25 Tips for Getting Your Resume Noticed

  1. Don’t Put Everything on There
    Your resume should not have every work experience you’ve ever had listed on it. Think of your resume not as a comprehensive list of your career history, but as a marketing document selling you as the perfect person for the job. For each resume you send out, you’ll want to highlight only the accomplishments and skills that are most relevant to the job at hand (even if that means you don’t include all of your experience). Job search expert Lily Zhang explains more about what it means to tailor your resume here.
  2. But Keep a Master List of All Jobs
    Since you’ll want to be swapping different information in and out depending on the job you’re applying to, keep a resume outline or master resume on your computer where you keep any information you’ve ever included on a resume: old positions, bullet points tailored for different applications, special projects that only sometimes make sense to include. Then, when you’re crafting each resume, it’s just a matter of cutting and pasting relevant information together. Think of this as your brag file.
  3. Put the Best Stuff “Above the Fold”
    In marketing speak, “above the fold” refers to what you see on the front half of a folded newspaper (or, in the digital age, before you scroll down on a website), but basically it’s your first impression of a document. In resume speak, it means you should make sure your best experiences and accomplishments are visible on the top third of your resume. This top section is what the hiring manager is going to see first—and what will serve as a hook for someone to keep on reading. So focus on putting your best, most relevant experiences first—and then check out these five other marketing tricks to get your resume noticed.
  4. Ditch the Objective Statement
    According to Zhang, the only occasion when an objective section makes sense is when you’re making a huge career change and need to explain from the get-go why your experience doesn’t match up with the position you’re applying to. In every other case? Consider whether a summary statement would be right for you—or just nix it altogether to save space and focus on making the rest of your resume stellar.
  5. Keep it (Reverse) Chronological
    There are lots of different ways to organize the information on your resume—like the functional resume or combination resume—but the good old reverse chronological (where your most recent experience is listed first) is still your best bet. Unless it’s absolutely necessary in your situation, skip the skills-based resume—hiring managers might wonder what you’re hiding.
  6. Keep it to a Page
    The two- (or more!) page resume is a hotly debated topic, but the bottom line is this—you want the information here to be concise, and making yourself keep it to one page is a good way to force yourself to do this. If you truly have enough relevant and important experience, training, and credentials to showcase on more than one page of your resume, then go for it. But if you can tell the same story in less space? Do. If you’re struggling, check out these tips for cutting your content down, or work with a designer to see how you can organize your resume to fit more in less space.
  7. Consider an Online Supplement
    Can’t figure out how to tell your whole story on one page, or want to be able to include some visual examples of your work? Instead of trying to have your resume cover everything, cover the most important details on that document, and then include a link to your personal website, where you can dive more into what makes you the ideal candidate.

Formatting

  1. Keep it Simple
    We’ll talk about getting creative in order to stand out in a minute. But the most basic principle of good resume formatting and design? Keep it simple. Use a basic but modern font, like Helvetica, Arial, or Century Gothic. Make your resume easy on hiring managers’ eyes by using a font size between 10 and 12 and leaving a healthy amount of white space on the page. You can use a different font or typeface for your name, your resume headers, and the companies for which you’ve worked, but keep it simple and keep it consistent. No matter what resume format you choose, your main focus here should be on readability for the hiring manager. That being said, you should feel free to…
  2. Carefully Stand Out
    Really want your resume stand out from the sea of Times New Roman? Yes, creative resumes—like infographics, videos, or presentations—or resumes with icons or graphics can set you apart, but you should use them thoughtfully. If you’re applying through an ATS, keep to the standard formatting without any bells and whistles so the computer can read it effectively. If you’re applying to a more traditional company, don’t get too crazy, but feel free to add some tasteful design elements or a little color to make it pop. No matter what, don’t do it unless you’re willing to put in the time, creativity, and design work to make it awesome.
  3. Make Your Contact Info Prominent
    You don’t need to include your address on your resume anymore (really!), but you do need to make sure to include a phone number and professional email address (not your work address!) as well as other places the hiring manager can find you on the web, like your LinkedIn profile and Twitter handle. (Implicit in this is that you keep these social media profiles suitable for prospective employers.)
  4. Design for Skimmability
    You’ve heard before that hiring managers don’t spend a lot of time on each individual resume. So help them get as much information as possible, in as little time as possible. These 12 small formatting changes will make a huge difference.
  5. Get Help From a Professional
    Know that design skills aren’t your strong suit but want your resume to look stunning? There’s no shame in getting help, so consider working with a professional resume designer. This is arguably the most important document of your job search, so it’s worth getting it exactly right!

