It doesn’t matter whether you’re a new college grad, an experienced worker, or a professional just looking to make a new career move, your resume should be your main priority if you’re looking for to land the job of your dreams. You may be ambitious, hardworking, and a loyal employee but does that actually shine through when you turn in your resume to your potential employer? Let’s take a look at what you may need to do to improve your resume.
If you have little to no experience, you’ll likely want to write up a well thought out career objective. You’ll likely not have enough information to automatically get qualified for the position that you want but showing that you have a plan for yourself and are ambitious can increase the likelihood that your resume will be saved or passed on.
If your resume contains basic phrases like hardworking individual, strong communication skills, team player, or anything else that can easily come off as unoriginal and canned, you need to change it now. Be as specific as possible but concise. Don’t have your stellar resume overlooked because you used the same boring descriptions as 20 other applicants.
Following along with trying to stay original and interesting, you need to show how valuable you are to your potential employer. You can do this by explaining how you added value to your previous employer and workplace. Describe what you did to excel in a way that your potential employer can actually visualize and feel it. How did you do a particular task that is relevant to the position you’re applying for? What projects did you contribute to? How did you contribute to your former workplace and how is that experience relevant? What were the results of your time spent with your former employer (what legacy did you leave behind)?
If you’re applying to a place, don’t use outside jargon. If you have experience working an industry similar to one you’re applying to, use the correct jargon and key words that the hiring manager will be familiar with. That being said, speak to your audience. Don’t use jargon where it doesn’t belong. For help with figuring out what keywords you should be using, take a look at LinkedIn to see what qualities and responsibilities people in positions that you’re applying for have.
If you’re applying for a job after college, be selective about what experience you put on your resume. If you’re looking for a professional career, it’s unlikely that the hiring manager is going to find your experience working at a fast food place as a cashier during high school that interesting. There may be skills that can be transferred but you can bring those up during your interview. Another good rule of thumb is that anything that happened 5+ years ago that doesn’t add to your current skill set should be kept out of your resume.
Just like your cover letters, your resume should be customizable. Tailor your resume to the specific job you’re applying to.
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