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A resume is a very important tool for all of us – whether we are students looking to get into our dream college or professionals looking to enter our dream job. Think of the resume as a snapshot – not only of your professional accomplishments but academic, personal and community. It’s an opportunity to showcase how strong a fit you are for the school or company.
So how do you maximize the impact the resume can make? Here are my top 5 tips:
1. Relevance. First and foremost make sure you tailor the resume to where you are applying. Highlight your relevant strengths. Additionally, make sure that you do your homework on the specific requirements the company or college may ask for. For example, an MBA application resume generally needs to be 1 page long, where as an employment resume can be longer.
2. Action Verbs. Describe each of your accomplishments with strong verbs that clearly demonstrate both the breadth and depth of experience. Additionally, avoid using the same action verb multiple times.
For example, instead of writing:
Replace with alternatives like:
3. Quantify. Provide numbers where possible. Instead of general statements include numbers that provide specifics including time, money or amount. Read the two bullets below and decide what leaves a larger impact on you:
4. Be specific. Avoid generic statements. In addition to explaining to the reader what you did, include why and how you did it. What was the outcome. Since you have included it in your resume, the reader should be able to understand the role you played and why this activity is significant.
For example – instead of writing “Led the payment process initiative” or “Established the technical operation guidelines” explain what prompted you to do this (e.g. identified gaps in…) or how you did it (e.g. analyzed past data….) and was it successful (e.g. reduced time spent…).
5. Avoid Silly mistakes. I know this seems obvious but with stress levels high or deadlines around the corner this happens too often. Silly mistakes come in many forms including spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or inputting the wrong word by accident. Can you spot what’s wrong in the statements below?
You cannot proofread your resume too many times. The very best of us continue to make errors like these every day. If you feel like you’ve read your resume over 50 times and there are no more mistakes – take a break and come back to it later. You will definitely see something else. Send it to close friends or family. Every eye gravitates toward and catches something different.
Remember – An excellent résumé is one of the cornerstones of a successful application. It gives you the opportunity to provide a consolidated view of your accomplishments and showcase the extent to which you are a strong, well-rounded and suitable fit. Good Luck!
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