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Does My Resume Recognize Me?

When it comes to applying for jobs, your resume acts as a first impression.

When it comes to applying for jobs, your resume acts as a first impression. It tells the hiring employer not only critical information about your education and experience, but exhibits your knack for attention to detail (or lack thereof).

In sifting through hundreds of resumes and cover letters, the potential employer looks for candidates that stand out from the crowd – a potential employee who fits with the company’s values, culture and work ethic. The perfect resume undoubtedly proves that you do or don’t understand the company’s needs, priorities and hiring criteria.

Here are the top 10 tips for creating a resume that will guarantee you get the chance to prove your work with a face-to-face interview:

1. Be concise. Your resume should be short and sweet. Be to-the-point when summarizing education, work experience and qualifications but also make sure they are tailored to the position. Keep the resume to one page, only including the most important points pertaining to the particular position. By researching the company and position, you will learn which skills will help to give the best first impression.

2. Select a clean format. When applying for a job, it’s important that you pay attention to detail – from the handshake to the resume paper. You should ensure your resume is pleasing to the eye, easy to read and suits the position. Use a conservative font, such as Arial or Times New Roman; these fonts are easily uploaded by most applicant tracking systems, so resumes remain intact. Use plenty of white space, but don't over-format. Center justification is never okay.

3. Tailor the objective. Tell your potential employer what you want. The objective is the perfect way to do it. By crafting a powerful positioning objective, you prove to your potential employer that your homework has been done; it shows the potential employer that you are driven to get the position and are familiar with the field.

4. Include GPA. Employers may have a minimum grade-point average requirement. If you have a lower GPA, your resume should then demonstrate what involvement (job, sports team involvement, clubs, etc.) took time away from school and a potential 4.0 GPA.

5. Introduce only relevant work experience. This is the section where you can show your potential employer what you are made of. The employer won't care if you were exceptional as a dog walker in high school, unless that’s closely related to what you are applying for. You should include position titles, dates of employment and a brief description of your responsibilities and skills. Avoid self-flattering terms, but describe accomplishments effectively, leaving it up to the potential employer to decide if you are well-qualified.

6. Demonstrate your achievements. It’s important for you to let your potential employer know that you not only carried out your job responsibilities, but you went above and beyond contributing to organizational goals. The company wants to know: Are you a candidate a team player? Are you known to go above and beyond to help the company excel? Refer to numbers that illustrate the size and budget of a project. List your promotions! Be proud!

7. List volunteer work and leadership skills. Volunteering shows the potential employer that you are willing to take initiative and make things happen. You should list charitable or civic organizations that you volunteer with, identify your responsibilities and if you held any leadership positions (president, vice president, chair, etc.).

8. Use “resume language.” Ever want to learn a different language? Now is the time! There’s a certain protocol to writing a resume. Definitely follow the rules of basic English, but adhere to a few additional guidelines:
    • Write in first person point-of-view, but leave out the subject
    • Omit articles, such as “a,” “an,” “the” and “my”
    • Use present tense for current activities and past tense for past activities
    • Write with strong action verbs (i.e. coordinated, orchestrated, spearheaded, boosted, standardized), avoiding passive phrases, such as "duties included," "hired to" and "responsible for."

9. Proofread to eliminate errors. Errors are the fastest way to a resume placed in the "circular file." Take the time to make your resume grammatically correct. Check and re-check punctuation and spelling. Avoid repetition. Leave out unnecessary words, sentences and phrases. Ask a friend, family member or a mentor to look over your resume.

10. Be honest and accurate. There’s no gray area when it comes to embellishment. Most companies don’t aspire to hire someone who is dishonest. While embellishing a resume with false information may not seem like a big deal to the average person, to a company it’s everything. In today’s technology advanced day and age, many companies conduct background checks on all top candidates. It is really important that you ensure you’ve represented yourself on your resume, LinkedIn page and any other medium accurately and honestly.