Work Experience

  1. Keep it Recent, Keep it Relevant
    As a rule, you should only show the most recent 10-15 years of your career history and only include the experience relevant to the positions to which you are applying. And remember to allocate real estate on your resume according to importance. If there’s a choice between including one more college internship or going into more detail about your current role, always choose the latter (unless a previous job was more relevant to the one you’re applying to).
  2. No Relevant Experience? No Worries!
    Don’t panic if you don’t have any experience that fits the bill. Instead, Zhang explains, focus your resume on your relevant and transferrable skills along with any related side or academic projects, and then make sure to pair it with a strong cover letter telling the narrative of why you’re ideal for the job.
  3. Curate Your Bullet Points
    No matter how long you’ve been in a job, or how much you’ve accomplished there, you shouldn’t have more than five or six bullets in a given section. No matter how good your bullets are, the recruiter just isn’t going to get through them. Check out these tips for writing impressive bullet points.
  4. Bring it Down a Level
    You may be tempted to throw in tons of industry jargon so you sound like you know what you’re talking about, but ultimately you want your resume to be understandable to the average person. Remember that the first person who sees your resume might be a recruiter, an assistant, or even a high-level executive—and you want to be sure that it is readable, relevant, and interesting to all of them.
  5. Give ’Em the Numbers
    Use as many facts, figures, and numbers as you can in your bullet points. How many people were impacted by your work? By what percentage did you exceed your goals? By quantifying your accomplishments, you really allow the hiring manager to picture the level of work or responsibility you needed to achieve them. Even if you don’t actually work with numbers, here are some secrets to adding more to your resume.
  6. Take it One Step Further
    People hire performers, so you want to show that you didn’t just do stuff, but that you got stuff done! As you look at your bullet points, think about how you can take each statement one step further and add in what the benefit was to your boss or your company. By doing this, you clearly communicate not only what you’re capable of, but also the direct benefit the employer will receive by hiring you. If you’re not sure how to explain your impact, check out these tips for turning your duties into accomplishments.
  7. Show—Don’t Tell—Your Soft Skills
    Describing soft skills on a resume often starts to sound like a list of meaningless buzzwords, fast. But being a “strong leader” or an “effective communicator” are important characteristics you want to get across. Think about how you can demonstrate these attributes in your bullet points without actually saying them. Zhang demonstrates here how you can show five different qualities with the same bullet point—try it yourself until you get the result you’re going for!
  8. Don’t Neglect Non-Traditional Work
    There’s no law that says you can only put full-time or paid work on your resume. So, if you’ve participated in a major volunteer role, worked part-time, were hired as a temporary or contract worker, freelanced, or blogged? Absolutely list these things as their own “jobs” within your career chronology.
  9. Mix Up Your Word Use
    If every bullet in your resume starts with “Responsible for,” readers will get bored very quickly. Use our handy list of better verbs to mix it up!
  10. Use Keywords
    Use keywords in your resume: Scan the job description, see what words are used most often, and make sure you’ve included them in your bullet points. Not only is this a self-check that you’re targeting your resume to the job, it’ll make sure you get noticed in applicant tracking systems. Stuck on which words to include? Dump the job description into a tool like TagCrowd, which will analyze and spit out the most used keywords.
  11. Avoid Empty Words
    What words shouldn’t you include? Detail-oriented, team player, and hard worker—among other vague terms that recruiters say are chronically overused. We bet there’s a better way to describe how awesome you are.

Education

  1. Experience First, Education Second
    Unless you’re a recent graduate, put your education after your experience. Chances are, your last couple of jobs are more important and relevant to you getting the job than where you went to college.
  2. Also Keep it Reverse Chronological
    Usually, you should lay down your educational background by listing the most recent or advanced degree first, working in reverse chronological order. But if older coursework is more specific to the job, list that first to grab the reviewer’s attention.
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The One Thing You Should Do To Set Your Resume Apart

I work with many highly qualified candidates and help them improve their resume package, and there is one thing I tell all my clients they should do to maximize their chance of a response:

Follow up with a phone call or email to every job you apply to.

That’s it. One week after you apply, call or email both the HR person and hiring manager. A call is probably best, and since you will most likely get their voice mail anyway, go ahead and leave a message! A CONCISE and TO-THE-POINT message. Let them hear your enthusiasm and ssy:

Your name
the position you applied for
why you are a great candidate for the position. Specifically, why you are interested in the job and why you would bring value to the company.
This is a solid tactic that will set you part from the applicants who DIDN’T call to follow up, it will show that you are aggressive and can take the initiative–ie qualities that most hiring managers want to hire!

Be a little pushy–it’s okay, you won’t offend anyone as long as you are POLITE, DIRECT, and PROFESSIONAL at all times.

God luck in your job search!

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Quick Changes That Help Your Resume Get Noticed

There is certainly a time and a place for a resume overhaul. Taking a couple hours to really clean up your resume is worth doing before you start a job search, or even just once a year as a tune-up.

But sometimes, you don’t have that kind of time. Sometimes, you just have a few minutes, and you want to spend them giving your resume a quick polishing-up. And for those times, we made you this list of resume updates that only take a few minutes, but that can make a big difference in making your resume shine.

Choose how much time you have, pick a (mini) project, and get ready for your resume to be that much more eye-catching.

If You Have 2 Minutes

If it’s not done already, switch the font of your resume to Helvetica, Arial, or Times New Roman—in other words, make sure it’s not hard to read (or stuck in Word’s standard Calibri). Using a common, clean font may not make your resume the prettiest out there, but it will make it more readable (and less likely to be rejected by applicant tracking systems).

Remove “References Available Upon Request” (if they want references, they’ll ask for them!), and use the extra space to add a detail about your abilities or accomplishments.

Delete the career objective. That boring boilerplate “I am a hard working professional who wants to work in [blank] industry” is a bit obvious—why else would you be submitting your resume?—and takes up valuable space.

Spell check! and correct any mistakes.

Save your resume as a PDF if it’s in any other format. That way, the formatting won’t get messed up when your resume is opened on a different computer.

Change the file name from “Resume” to “[First Name] [Last Name] Resume”—it makes things easier for hiring managers and ensures your resume doesn’t get lost in the crowd.

Remove your address. If you’re not local, recruiters might not look any further. If you are, recruiters may take your commute time into account and turn you down if they think it would be too long.

In its place, add a link to your LinkedIn profile, as well as any other relevant social media handles (Twitter if it’s professional, Instagram or Flickr if you’re applying to social media or creative positions). Caveat: Never include Facebook, no matter how clean you keep it.

Don’t want to drop your whole ugly LinkedIn URL onto your resume? (Hint: You shouldn’t.) Create a custom URL to your public profile using simply /yourname (or some similar, simple variation if somebody already has your name). LinkedIn has instructions on its website.

Make all of your hyperlinks live. Your resume is most likely going to be read on a computer, so making things like your email address, LinkedIn and other social profiles, and personal websites clickable makes it easier for the recruiter to learn more about you.

Omit any references to your birthdate, marital status, or religion. Since it’s illegal for employers to consider this when looking at your application (at least in the U.S.), they can’t request it (and offering it makes you look a little clueless).

If you’re more than three years out of college, remove your graduation year. Recruiters only really want to know that you got a degree, and you don’t want them to inadvertently discriminate based on your age.

While you’re at it, do a little rearranging, and move education down below your experience. Unless you’re a recent graduate, chances are your last one or two jobs are more important and relevant to you getting the job.

To improve readability, increase the line spacing (also called leading) to at least 120% of the font size. To do this in Word, go to Format and select Paragraph. In the pulldown under Line Spacing, choose Exactly and set the spacing to two points above the size of your font (so, 12 if your font is 10 point).

Need a little more space to work with? Reduce your top and bottom margins to 0.5″ and your side margins to no less than 0.75″. This will keep your resume clean and readable but give you more room to talk about what you’ve got.

