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How to Build the Perfect Resume

Written by

George D. Baker

Date

August 14, 2014

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Composing a perfect resume is not always an easy task. Above all, your resume should be one-of-a-kind as well as tailored to the specific job you are applying for. This article will tell you how to write the perfect resume, making you stand out as a superior applicant for whatever job you are looking for. Even with strong competition, having the perfect resume can still land you an interview.

Start by just looking over your current resume. Although it might sound silly, your resume is actually like your employee in a way. Ask yourself whether your resume is currently fulfilling its job responsibilities. A strong resume not only tells prospective employers about your work history, but it also demonstrates how your abilities will in turn bring success to their organization. If you feel like your current resume is not doing its job right, it might be time to fire it and find a new one, based on the resume tips provided in this article.

Whenever you are applying for a new position, read each job description very carefully. After that, copy down any important keywords that the employer might have used in the job listing or ad, along with the abilities and qualifications important to the organization. For example, if an employer is seeking a creative, organized, and detail-oriented candidate, make sure you use the same words in your resume. A lot of companies use keywords to filter resume submissions, quickly weeding out unqualified or “spam” applicants. Incorporating the right words into your resume may inform the employer that you are a real candidate for the position, and will help ensure that your resume is read by an actual person.

Your current contact information—such as full name, current mailing address, phone number, and email—should always appear at the top of your resume in either left, right, or center alignment. To let the employer know you are a serious candidate, make sure you have a professional email handle that clearly identifies yourself, featuring both your first and last name.

While your contact information always receives top billing, your objective statement should come next, clearly telling the employer what position you are seeking. Limited yourself to 1-2 sentences, your objective statement should be interesting and concise enough to make the reader want to continue reading your resume.

For the education section, begin with the full name and location of the college or university and the dates attended. Below, include the name of your major and your date of graduation. If you attended more than one school, include the same information for each.

Your resume should be neatly formatted and concise, with a standard 12-point black font and neutral colored paper. Be consistent throughout the resume with font, underlining, and italics choices. Bulleted lists are helpful in breaking up big chunks of information. Quickly glancing over potential job candidates, the employer might push your resume aside if the content is too dense.

To make your resume is as easy to follow as possible, divide it into titled sections, such as contact information, previous experience, education, accomplishments, and skills. Highlight your strengths first, placing the sections with the best information at the top of the list. For example, if you did not have the best grades in college, don’t start off by telling the employer that you graduated with a 2.4 GPA. Instead, let them know about how much professional experience you have to offer.

When listing your previous job experience, progress from newest to oldest, only citing your last 3-4 jobs. Feature the name and location of the company, dates of employment, and your primary responsibilities. Focus on breaking down your previous jobs into marketable skills, developing a solid list of your most impressive tasks and accomplishments.

Compile a list of accomplishments appropriate to the job description. As you go, include examples of not only your professional accomplishments, but also your personal feats and previous leadership responsibilities with professional organizations and volunteer experiences. Use action verbs like “created,” “organized,” and “managed.” Model your list entries from the following example of a strong resume line: “Created a new program that generated increased sales in November 2007.”

When you are finished, make sure to read through your resume for errors. If you followed these resume-writing tips, you will probably find that your new resume is a much better employee than your old one! For best results, have a friend or family member proofread your resume to help avoid typographical and readability errors that may hinder your chances of being invited to interview. If you still want additional resume help, check out our sample resume and see if it compares to your own! Good luck!

Written by:  George D. Baker

George D. Baker is a long-time contributor to College Mouse. Now retired, Mr. Baker volunteers at adult education programs in his local community.

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