Want The Job? Three Important Tips for a Winning Resume

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Do you have your eyes on a new job opening that’s right up your alley?  Are you looking to put together a resume that will grab the Hiring Managers attention and get your foot in the door? A winning resume is about more than just the skills and experience you have, it’s also about how you present them.  Here are three tips that will help you land that interview:

Start by Beating the ATS

By the time a Hiring Manager gets their hands on your resume, there is a very good chance it will have passed through an Applicant Tracking System. The ATS has become ubiquitous in the world of hiring because the technology helps distinguish qualified from unqualified candidates, and identify applicants that did or didn’t follow basic instructions. This means Hiring Managers don’t have to look at hundreds of resumes every time they post a job, only the ones that meet the system’s basic criteria.

One of the common reasons resumes get rejected is because the layout, font sizes, and other unrecognizable design elements exist within the resume. Stick with standard layouts, and stay away from items like graphs, charts, and pictures. It’s also worth noting that some fonts don’t work with ATS systems, so when in doubt, use Times New Roman or Arial, and stay away from fonts like Old English and Comic Sans. In fact, never use Comic Sans for anything. Ever.

Keep It Focused

Fun fact: A Hiring Manager will initially spend roughly seven seconds looking at your resume. In that time, you want them to see the specific skills and experience needed for the job. You should give the Hiring Manager an overview of your work experience (that you have customized and tailored to fit the specific position you’re applying for). Use bullet points in your employment history to highlight skills and training that will translate well to the open position. Use the job ad as your guide for what you should be focusing on. You can expand on your soft skills and show your personality during the interview, but for the resume, you want to keep things succinct so that your experience clearly shows why you’re a good candidate for the role.

Triple Check Your Work

Which one of the below phrases are most relevant to your resume?

  1. “I was focused on helping the customer.”
  2. “I was focused on helping the costumer.”

While both sentences may look quite similar at first glance, the one letter difference is a big one, and, most importantly, this is not something that will be noticed on most spell-check programs. The customer/costumer mix-up is a good example as to why you need an actual human being (or, if you have access to one, a super-smart house pet with an English degree) to read over your work before it goes out. This way the Hiring Manager won’t mistake your wonderful customer service skills for an out-of-place boast about your wardrobe skills.

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