If You Have 5 Minutes

Remove anything high school-related unless you’re a year out of college or need to bulk up your resume and did something highly relevant (and awesome) during your high school years.

Update your skills section. Add any new skills you’ve gained, and remove anything that is a little dated (nobody wants to hear that you have Microsoft Word experience anymore—they expect it).

If you have lots of skills related to a position—say, foreign language, software, and leadership skills—try breaking out one of those sections and listing it on its own (“Language Skills” or “Software Skills”).

Double check that formatting is consistent across your resume. You want all headers to be in the same style, all indentations to line up, all bullet points to match, and the like. You don’t want the styling to look sloppy!

Find any acronyms, and write out the full name of the title, certification, or organization. You should include both, at least the first time, to make sure the recruiter knows what you’re talking about and so an applicant tracking system will pick it up no matter which format it is looking for. For example: Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Unless you are a designer or are submitting a (carefully crafted) creative resume, remove any photos or visual elements. On a more traditional resume, they generally just distract from the information at hand (and can confuse applicant tracking systems).

If you have gaps of a few months in your work history, swap out the usual start and end dates for each position with years only (e.g., 2010-2012).

Swap out a couple of your boring verbs for some more powerful (and interesting) ones (check out our list if you need inspiration).

Swap out a couple of generic adjectives or titles (words like “detail-oriented” or “experienced” are overused and don’t tell a recruiter much) with stronger language that better describes your more unique strengths.

Worked multiple jobs within the same organization? Learn how to list them right on your resume, then update it as such.

As a rule, you should only show the most recent 10-15 years of your career history and only include the experience relevant to the positions to which you are applying. So if you have anything really dated or random, remove it and use the space to bulk up other sections or add something more relevant.

Go through line by line and take note of any orphan words (single words left on a line by themselves). See how you can edit the previous line so they can fit—making your resume look cleaner and opening up extra lines for you to do other things with.

Make your document easier to skim by adding divider lines between sections. Check out section three of this great guide to resume formatting from LifeClever for instructions.

Include any numbers on your resume? Go through and change them all to numerical form, instead of written out (i.e., 30% instead of thirty percent). Even small numbers that are often spelled out should be written numerically—it makes them pop to the reviewer and saves space.

Read your resume out loud. This will not only help you catch any spelling or grammar errors, but it will also help you notice any sentences that sound awkward or that are hard to understand.

If You Have 10-15 Minutes

Look at your resume “above the fold.” In other words, take a close look at the top third of your resume—the part that will show up on the screen when the hiring manager clicks “open” on that PDF. That’s what’s going to make your first impression—so make sure it serves as a hook that makes the hiring manager eager to read more.

Make sure you have no more than 6-7 bullet points for any given position. If you do? Cut and condense. No matter how long you’ve been in a job or how good your bullets are, the recruiter just isn’t going to get through them.

Give your resume to someone who doesn’t know you well to look at for 30 seconds. Then ask: What are the three most memorable things? What’s the narrative? Take this feedback and think about how you can adjust your resume to get it closer to where you want.

Similarly, drop your resume into a word cloud generator and see which keywords are popping out. If the most prominent ones aren’t what you want to be remembered by, or if there are important words that aren’t present, think about how you can tweak your resume to make that more clear.

Go through your bullet points, and add as many numbers and percentages as you can to quantify your work. How many people were impacted? By what percentage did you exceed your goals? (And, yes, it’s OK to estimate as long as you can roughly prove it.)

Pick a few statements to take one step further, and add in what the benefit was to your boss or your company. By doing this, you clearly communicate not only what you’re capable of, but also the direct benefit the employer will receive by hiring you.

Consider adding a qualifications section. (Perhaps in lieu of your now-deleted “Career Objective?”) This should be a six-sentence (or bullet pointed) section that concisely presents the crème of the crop of your achievements, major skills, and important experiences. By doing this, you’re both appeasing any applicant tracking systems with keywords and giving the hiring manager the juicy, important bits right at the top.

Update your resume header to make it pop. You don’t have to have a ton of design knowledge to make a header that looks sleek and catches a recruiter’s eye—check out this example for some simple, text-based inspiration. (Hint: Use this same header on your resume and cover letter to make your “personal brand” look really put together.)

Need to fill up more space on your resume, or feel like you’re light on the experience? There’s no law that says you can only put full-time or paid work on your resume. So, if you’ve participated in a major volunteer role, worked part-time, freelanced, or blogged? Add a couple of these things as their own “jobs” within your career chronology.

If you need more space on your resume, check and see if any of your formatting decisions are taking up unnecessary space. Does your header take up too much at the top? Do you have any extra line breaks that you don’t really need? Tinker around with the formatting and see how much space you can open up (without your resume looking crowded or messy).

Look at each bullet point and make sure it’s understandable to the average person. Remember that the first person who sees your resume might be a recruiter, an assistant, or even a high-level executive—and you want to be sure that it is readable, relevant, and interesting to all of them.

Make sure all of the experience on your resume is updated. Add any awards you’ve received, new skills you’ve taken on, articles you’ve published, or anything else awesome you’ve done.

Hop over to your LinkedIn profile, and make any updates you’ve just made to your resume to your summary and experience sections there.

Email three of your friends or professional contacts asking (nicely!) for a peek at their resumes. You might be able to get some inspiration for your own (or even help them out).

Finally, get that baby out there and get yourself a new job!

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21 Things NOT TO INCLUDE on your resume

I’ve reviewed hundreds of resumes over the past ten years and have to say, 90% of them are lousy. Here is a list of 21 things NOT TO INCLUDE in your resume–eliminate these and you will be closer to creating the best resume possible.

