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The current job market is highly competitive, but a great resume lets your stand out from the crowd as the employer’s next great hire.
Tips For Creating A Stand-Out Resume
In today’s job market, more people than ever are competing for the same jobs. To make yourself stand out from the crowd, prepare a professional, well-written resume that clearly shows the experience and accomplishments of your work life. A resume is not meant to just outline your past positions. It’s also a tool to showcase your skills, your accomplishments, and your performance–in essence, how valuable you will be to your next employer.
The biggest–and often hardest–step in building a resume is to take an honest assessment of your skills and abilities. It can be difficult because people often find it hard to “blow their own horn,” so to speak, but if you don’t, how will the employer know how good you are?
Start by researching the position to learn the skills, knowledge, training and experience needed for the job. List up to four skills/abilities/knowledge areas that show you are the right person for the job, and for each of these think of past work accomplishments that illustrate your skills. Use a brief but powerful action statement to show how your accomplishments benefited your past employers.
Next, list your jobs in chronological order as well as any training or education that’s relevant to the position you want. You can include any volunteer work if it shows you have the right qualifications for the job.
Once you have this information at your fingertips, it’s time to prepare the actual document.
Writing The Resume
To show all that you can do for a company, use PAR statements. PAR stands for Problem-Action-Results and it requires that you state the problem, describe what you did about it using strong action verbs and show how the results benefited the company.
There are a few other rules-of-thumb for this process:
- Avoid using “I” or “me” when describing your experience. Instead, begin each statement with a strong action verb. For example, “Created a new process to…”
- Place industry buzzwords and keywords that describe your skills.
- Use a format that allows the reader to quickly pull out your skills and accomplishments. You have about 30 seconds to make an impression when someone scans your resume.
- Absolutely no typos or grammatical errors allowed.
Three Unique Styles
There are three basic resume formats, and you need to choose the one that best highlights your skills and abilities.
Chronological Style – Probably the most common format, a chronological resume lists your jobs in order from most recent to oldest. It’s perfect for those who have no breaks in their employment history, but those with employment gaps or career changes should consider the Functional format.
Functional Style – True to its name, the functional resume highlights accomplishments and skills first to attract an employer’s interest and then outlines your job history. This style is great for those who have held many different jobs without one clear focus, for new graduates, and for those making a career change.
Combined Style – This style combines and maximizes the effectiveness of the first two styles. It can be a bit longer and you must guard against being repetitious, but it’s a very effective format.