One of the most important factors during a job search is creating a stellar resume. Consider a resume to be a summary of yourself that you can provide to a potential employer for their perusal. How you choose to present this summary can dramatically affect your job search. Some techniques to consider include using appropriate keywords, being sure to highlight all of your achievements, and tailoring your resume for different industries.
When creating your resume you may get caught up in listing your education and experience. While these are important, you will also need to consider the words you use in your resume. Remember that the potential employer viewing your resume will also being considering many other resumes alongside yours. It is important to make your resume stand out compared to the others. A useful way to accomplish this is to use keywords that are not considered cliché or worn out.
Some keywords that are commonly overused include “hard-working,” “responsible,” and “innovative.” All of these descriptions may be true for you, but almost all job applicants use them. No one is going to say that they are “irresponsible” on a resume, so employers are unlikely to pay specific attention to this description. Consider other ways to describe yourself. Instead of just stating your hard work ethic, describe activities that show that you are. Instead of saying you are responsible, describe your responsibilities and how you handled them.
Resumes typically include lists and descriptions of applicants’ prior experience, everything from volunteer work and education to previous jobs. When describing these activities, don’t be modest. Make sure to highlight your performance and achievements. Mention your responsibilities, and how effectively your accomplished them.
For any volunteer work, make sure to describe not just the project, but your part in it. Were you in charge of a specific part of planning or execution? Say so on your resume. If you received commendations or awards during your education, include these as well. Whether you were on your school’s Dean’s List or if you graduated with honors, these accomplishments will help you stand out compared to other applicants.
Consider the Industry
While you cannot change your past experience, you can change how you present it. This can be an annoying task, but it can also give your resume a helpful boost. While searching for a job you may end up applying to companies in more than one industry. In this case, you will want to tailor your resume for each industry.
The industry specific changes you make to your resume can be dramatic or subtle. The main goal is to choose examples of your work from previous experience that highlights a quality or skill necessary or valuable in the industry to which you are applying. For example, if one of your previous experiences is working as a manager in a food service establishment and you are applying to a food-type industry, you will want to highlight your food handling and preparing experience. However, if you’re applying to an industry that has nothing to do with food, you will want to highlight your management skills.
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