Lies–today, almost any lie can and will be exposed, so while your resume is a marketing tool where you need to show your skills in their best light, do not make anything up. Show your accomplishments in their most positive light, but don’ t exaggerate your contributions.
Don’t include a picture of yourself, handsome.
Delete “References on Request.” That is implied and the hiring manager will request them if and when they are needed (a good thing because that means you are being seriously considered).
Or better yet, submit your references along with your resume–most people don’t do this and it might set you apart from the pack.
Don’t fail to include a cover letter. That is the default, whether the ad you are responding to mentions it or not. It doesn’t have to be in MS Word or pfd format, it can be in the body of the email. Your email subject line should clearly indicate what is inside, such as “Application for Construction Manager position”
Delete “Phone” or “Cell” when it precedes your phone number; the hiring manager knows what a phone number looks like J. Same with “email:”
Delete “Hobbies and Interests” unless they are directly related to the position you are applying for.
Delete your year of graduation unless its recent, and don’t list your high school unless it was recent and you didn’t go to college.
Don’t list your GPA unless you got a 3.75 or better.
Don’t list your age, marital status, social security number(!) or number of kids.
Delete “MS Outlook” “email” and “Internet-savvy” in the skills area. It’s 2012–Australian Aborigines in the outback with no roads know how to use the Internet. You know how to use email? Wow that sets you apart!
Delete “Telephone skills” and “Filing skills” Really? You know how to use a telephone? That will impress the hiring manager. And since when is Filing a “skill?”
Use this: “(213) 555-1212” instead of this: “Phone: (213) 555-1212”
Only list one phone number and one email address on your resume
Choose your email address carefully: Don’t use the email of your current employer. (You’d be surprised, it happens all the time). While HotSexyGuy1972@gmail.com is a fine email address for the babes, for your resume you want something more conservative. Note: Use gmail or hotmail; don’t use yahoo.com or aol.com. Trust me on this.
Don’t include every job you’ve ever had…that 6-week stint selling shoes when you were in college probably isn’t relevant. Go back 10-15 years at the most.
Don’t use emoticons or any other popular texting lingo. If your resume includes “LOL” or ROTFL get rid of them. Right away, please.
$10 Words. Obviously you must use professional tone, language and words, but your goal should be to write at 10th grade level. Remember, your resume is a marketing document designed to sell the hiring manager on YOU.
Don’t include a “Job Objective.” Ten years ago, an objective was standard on most resumes. Recently, the entire world collectively realized that the objective adds no value to the resume and takes up valuable top-of-page real estate, so it has been replaced with a descriptive job title and summary of qualifications, usually.
Hint: rather than naming your resume file with “resume.doc” name it with the more descriptive and personal “John Smith – Experienced Medical Assistant Resume.doc.”
Please, no matter what, don’t use Comic Sans Serif or any other cutesy font. Trust me, just don’t do it. Use Times or Arial. Verdana or Garamond if you absolutely insist on being fancy. For most fonts, 10 point is too small and 12 point is too big. 11 point is just about right.
Don’t do anything crazy with the layout and formatting. I also suggest not using the standard resume templates that come with MS Word. Experienced hiring managers have seen them time and time before. Be original or hire an expert to help you.

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24 Real Simple Resume Tips Anyone Can Use

There are so many articles on resume tips but sometimes it needs to just be simple. Hope you enjoy these well crafted 24 Simple resume tips. You might want to use it like a check list or litmus test for your own resume.

  1. What IS a resume anyway?
    Remember: A Resume is a MARKETING PIECE–not a “career obituary!”
    2.What’s a resume ABOUT?
    It’s NOT about past jobs! IT’S ABOUT YOU, and how you performed in those past jobs–which predict how you might perform in a future job.
  2. What’s the FASTEST way to improve a resume?
    Remove everything that starts with “responsibilities included …” and replace it with on-the-job ACCOMPLISHMENTS.
  3. What the COMMONEST MISTAKE made by resume writers?
    Leaving out their Job Objective! (Equivalent to: Somebody knocks on your door. You open it and say, “Hello, what do you want?” They say, “Duh …”)
  4. What’s the FIRST STEP in writing a resume?
    Decide on a job target (or “job objective”) that can be stated in about 5 or 6 words. Anything beyond that is “fluff” and indicates lack of clarity and direction.
  5. HOW FAR BACK should you go in your Work History?
    Far enough; and not TOO far. About 10 or 15 years is enough–UNLESS your “juiciest” work experience is from farther back.
  6. Don’t include “Hobbies” on a resume.
    UNLESS the activity is somehow relevant to your job objective. OR it clearly reveals a characteristic that supports your job objective. (A hobby of Sky Diving (adventure, courage) might seem relevant to some job objectives (Security Guard?) but not to others.)
  7. Don’t include ethnic or religious affiliations (inviting pre-interview discrimination) UNLESS it SUPPORTS your job objective
    For example, include “Association of Black Social Workers” IF you’re applying for Director of Inner City Youth Programs. This example is fictitious.
  8. Employers HATE parchment paper and pretentious brochure-folded resume “presentations.”
    They think they’re phony, and toss them out.
  9. Don’t fold a laser-printed resume right along a line of text.
    The “ink” could flake off along the fold.
  10. Don’t MYSTIFY the reader about your SEX; they’ll go nuts til they know whether you’re male or female.
    And while they’re worrying about that, they’re NOT thinking about what you can do for them. So if your name is Lee or Robin or Pat or anything else not clearly male or female, use a Mr. or Ms. prefix.
  11. What if you don’t have any EXPERIENCE in the kind of work you want to do?
    GET SOME! Find a place that will let you do some VOLUNTEER work right away. You only need a brief, concentrated period of volunteer training (for example, 1 day/week for a month) to have at least SOME experience to put on your resume.

Also, look at some of the volunteer work you’ve done in the past and see if any of THAT helps document some skills you’ll need for your new job.

  1. What if you have GAPS in your work experience?
    You could start by LOOKING at it differently. If you were doing ANYTHING valuable (though unpaid) during those so-called “gaps,” you could just insert THAT into the work-history section of your resume to fill the hole–for example: “2004-2005 Full-time parent” or “2002-2003 Maternity leave and family management” or “Travel and study,” or “Full-time student,” or, “Parenting plus community service.”
  2. What if you worked for only ONE employer for 20 or 30 years?
    Then list separately each different position you held there, so your job progression within the company is more obvious.
  3. What if you have a fragmented, scrambled-up work history, with lots of short-term jobs?
    To minimize the job-hopper image, combine several similar jobs into one “chunk,” for example:

2003-2005 Secretary/receptionist – Jones Bakery; Micro Corp.; Carter Jewelers.
OR
2004-2006 Waiter/Busboy – McDougal’s Restaurant; Burger-King; Traders Coffee Shop.

