3 Ways You Can Make Your Resumé Stand out

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With a national unemployment rate of 10 percent, it’s no surprise that more than half of Americans pick unemployment as the top economic issue facing the country today, according to a new CNN poll.

Chances are if you haven’t lost your job during the financial turmoil of the last couple of years, you know someone – likely several someones – who has.

Competing with a lot of people for very few jobs isn’t fun, but there are things you can do to help your chances.

Because the first impression potential employers typically have of you is your resumé, make sure it’s in tip-top shape. Here are three ways to help make your qualifications stand out:

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1. Use Strong Action Verbs

Time to throw out old standbys like “Responsible for” and “In charge of.” They’re passive words that don’t do you justice. When listing details about your qualifications, make sure each bullet point leads with a strong action verb, like “Managed,” “Created” and “Developed.”

Strong action verbs give your qualifications power. They make you a leader rather than a follower. They show significant contribution instead of adequate work.

For a list of action verbs that will give your resumé some muscle, check out WriteExpress.

2. Quantify Your Efforts as Much as Possible

It’s one thing to say you were a maintenance manager responsible for servicing an apartment complex. It’s quite another to say you managed the complete maintenance of 80 apartments, completing an average of 12 work orders a day.

Quantifying the work you’ve done brings life to your resumé. It shows that you have pride in your work and helps a hiring manager better visualize how your contributions can benefit a company’s bottom line.

Putting numbers to paper may be harder for some than others. Here’s where you might need to get creative.  Have your efforts saved a company money? Did you get your work finished faster than your co-workers? Did you improve the performance of a product or service? Do you bring customers in the door? All of these things can and should be quantified to show potential employers what you’ve done so they can get a feel for what you can do for them.

3. Tailor Your Resumé to Each Position

One of the top ways a resumé fails is when it’s not adjusted for the position for which it’s intended. For example, if you’re applying for a customer service position at a software company and the objective on your resumé states you’re interested in doing market research for an e-commerce business, your resumé falls short.

If you can’t take the time to tweak and tailor your resumé for the position for which you’re applying, why should a hiring manager take the time to find out who you are and what you have to offer?

What should you customize? To start:

  • Your objective, if you have one.
  • The positions you choose to list on your resumé.
  • The responsibilities and details of each position.
  • Coursework, certifications and licenses.

Your resumé should clearly tell a hiring manager why you’re right for the position for which you’re applying.

Finding a job is hard enough, let alone in an economy in which you may be competing with several hundred applicants for a single position. But if you take a look at all the ways in which you present yourself when applying for a job, including your resumé, you’ll find that the inches are everywhere.

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