Hiring managers and recruiters alike say they’ve seen many poorly written resumes cross their desks. Attract more interview offers and ensure your resume doesn’t eliminate you from consideration by following these key tips:

1. Format Your Resume to Stand Out in the Crowd.

No matter how well written, your resume won’t get a thorough reading the first time through. Generally, a resume gets scanned for 25 seconds. Scanning is more difficult if it is hard to read, poorly organized or exceeds two pages.

  • Use a logical format and wide margins, clean type and clear headings
  • Selectively apply bold and italic typeface that help guide the reader’s eye
  • Use bullets to call attention to important points (i.e. accomplishments)

2. Identify Accomplishments not Just Job Descriptions

Hiring managers seek candidates that can help them solve a problem or satisfy a need within their company. Consequently, you can’t be a solution to their problems without stating how you solved similar problems in other companies and situations.

  • Focus on what you did in the job, NOT what your job was. There’s a difference.
  • Include a one or two top line job description first, then list your accomplishments.
  • For each point ask yourself, what was the benefit to my previous employer?
  • Accomplishments should be unique to you, not just a list of job duties.
  • Avoid using the generic descriptions of the jobs previously held. Be specific.

3. Make Your Accomplishments Measurable

Making too many general claims and using too much industry jargon is a common mistake. A resume is a marketing document designed to sell your skills and strengths.

  • Include and highlight specific achievements that present a comprehensive picture of your marketability
  • Quantify your achievements using percentages, dollars, number of employees, etc.
  • Work backwards to quantify your accomplishments by asking, If I had not done X, what could have happened?

4. Cater Your Resume for the Industry

Do not create a generic resume. Each employment opportunity is different.

  • Each employment sector has traits or histories they find attractive
  • Research and understand the industry segment you are approaching
  • Tailor your resume to what that industry or employer is looking for in a potential employee

5. Replace your “Objective” with a “Career Summary”

A Career Summary is designed to give a brief overview of who you are and what you do. Most Objectives sound similar: Seeking a challenging, interesting position in X where I can use my skills of X, Y, and Z to contribute to the bottom line. Not telling at all.

  • Grab a hiring manager’s attention right from the beginning, remembering you have only 25 few seconds to make a good impression
  • Spend time developing a summary that immediately gets their attention, and accurately and powerfully describes you as a solution to their problems

With a solid resume in hand you’ll greatly increase your odds of earning a closer look and getting that interview. A well written resume should be your first priority.

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