ALSO you can just DROP some of the less-important or briefest jobs. But DON’T drop a job, even when it lasted a short time, if that was where you acquired important skills or experience.

  1. Students can make their resume look neater by listing seasonal jobs very simply.
    Use something such as “Spring 2006” or “Summer 2006” rather than 6/06 to 9/06. (The word “Spring” can be in very tiny letters, say 8-point in size.)
  2. What if your job title doesn’t reflect your actual level of responsibility?
    When you list it on the resume, either REPLACE it with a more appropriate job title (say “Office Manager” instead of “Administrative Assistant” if that’s more realistic) OR use “their” job title AND your fairer one together “Administrative Assistant (Office Manager)”.
  3. Got your degree from a different country?
    You can say: “Degree equivalent to U.S. Bachelor’s Degree in Economics; Tehran, Iran.”
  4. What if you don’t quite have your degree or credentials yet?
    You can say “Eligible for U.S. credentials,” or “Graduate studies in Instructional Design, in progress,” or “Masters Degree anticipated May, 2008.”
  5. What if you have several different job objectives you’re working on at the same time?
    Or you haven’t narrowed it down yet to just one job target? Write a different resume for EACH different job target. A targeted resume is much, much stronger than a generic resume.
  6. If you’re over 40 or 50 or 60 and want to avoid age discrimination, remember that you DON’T have to present your ENTIRE work history!
    You can simply label that part of your resume “Recent Work History” or “Relevant Work History” and then describe only the last 10 or 15 years of your experience.

(If something really important belongs in the distant past, here’s what to do: at the end of your 10-15 year work history, you can add a paragraph headed “Prior relevant experience” and simply refer to that ancient job without mentioning dates.)

  1. Can’t decide whether to use a Chronological-style resume or a Functional one?
    Choose the Chronological format if you’re staying in the same field (especially if you’ve been upwardly-mobile). Choose a Functional format if you’re changing fields, because a skills-oriented format shows off your transferable skills better and takes the focus off your old job-titles.
  2. Want to impress an employer?
    Fill your resume with “PAR” statements. PAR stands for Problem-Action-Results, in other words, first you state the problem that existed in your workplace, then you describe what YOU did about it, and finally you point out the beneficial results.

Here’s an example:

  • “Transformed a disorganized, inefficient warehouse into a smooth-running operation by totally redesigning the layout; this saved the company $250,000 in recovered stock.”

Another Example:

  • “Improved an engineering company’s obsolete filing system by developing a simple but sophisticated functional-coding system. This saved time and money by recovering valuable, previously lost, project records.”
  1. What if you never had any “real” paid mainstream jobs – just self-employment or odd jobs?
    Give yourself credit, and create an accurate, fair job-title for yourself. For example, “A&S Hauling & Cleaning (self-employed)” or “Household Repairman–Self-employed,” or “Child-Care–Self-employed.” Be sure to add “Customer references available on request” and then be prepared to provide some very good references of people you worked for.
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49 Powerful Resume Words You Can Use to Describe Your Personality

  1. ambitious
  2. brave
  3. bright
  4. calm
  5. charming
  6. coherent
  7. confident
  8. cooperative
  9. courageous
  10. decisive
  11. detailed
  12. determined
  13. diligent
  14. discreet
  15. dynamic
  16. eager
  17. efficient
  18. encouraging
  19. energetic
  20. enthusiastic
  21. excited
  22. friendly
  23. honorable
  24. impartial
  25. industrious
  26. instinctive
  27. knowledgeable
  28. likeable
  29. original
  30. pleasant
  31. plucky
  32. productive
  33. protective
  34. proud
  35. punctual
  36. receptive
  37. responsible
  38. selective
  39. self-assured
  40. sincere
  41. skillful
  42. splendid
  43. steadfast
  44. successful
  45. succinct
  46. talented
  47. thoughtful
  48. thrifty
  49. trustworthy
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500 Action Words You Can Use In Your Resume

Here is a list of action words that can help you set your resume and cover letter apart from your competition. Use these where appropriate to help inspire you to create a resume that doesn’t sound like everyone else’s!

