While many people know that having a quality resume is one of the keys to getting an interview and ultimately getting their dream job, many people are unsure how to create a great resume. Luckily, there are several things you can do to make your resume stand out.
Focus on Your Unique Accomplishments
If you are a recent college graduate, think of your time in school as your job. Use the academic part of your resume to highlight academic accomplishments. This may include awards, leadership responsibilities, and involvement in honor societies. If you graduated with a high GPA, particularly if you achieved cum laude status or higher, you may also want to include that information. Be sure to list volunteer experience and multilingual skills, which can also help you to stand out from other candidates.
For those who have been out of school a little longer, it is important to focus on career accomplishments. Instead of including the same skills and accomplishments that will be included on all the other candidates’ resumes, think about what skills and accomplishments make you a unique candidate. This may include awards or special distinctions you have gotten at your current or recent jobs. Multilingual skills and evidence that you have gone beyond the basics in your career will also draw potential employers to your quality resume.
Keep Things Current
If it has been a while since you last updated your resume, now is the time to make sure all your information is correct. Check to be sure your phone number, address, and email address are current. If you have had a legal name change since you last sent out your resume, make sure that information has been fixed as well. Update any work-related information, including adding in any recent awards, achievements, or additional responsibilities. Keeping things current also includes dropping older, irrelevant jobs from your resume. While a resume should highlight your achievements, as you gain more work experience, your earlier work experience will matter less and less. This is especially true if you are applying for a technology-driven position, where the things you did ten or fifteen years ago are irrelevant to what you would be doing in the same position today.
Most people would not intentionally lie on a resume, but sometimes half-truths and exaggerations sneak in. As you read over your resume, think about if there is anything on your resume that is not entirely true. In some cases, fixing a half-truth or exaggeration is simply a matter of changing one or two words. While these half-truths or exaggerations may get you the interview, and in some cases, even the job, the truth will likely come out, which could affect your chances of getting that job as well as future jobs.
While spell-check will catch some of your errors, it will not catch everything. Proofreading your resume is a multi-step process. Read your resume aloud. Hearing the words will help you catch more errors. If you do not already have one, you may also want to install read aloud software on your computer. Use it to have your resume read aloud to you. You may catch even more mistakes this way.
Part of your proofreading process should also include having at least one other person read over your resume. A friend or family member may notice mistakes or awkward wording that you may have overlooked. The person proofreading your resume may also be able to help you with making sure you have accurately represented yourself on your quality resume. This includes making sure you have correctly listed your accomplishments, making sure your information is up-to-date and making sure you have not exaggerated your skills or accomplishments.
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