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How to Get Your Resume Noticed

What makes a resume stand out above the rest? It's not fancy fonts and colored paper. Instead, it's strong, results-oriented writing that concisely conveys your skills, experience and the value you can bring to the job. Here are a few tips for effective resume writing:

  • Highlight results - Employers care about the value you can bring to the job. Don't just list your skills and job experiences without also summarizing the results these attributes produced. Relate your results to the specific job you are applying for and qualify your impact where possible, using dollar totals, numbers and percentages when applicable. For example, instead of listing your experience as: "Account manager for advertising agency," grab their attention with: "Managed eight strategic accounts billing in excess of $12M annually."
  • Use the right keywords - Since resumes are often filtered by text scanning software, using the right keywords are critical. Use words from the job posting to ensure your keywords get noticed.
  • Energize your resume with the right action verbs - Use positive and active words to describe your experience and accomplishments. Words like prepared, managed, developed, championed, monitored, and presented will cause your resume to stand out.
  • Embrace white space - Take a tip from ad design 101: unused white space stands out. Don't crowd your resume by filling it up with unnecessary text. Can't fill the page? Increase your line spacing to compensate and use the white space to your advantage!
  • Don't go overboard - Don't over-sell or over-hype your experience. Be detailed but don't belabor unnecessary points. How long should your resume be? Your resume should be as long as it needs to be to best showcase and market your skills for your target position, but no longer. If that sounds too elusive, try this for a general guideline: If you are just entering the workforce, 1 or 2 pages are appropriate. If you're mid-career, 2-3 pages is more acceptable.
  • Get a second set of eyes on it - Before you start shopping your resume around, have a trusted and professional resource review your resume and provide feedback.

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