  1. Accelerated
  2. Accomplished
  3. Accounted for
  4. Accumulated
  5. Achieved
  6. Acquired
  7. Acted
  8. Activated
  9. Active in
  10. Adapted
  11. Addressed
  12. Adjusted
  13. Administered
  14. Advanced
  15. Advertised
  16. Advised
  17. Advocated
  18. Affected
  19. Aided
  20. Alerted
  21. Allocated
  22. Amplified
  23. Analyzed
  24. Answered
  25. Anticipated
  26. Applied
  27. Appointed
  28. Appraised
  29. Approved
  30. Arbitrated
  31. Arranged
  32. Arraigned
  33. Arrested
  34. Articulated
  35. Ascertained
  36. Aspired
  37. Assembled
  38. Assessed
  39. Assigned
  40. Assisted
  41. Assumed responsibility
  42. Assured
  43. Attained
  44. Attracted
  45. Audited
  46. Authored
  47. Automated
  48. Awarded
  49. Balanced
  50. Billed
  51. Blazed
  52. Boosted
  53. Bought
  54. Briefed
  55. Broadened
  56. Budgeted
  57. Built
  58. Calculated
  59. Campaigned
  60. Captured
  61. Carried out
  62. Cataloged
  63. Caused
  64. Centralized
  65. Chaired
  66. Championed
  67. Changed
  68. Channeled
  69. Charted
  70. Checked
  71. Clarified
  72. Classified
  73. Closed
  74. Coached
  75. Co-directed
  76. Collaborated
  77. Collected
  78. Co-managed
  79. Combined
  80. Commanded
  81. Commended
  82. Commented
  83. Communicated
  84. Compared
  85. Compiled
  86. Completed
  87. Composed
  88. Computed
  89. Conceived
  90. Conceptualized
  91. Condensed
  92. Conducted
  93. Conferred
  94. Conserved
  95. Considered
  96. Consolidated
  97. Constructed
  98. Consulted
  99. Contacted
  100. Contained
  101. Contracted
  102. Contributed
  103. Controlled
  104. Converted
  105. Coordinated
  106. Corrected
  107. Correlated
  108. Corresponded
  109. Corroborated
  110. Costed
  111. Counseled
  112. Counted
  113. Created
  114. Critiqued
  115. Crowned
  116. Cultivated
  117. Cured
  118. Customized
  119. Cut
  120. Dealt with
  121. Decided
  122. Decreased
  123. Defined
  124. Delegated
  125. Delivered
  126. Demonstrated
  127. Described
  128. Designated
  129. Designed
  130. Detected
  131. Determined
  132. Developed
  133. Devised
  134. Diagnosed
  135. Directed
  136. Discovered
  137. Dispatched
  138. Dispensed
  139. Displayed
  140. Dissected
  141. Distinguished
  142. Distributed
  143. Documented
  144. Doubled
  145. Drafted
  146. Drove
  147. Earned
  148. Economized
  149. Edited
  150. Educated
  151. Effected
  152. Eliminated
  153. Emphasized
  154. Employed
  155. Empowered
  156. Enabled
  157. Enacted
  158. Encouraged
  159. Ended
  160. Endorsed
  161. Energized
  162. Enforced
  163. Engaged
  164. Engineered
  165. Enhanced
  166. Enlarged
  167. Enlisted
  168. Ensured
  169. Entertained
  170. Established
  171. Estimated
  172. Evaluated
  173. Examined
  174. Exceeded
  175. Executed
  176. Expanded
  177. Expedited
  178. Experienced
  179. Experimented
  180. Explained
  181. Explored
  182. Expressed
  183. Extended
  184. Extracted
  185. Fabricated
  186. Facilitated
  187. Familiarized
  188. Fashioned
  189. Filed
  190. Filled
  191. Finalized
  192. Financed
  193. Fine-tuned
  194. Fixed
  195. Focused
  196. Forecast
  197. Forecasted
  198. Formed
  199. Formulated
  200. Fostered
  201. Found
  202. Founded
  203. Fulfilled
  204. Functioned as
  205. Furnished
  206. Gained
  207. Gathered
  208. Generated
  209. Graded
  210. Graduated
  211. Granted
  212. Grew
  213. Guided
  214. Halved
  215. Handled
  216. Harmonized
  217. Harnessed
  218. Headed
  219. Helped
  220. Hired
  221. Hypothesized
  222. Identified
  223. Illustrated
  224. Imagined
  225. Implemented
  226. Impressed
  227. Improved
  228. Improvised
  229. Incorporated
  230. Increased
  231. Indexed
  232. Indoctrinated
  233. Influenced
  234. Informed
  235. Initiated
  236. Innovated
  237. Inspected
  238. Inspired
  239. Installed
  240. Instigated
  241. Instituted
  242. Instructed
  243. Insured
  244. Integrated
  245. Interpreted
  246. Interviewed
  247. Introduced
  248. Invented
  249. Inventoried
  250. Invested
  251. Investigated
  252. Involved
  253. Issued
  254. Joined
  255. Judged
  256. Justified
  257. Kept
  258. Launched
  259. Lead
  260. Learned
  261. Leased
  262. Lectured
  263. Led
  264. Liaised
  265. Licensed
  266. Listed
  267. Located
  268. Logged
  269. Machined
  270. Made
  271. Magnified
  272. Maintained
  273. Managed
  274. Marketed
  275. Mastered
  276. Matched
  277. Maximized
  278. Measured
  279. Mediated
  280. Merged
  281. Met
  282. Met with
  283. Minimized
  284. Mobilized
  285. Moderated
  286. Modernized
  287. Modified
  288. Monitored
  289. Motivated
  290. Moved
  291. Named
  292. Navigated
  293. Negated
  294. Negotiated
  295. Netted
  296. Observed
  297. Obtained
  298. Opened
  299. Operated
  300. Optimized
  301. Orchestrated
  302. Ordered
  303. Organized
  304. Originated
  305. Outlined
  306. Overhauled
  307. Oversaw
  308. Participated
  309. Perceived
  310. Performed
  311. Persuaded
  312. Photographed
  313. Piloted
  314. Pinpointed
  315. Pioneered
  316. Placed
  317. Played
  318. Planned
  319. Predicted
  320. Prepared
  321. Presented
  322. Presided
  323. Prevented
  324. Printed
  325. Prioritized
  326. Processed
  327. Procured
  328. Produced
  329. Programmed
  330. Prohibited
  331. Projected
  332. Promoted
  333. Proofread
  334. Proposed
  335. Protected
  336. Proved
  337. Provided
  338. Publicized
  339. Published
  340. Purchased
  341. Pursued
  342. Qualified
  343. Queried
  344. Questioned
  345. Raised
  346. Ran
  347. Ranked
  348. Rated
  349. Reached
  350. Realigned
  351. Realized
  352. Reasoned
  353. Received
  354. Recognized
  355. Recommended
  356. Reconciled
  357. Recorded
  358. Recruited
  359. Redesigned
  360. Reduced
  361. Referred
  362. Registered
  363. Regulated
  364. Rehabilitated
  365. Reinforced
  366. Related
  367. Remodeled
  368. Rendered
  369. Reorganized
  370. Repaired
  371. Replaced
  372. Replied
  373. Reported
  374. Represented
  375. Reputed
  376. Researched
  377. Resolved
  378. Responded
  379. Restored
  380. Restructured
  381. Retrieved
  382. Revamped
  383. Reversed
  384. Reviewed
  385. Revised
  386. Revitalized
  387. Routed
  388. Saved
  389. Scheduled
  390. Screened
  391. Searched
  392. Secured
  393. Selected
  394. Separated
  395. Served
  396. Serviced
  397. Set or set up
  398. Shaped
  399. Shared
  400. Showed
  401. Simplified
  402. Simulated
  403. Sketched
  404. Slashed
  405. Sold
  406. Solidified
  407. Solved
  408. Sorted
  409. Sought
  410. Sparked
  411. Spearheaded
  412. Specialized
  413. Specified
  414. Spoke
  415. Sponsored
  416. Staffed
  417. Standardized
  418. Started
  419. Steered
  420. Stimulated
  421. Stored
  422. Streamlined
  423. Strengthened
  424. Stressed
  425. Stretched
  426. Structured
  427. Studied
  428. Submitted
  429. Substituted
  430. Succeeded
  431. Suggested
  432. Summarized
  433. Superseded
  434. Supervised
  435. Supplemented
  436. Supplied
  437. Supported
  438. Surpassed
  439. Surveyed
  440. Synchronized
  441. Synergized
  442. Systematized
  443. Tabulated
  444. Tackled
  445. Targeted
  446. Taught
  447. Terminated
  448. Tested
  449. Tightened
  450. Took or took over
  451. Totaled
  452. Toured
  453. Traced
  454. Tracked
  455. Traded
  456. Trained
  457. Transcribed
  458. Transferred
  459. Transformed
  460. Translated
  461. Transmitted
  462. Transported
  463. Traveled
  464. Treated
  465. Triggered
  466. Trimmed
  467. Tripled
  468. Triumphed
  469. Troubleshot
  470. Turned
  471. Tutored
  472. Typed
  473. Umpired
  474. Uncovered
  475. Understood
  476. Understudied
  477. Undertook
  478. Underwent
  479. Underwrote
  480. Unearthed
  481. Unified
  482. United
  483. Unraveled
  484. Updated
  485. Upgraded
  486. Urged
  487. Used
  488. Utilized
  489. Validated
  490. Valued
  491. Verbalized
  492. Verified
  493. Visited
  494. Vitalized
  495. Volunteered
  496. Waged
  497. Weighed
  498. Widened
  499. Won
  500. Worked
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5 Things You Can Do to Set Your Resume Apart

