There’s a saying that success means doing what others won’t. And that’s especially true when it comes to resume writing.
Not to rattle your confidence, but it’s common for employers to receive over a hundred resumes for a single job opening. Plenty of them aren’t even from qualified candidates, but that still leaves a boatload of resumes.
With that much competition, how is it even possible to get the employer’s attention? By following three simple resume rules: Make your resume well organized, error-free, and tailored to the job. Here's what I mean:
- Well Organized
Your resume should present the information a hiring manager needs to know in a logical order with a clean, attractive layout that’s easy to skim. Suppress your flair for the unusual and dramatic. For experienced job seekers, place your summary of qualifications at the top, followed by a reverse-chronological listing of past employment, then education.
Your resume is not just a list of your qualifications; it’s also assumed to be an example of your best, most careful work. A typo, inconsistent spacing, or any other flaw tells the hiring manager you’re not that attentive to detail. That’s a bad message to send. Eliminate all imperfections from your resume and enlist the help of at least one other person to proofread it.
- Tailored to the Job
No, you don’t have to write a new resume from scratch every time you apply for another job. But you should take your master resume and edit it slightly for every job. Tailor your summary of qualifications to use the same terminology, in the same order the employer used in the job posting.
For example, let’s say you’re applying for jobs in Facilities Maintenance, and you have experience in painting, carpentry, electrical, and plumbing. In addition to those qualifications, you might edit your resume as follows:
- For a job at an apartment complex, emphasize your locksmith experience and your diplomacy in dealing with irate tenants.
- For a nursing home job, highlight your commitment to keeping a clean, safe, quiet work area.
- For a high-rise office building, add a line about your experience fulfilling computer-generated work orders.
And one other thing: If you add a well written cover letter that also follows these three rules, you have a great chance of finding yourself on the short list of interview-worthy candidates.
Most job seekers won’t follow these rules. If you want to succeed, be the one who does.
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