Resumes are a great way to spell out information about yourself. Moreover, they give you the chance to make a good first impression as a knowledgeable and responsible person. You can also use this in order to present your skills and experience to possible employers.
When it comes to writing a winning resume, you need to make sure that you highlight your accomplishments and unique skills and experience. With these in mind, here are some of the key elements to create a powerful resume that exudes a positive and lasting impression.
Start With an Attention-Grabbing Opening
Let’s face it, most people spend only a few seconds scanning a resume so it’s not enough to simply list your job history and major accomplishments. You need to grab the reader’s attention from the start. One effective strategy is to immediately follow your contact information with a short attention-getting “hook”. Here are a few examples:
“Mom of three, doctor by day, cancer fundraiser by night.”
“Local businessman in need of administrative assistant. Please send a resume to…”
“2nd degree black belt. Seeking a challenging position.”
“Experienced tax professional w/ Masters degree seeks challenging environment.”
If you don’t have any such statements, consider adding a short one-sentence summary of what your experience is all about, especially if it is different from the norm.
Choose a Format That Suits You
There are lots of different resume formats out there and it’s really a matter of personal preference as to which one suits you best.
Chronological resumes list your jobs in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent. This is a very common format and is easy to read and understand. It works best for individuals with a steady work history from the same employer.
Resumes with a combination of reverse chronological and functional sections list your employment history first, followed by a brief description of your skills and interests. This is another popular format for those with a steady work history, as it allows you to tell your story chronologically but also list your skills and experience.
Functional resumes focus more on your skills, abilities and achievements, rather than on your job history. This is one of the most effective resume formats if you don’t have a steady work history or if you have gaps in your employment history.
Choose The Right Words
When describing yourself, your skills, achievements, and work experiences, it is also important to use words that convey an immediate sense of what you have accomplished. Identifying the skills that potential employers are looking for is key to a winning resume. If you are in the military, for instance, you will want to highlight your duties and accomplishments, as well as your teamwork skills, leadership abilities, and specialized training.
If you are changing careers, you want to show that you have transferable skills that can be applied to the position you are applying for.
Using proper grammar and spelling is also key to a successful resume. Proofread your resume before sending it out. A resume full of grammatical and spelling errors is a sure way to land your resume directly in the trash bin.
Create a Clear and Concise Summary of Qualifications
It is also a must to include a summary section in your resume. This is because it will highlight the qualities, skills, and experience that you can bring to the table. You need to make sure that this section is written in a clear and concise manner.
Make sure that you have included a list of qualifications that are relevant to the position that you are applying for. This can be done by highlighting the most important skills and experience that you have obtained in your career and that are specific to the job you are applying for. You can also showcase these by arranging them by category.
For example, you can arrange the skills and experience in terms of the following;
Creating a winning resume is really a matter of personal preference. There are a lot of different ways to go about it, but the most important thing is to make sure that it reflects your experience and skills, your achievements, and personal attributes. Another thing to remember is to use keywords that are commonly used by employers. Try incorporating keywords that are specific to the position you are applying for. This will demonstrate your understanding of the job requirements and will help make your resume stand out.
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