In today’s hyper-competitive job market, you need to do everything possible to make your resume and cover letter package stand out from the other applicants. Use these strategies to maximize the chance for your resume to get the result you want–a face-to-face interview.

  1. One of the most powerful items you can include in your resume package is recommendation quotes from former employers. Adding quotes from each reference contact to the information on your references page (usually the reference name, title, current employer, phone #, email, and relationship to you) sends a powerful endorsement of your qualities, and will certainly set you apart. Here are some other ideas for ways to deliver these powerful testimonials:

Written recommendations on company letterhead. Scan and convert to .pdf format and include with your resume submittal.
Link to your LinkedIn profile, where the quotes can be read. By the way, if you aren’t actively using LinkedIn for research and networking, you are probblu
Add a “Recommendations” section to your resume, boldly and proudly!

  1. Another way to separate yourself from the competition is to utilize old school paper mail. Think about it: nowadays, the amount of printed mail delivered to most offices is low, so there is a chance that your printed and mailed resume package might get opened! Mail it on nice resume paper and matching envelope directly to the hiring manager(s) with a copy to HR. You will stand out even more if you send it in a flat, easily opened 9” X 12” envelope, mailed first class.
    Of course, always send your resume package via email as well as to maximize your chances of success.
  2. Go direct to the hiring manager rather than just relying on HR. When you find a job posting you want to apply to, find out the name of the hiring manager or someone who works in the same department, and send the person an e-mail directly. It’s 2012, which means almost anything can be found online, including names and e-mail addresses. A LinkedIn search on the company should turn up a list of employees and their titles, from which you can select the most appropriate person. Then, search the company website or company press releases for the company’s e-mail format (9 times out of 10 it’s either john.smith@abc.com or jsmith@abc.com)
  3. Effectively utilize the subject line as a marketing opportunity! Instead of the boring “Application for sales position” use “Jon Smith’s Resume-Dynamic Quota-Busting Sales Rainmaker.” If you were referred by someone, use the name in the subject line for a better chance at a response.
    You can use a similar tactic with the titles of your resume documents. Instead of “resume.doc” use “Experienced Accounting Clerk, Bob Snnith.doc” or “Certified Sales Trainer, Bob Smith.doc”
  4. FOLLOW UP WITH A PHONE CALL! This is something that will definetly set you apart. For best results, call both the hiring and hr managers and ask for the interview. THis is not the time to be meek, and beside what do you have to lose? Most likely you wont happen to catch them live, but that’s okay–LEAVE A VOICEMAIL!!! Be articulate, professional and persistent and tell them 3 things about you that make you better than all the other candidates. Then tell them how excited you are about the position and the prospect of working at their company. Close strong by asking directly for an interview! In many cases this will at least give your resume a better chance of being reviewed.
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The Most Commonly Asked Question About Résumés: 1 or 2 pages?

As a career counselor and resume-writer, I’m often asked this question by my clients: Should my resume be 1 or 2 pages?”. Their concern is valid, especially since lengthy resumes can make an applicant appear arrogant, unfocused, out of touch, old, or overqualified.

So how do you know when to stop writing?

Understanding your position as a jobseeker will help to determine whether a one-page resume will be sufficient. For example, if you fall into any of the following categories, you might want to think twice about reaching for that stapler, since a one-page resume will probably keep you in better standing:

