your goal should be to get the interview that will get you the job.


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“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” – Helen Keller