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Five Tips to a Great Resume

There are many qualified applicants that apply to the same job as you and sometimes it’s something as small as a typo on your resume that will get your name removed from the pile of applicants. Resume reviewers on average spend 30 seconds or less looking at a resume to see if it is worth reading. To help improve your resume, there are five tips that will help make your resume stand out for the others.

1. Make it appealing. When you are writing your resume, make sure you are using a good font that is easy to read. I personally prefer Helvetica, but Arial is a great choice, too. In addition, do not use paragraphs, even short ones. When you list your work experience, format it in bullet points under each position. There is no way the person reviewing your resume can pick out your key skills if it is in a dense paragraph. List your strongest skills at the top of each position to have them stand out.

2. Think Top/Left. In English, we read form left to right and from top to bottom. This means that in order to grab the attention of the person reviewing your resume, you want to list your most relevant and pertinent points toward the top left of your resume. This principle holds true to each section in your resume. List your most important skills and job duties first, and work down from there.

3. Use Action Phrases. I’ll be the first to admit that I am sometimes guilty of not doing this. It’s very easy to just simply list your job duty and not highlight some of the accomplishments that you have made while at your job. Turing a simple job duty like, “Part of a software training team” to a phrase like, “Developed a computer based training program that reduced learner study time by 25% and saved an average of $800” can make your resume stand out from other applicants. Take some time to look at your current job descriptions to see how you can change your phrases into actions and accomplishments.

4. Proof Read. I cannot stress this point enough. When you have finished updating your resume, make sure you are using the correct words and tenses. We all know Microsoft Word has spellcheck, but it is not a catch all application. Make sure you are using the correct form of each word such as ‘their, there, and they’re.’ You could also use a word that looks similar, but is completely difference. For example, you could accidently say that you have a ‘Bachelorette (Bachelors) Degree in Computer Science’ or ‘Demonstrated ability in multi-tasting (multi-tasking).’ Simple mistakes like these can jeopardize your shot at landing an interview. I find the best way to catch these mistakes is to have a friend or family member look over your resume after you are finished. A phrase or word that sounds right to you may not sound right to someone else, so this is a great way to catch these errors.

5. Be Specific! Adding specific technical tools or different technologies used while at a job is very important, especially in the IT industry. Simply saying, “I was responsible for administration of databases” does not mean anything. What type of database did you use? Was it SQL Server, Oracle, or DB2? Another example is, “I developed webpages.” That’s great, but in what language? Make sure you are being specific or face having your resume excluded from the candidate search.

While keeping these tips in mind, you are on your way to a great start at writing an amazing resume to stand out from the competition. Now what are you waiting for? Get to it!