Midwest Professional Woman's Group Blog

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Resume tips

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 10, 2010

I spoke with three job seekers this past week who were all well qualified, but all three had the same lament: Nobody was calling them for job interviews. I looked at their resumes and was impressed with their educational background and experience. I also figured out why they weren’t getting calls.

Here is what I learned and how you can use the knowledge to make sure your resume stands out above the rest.

I realized they weren’t getting calls because their resumes didn’t portray them as the most qualified candidates. Could your resume be letting you down? Carefully study and improve your resume with these thoughts in mind:

1. Does your resume reflect how uniquely qualified you are for each job opening? Don’t be lazy or complacent! Diligently modify your cover letter and resume to convince each hiring company you are the best person for the job.

2. Does it include power words and quantifiable results? Don’t just state what you did, show why it mattered.

3. Does it use keywords that were mentioned in the job description? Remember, many recruiters run resumes through a keyword search program, so if you don’t have the right words on your resume, you will automatically be rejected.

4. Is it clearly written and easy to read? If it is filled with jargon or acronyms only people in your past company or industry use, revise the information to be meaningful and impressive for a more general audience.

5. Is it interesting and succinct? Recruiters wade through hundreds of resumes. If you bore or confuse them, they will simply move on to the next one.

6. Does it show that you are qualified for the open position? If your job history has not adequately prepared you for the job, prove you have the abilities through other means, such as by emphasizing your educational background, showing relevant volunteer or freelance experience, or by including examples to prove your expertise.

7. Does it list your qualifications in order of importance and relevance to the job you seek? This sounds like a no-brainer, but if you are an administrative assistant wanting to be a communicator, put your communications experience on top and minimize your admin experience.

8. Is it attractive? A well designed resume makes ample use of white space particularly around the margins and in between sections. Feature no more than two, easy-to-read, typefaces. Make sure type is not too large or too small. Use bullet points to cleanly organize information. Use boldface and italics to draw attention to important elements, but don’t use either excessively.

9. Is it error free? Is your past job history information up to date and correct? Use spell check to check your spelling and grammar, but also review it carefully to make sure spell check didn’t incorrectly “fix” a word. The funniest spell check “miss-fix” I’ve seen was when Microsoft Word fixed the word “position” on a resume to be “prostitution!” Don’t let such a mistake happen to you. Check your job application messages before you hit “send.”

In the coming weeks, I will talk about other ways that you can stand out above other applicants … in your cover letter, in your networking efforts, and in your online presence. In the meantime, radically improve your resume … after all, it can help you Get a Job!


The Get a Job! Tips blog is authored by Kathy Bernard, a corporate communications leader based in St. Louis, Missouri. She is also a blogger, career coach and workshop leader in support of job seekers. She wants to help you … Get a Job! Connect with Kathy on LinkedIn — http://www.linkedin.com/in/kathybernardcommunicator, follow her on Twitter — http://twitter.com/kathybernardmkt, or e-mail her at kathybernard.mktg@yahoo.com. Subscribe to the Get a Job! Tips blog at http://getajob-tips-for-getting-hired.blogspot.com.

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