  1. Entry-level Candidates. Keep in mind that when hiring managers advertise for a “self-starter who works well independently as well as in a team environment” they really mean they want someone with the potential to learn the industry from their perspective and complete assignments in the preferred manner of the company. It’s assumed that candidates with one-page resumes have less industry experience and therefore less formalized methodologies, positioning them for training, mentoring, and skill development.
  2. Recent Graduates Lacking Real-world Experience. Whether it’s graduate school, college, adult education, high school, or the military, if you’re just now stepping out of academia/training into the working world, remember to keep it short. There’s plenty to say and share about your internships, scholarships, projects, course descriptions, summer jobs, field studies, leadership ability, and technical training but nothing that can’t be condensed to one page.
  3. Career Transitioners. Career transition resumes succeed when a job candidate draws parallels between the job functions of their existing career and the requirements of their newly discovered career. This tactic works best when done in a direct and concise manner. For this reason, whether you’re going with a functional, chronological, or hybrid format to highlight all of those transferable skills, you should try to minimize the page count. Short resumes create an image of modesty—acknowledgement that you have much to learn in your new field.
  4. Moms and Dads Re-entering the Workforce. Job candidates in this category are akin to career transitioners. In a sense, you’re shifting from a full-time stay-at-home parenting role (requiring 80+ hours a week!) to a salaried position that’s perhaps much less demanding. Nonetheless you still have the challenge of impressing your prospective employer. As a general rule, emphasizing experience that’s over 10 years old is dangerous. You’re better off highlighting skills you’ve used recently even outside of the working world. For example, discuss your expertise in coaching your daughter’s softball team, contributing to local community events, multi-tasking family responsibilities, or building membership for the Salsa club. The bottom line is this: recent, relevant experience trumps all else. So stick with what you’ve been up to lately and truncate your older career accomplishments.
  5. Employees with One Job in Their Work History. Regardless of how many positions you’ve held or how long you’ve stayed with the company, there’s usually no need to use two pages. Try to show the progression of your responsibilities while emphasizing only those skills/positions relevant to the job for which you’re applying. In other words, you needn’t wax philosophic about the “foot-in-the-door” gig if you’re applying for a management position.
  6. Overqualified Candidates Looking for Less Responsibility. If you want less, say less. It’s not a bad idea to “dumb down” your resume in order to reinvent yourself for another position in the same line of work. For example, a VP of Engineering who’s tired of the management stress should focus on her ability to develop systems, applications, networks, etc. and downplay (or omit) her people-management skills. By reducing her page count, this VP will lessen her chances of being screened out due to her age, seniority, and (gasp!) ambition.
  7. Sales and Marketing Professionals. When numbers are your game, let the numbers speak for you. Illustrate how you’ve affected the bottom line and move on to the next job record. More than any other job family (except perhaps executive management), you need to show the monetary results of your achievements. Limit yourself to 1-line bullet points with as many digits and dollar signs as you can muster. Everything else is fluff.
  8. Career Professionals Looking to Pay the Bills by Any Means Necessary. When things get rough, it’s sometimes necessary to find a job—any job—that will pay the bills. Examples of these types of positions, also known as “stop-gap” jobs, include server, bartender, clerk, cashier, salesperson, customer service agent, and administrative assistant. So if you’re an out-of-work Business Analyst looking to moonlight as a Radio Shack sales clerk to pay your mortgage, your current resume isn’t going to get you an interview. You’ll need to create a simple one-page resume geared for your new, albeit temporary, sales job.
  9. Administrative/Support Personnel. As someone supporting another person or group of people, it’s dangerous to appear overqualified because your boss-to-be may worry that you’ll want his job, somewhere down the road. Sadly, ambition can work against you. To lessen this possibility, submit a one-page resume.

Okay, so maybe you and your job search don’t fall under any of these categories. Then what?

Trim it down. Place your resume next to a target job description (or several) and read through your accomplishments line-by-line, highlighting any statements that fail to directly address one or more of the requirements in the targeted job description(s). If you’re not comfortable omitting such statements, make sure that they’re presented as succinctly as possible, so as to not take up much of your resume real estate.

If you’re still spilling over onto two (or three) pages, print out the first page only and scan it as if you’re hiring yourself. Is your candidacy strong enough without the second page? It needs to be, because the second page often gets skimmed over (if that!), and usually just to locate evidence of a college degree or industry training.

There are plenty of ways to incorporate second-page experience on the first page. For example, you can fold certain accomplishments into your objective/summary section, create a brand new introductory section, tighten your formatting, or build a functional resume to replace your chronological one. Another option is to develop what’s called a networking resume which is a 1-page shortened version of your extended resume that you can pass out in place of, or alongside, your business card.

Still, if you feel all of the accomplishments stated on your resume are relevant to your current job objective, having a 2-page (or even 3-page) resume isn’t going to knock you out of the race; just make sure your first page is strong enough by itself to get you the interview.

Whatever the length of your resume, make sure it tells a compelling story. Make sure it reflects the real you. Honestly and completely.

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50 Action Phrases You Can Customize and Use in Your Resume

  1. Cut costs by X amount/% within Y amount of time
  2. Managed company/department annual/quarterly budget of X (large) amount
  3. Stayed under budget for X quarters/years
  4. Were promoted
  5. Were promoted after only X months in the role
  6. Directed a team/group/organization (something difficult to manage)
  7. Managed a project spanning X countries/continents/employees
  8. Multiplied donations by X amount/%
  9. Launched X new websites/products/campaigns
  10. Increased portfolio earnings by X amount/%
  11. Integrated an extremely complex system for the company
  12. Finished sales quota X amount of time early
  13. Trained X new employees
  14. Built a new team/division (not just hiring, also managing the workflow) for the company
  15. Redesigned and implemented more effective company procedures which e.g. decreased time-to-market by X amount/%
  16. Met deadlines consistently
  17. Supervised large/complex project in attaining goal X
  18. Grew customer base by X amount/%
  19. Reduced client/reader attrition by X amount/%
  20. Met X national/global/industry standard within Y amount of time
  21. Streamlined team/department operations
  22. Improved ties with country/industry association/union
  23. Boosted earnings by X amount/%
  24. Published X articles/white papers/reports/books
  25. Received X award/designation
  26. Won X award/competition for Y consecutive years
  27. Attained X certification
  28. Finished in the top X percentile of your class/course
  29. Reached X objective(s) every quarter for Y quarters in a row
  30. Reached X objective(s) faster than competitor (internal/external)
  31. Discovered X new drugs/species/trends
  32. Coined well-known buzzword or industry term
  33. Created X program/course/methodology
  34. Founded X company/non-profit/association/club
  35. Solved X disputes (for a negotiator)
  36. Resolved X internal conflicts
  37. Received score of X (high) on known customer satisfaction survey/poll
  38. Received score of X (high) on standardized testing/exam
  39. First person to achieve X (or led first team to achieve X) internally/externally
  40. Something you created won an award/was a bestseller/fan favorite
  41. Voted best/most something by association/club/group
  42. Featured in website/magazine/newspaper/book
  43. Held a perfect attendance record
  44. Introduced company products to X new markets
  45. Audited X number of clients in only Y amount of time
  46. Piloted X program with a Y % participant completion rate
  47. Advanced (non-profit) organization policy
  48. Fixed X amount / % of bugs in company software/open-source project
  49. Presented at well-known conference/seminar/workshop
  50. Achieved/Surpassed company/team goal of doing X by Y amount / %
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