10 Tips Guaranteed to Help You Write an Outstanding Resume

how-to-write-an-outstanding-resumeAs we’ve all heard by now, when reviewing your resume a prospective employer will mostly likely make a split-second decision about whether to invite you to an interview. Or not.

Because it so essential to create a resume that makes a great first impression in just a few seconds, we asked fifteen career counseling experts for their advice on how to write a resume. Here’s what they said:

Link Your Resume

Nancy Range Anderson is President of Blackbird Learning Associates and has written the book Job Search for Moms. She recommends adding links to the websites of your former places employment; this way, human resources personnel can see what kind of work you have done, even if they do not recognize the companies or organizations for which you have worked by name. It is also a good idea to include a link to your LinkedIn profile and, if appropriate, your other social media accounts.

Choose Your Prospective Employers Carefully

Meg Giuseppi is the CEO of Executive Career Brand and Executive Job Search and qa personal branding strategist for the C-Suite. She advises job seekers to research prospective employers thoroughly before even writing their resumes. Start by choosing 10 to 15 employers for which you might really like to work. Read about their mission and their current activities and challenges and decide how your unique background and skills make you a good candidate to work for them. Then carefully tailor the materials you send to them, such as your resume and cover letter.

Mention Your Most Important Qualifications in Your Cover Letter

Lori Derming of Derming Consulting says that a strong cover letter can help you make a lasting first impression. She suggests your cover letter should show that you have read the posting for the job for which you are applying and have thought carefully about why you are a good fit. Most important: mention at least three of the qualities the employer says it is seeking and explain how you have demonstrated these qualities.

Focus on Where You are Going, Not Where You Have Been

Lisa Rangel of Chameleon Resumes says that the purpose of your resume is to show potential employers what you can help them achieve in the future, not merely a summary of things you have done in the past. Her best advice: highlight the value you bring to the company and their mission; be specific, even going so far as to use the exact words from their mission statement, the job description, etc.

Be Straightforward

Susan Heathfield is a Human Resources Expert at About.Com. Her best resume tip: honesty is the best policy. She says that glossing over inconvenient truths can make recruiters wary. For example, sometimes job seekers say that they attended a particular university and then hope that potential employers will assume that they graduated. They might also try to make periods of unemployment between jobs seem shorter by only listing years when jobs started and ended, instead of months and years. She strongly suggests being clear about gaps in employment and education.

Ask Family and Friends for Advice

Robin Richards, Chairman and CEO of CareerArc Group, suggests letting your objective friends, colleagues, and even relatives read your resume and offer constructive criticism. Some of the best resume tips and edits can come from the people closest to you, he says. Often, Robin finds, job seekers are their own worst critic – and your family members, friends, and colleagues may think of marketable skills and accomplishments you have forgotten or take for granted.

Make Your Online Presence Professional and Consistent

Sara Sutton Fell, Founder & CEO of FlexJobs.com, says employers will search for you online, so make yourself easy to find – and make your virtual self as professional as possible. Sara recommends posting an updated version of your resume online. And, make sure your online presence is consistent across all platforms, especially LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. She also suggests creating an About.me page or a professional blog if you haven’t already.

Information, Not Stuff

Miriam Salpeter is a New Economy Job Coach and Social Media Consultant for Keppie Careers; she is also the author of Social Networking for Career Success. Miriam suggests that each resume you send should be written with that target job in mind – and that you should think about how everything you have done in your career applies to the job for which you are applying for right now. Again, research is essential, because the more you know about a prospective employer, the more you know about how you can be an asset to them. If you do not do this, your resume will just look like a list of “stuff” – and stuff by itself is not very informative or helpful.

Immerse Yourself in Your New Professional Field

Janet Scarborough Civitelli, Ph.D. is a Career Coach at VocationVillage.com. She says that when changing careers it is important to immerse yourself in your new field; to learn as much as possible before you apply for jobs. This may include a short-term internship, volunteer work, taking classes, or joining a professional association. Showing that you know something about the field you plan to enter, Janet says, is more important than a nice-looking resume full of fluffy details.

Write a Mini Business Plan

Nick Corcodilos is the author of Fearless Job Hunting and is the host of AsktheHeadHunter.com. He recommends writing a mini business plan including your ideas about what you will do when hired. Present your resume to the hiring manager, not to some faceless office called “human resources”, or worse, an online system that weeds out lackluster resumes. If you do not know the manager, you must initiate contact with him or her before submitting your business plan. This approach forces you to network, of course – an important aspect of career success.

Finally, a bonus tip from Brian Shoicket, Dean of University and Community Partnerships at Uncubed. Brian says he only spends about ten seconds looking at each resume. So he expects each resume to be concise, structured, and specific. The most important aspect of resume, Brian insists, is identifying – using tools such as Jobscan – the specific keywords that resume scanners, recruiters, and hiring managers care about when selecting the very best applicants.

 

For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at JobScan!

 

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