How to land the job of your dreams! It all begins with the resume.

Competition in the job market leads many to think it’s a numbers game … so they submit their resume anyplace and everyplace they can only to become discouraged by how few interviews, if any, they get – and they wonder why?

If one has difficulty getting the interview, then maybe there is something lacking in the resume? Could there be a resume writing method to help increase your chances of an interview? Is there a way to make a first impression that gets you the interview?

Customize your resume – The greatest piece of advice on resume writing is to customize the resume to the job you are applying for. If you cannot take the time to do this, you must not want the job that bad. It is important to fully capitalize on your strengths and past experiences, as it relates to the job you are applying for. Hiring managers are busy and inundated with resumes, so you must capture their attention within seconds.

When customizing your resume, start from top to bottom. For example, if you have a career objective, this should be changed to reflect the job you are applying for – every time for every job. Your chances for an interview will diminish quickly if your career objective is not in line with the job you are applying for. Re-arranging the order of information can also be helpful so the content most applicable to the job you are applying for is listed first. Delete content that is not relevant or has become outdated and add or make sure all relevant experience is on your resume. Certifications such as CPA & PMP should be added at the top of your resume after your name, if they are in line with the job you are applying for.

Make it about accomplishments – Employers want to hire employees who have excelled at their job responsibilities and are “go getters”, so don’t be modest about yourself and your accomplishments! Remember that your resume is a marketing tool to get you the interview.

Use strong action verbs such as increased, improved, implemented, created, presented, excelled, developed, decreased, managed, directed, etc. Employers love to hear how you can save them money and increase sales so quantify your success whenever possible. Use “approximately” before a number if you are not sure of exact numbers.

Use good grammar – Double check your grammar, use of verbs and never forget to run spell check! No need to use pronouns such as “I” or “me”, as the reader already knows the resume is about you. All past employer accomplishments should be in past tense and only your current employer should be in present tense. For example, under a past employer you would use the verb “Excelled” and under a current employer you would use the verb “Excel”.

Overall appearance – Make sure your resume is easy on the eyes and not too busy. Less is more so keep it simple and don’t try to be fancy. Be consistent with the font style and size, margins and layout and don’t go overboard with italics, underlining or using bold. Clearly label the different sections of your resume such as education and experience and make sure to include all applicable training and certifications. Keep it consistent and stay simple.

Bullets work nicely to summarize your accomplishments, as you can quickly get to the point and do not have to use complete sentences. Try to keep your resume to 1-2 pages so you don’t overwhelm the reader. If you want to share more details, you can reference your LinkedIn profile hyperlink with your contact information at the top of your resume. A nice professional photo on your LinkedIn profile can help increase your chances of an interview, as an added bonus. It’s not necessary to include “References available upon request” or to include the actual references, as these are typically not requested until after an interview and they can be provided separate from the resume.

Don’t get personal – Your resume is about your career and not your personal life. You should not include information about your age, marital status, family or health. The only exceptions may be personal accomplishments that relate to the job and may be of interest to the employer. For example, running a marathon speaks to professional’s determination and ability to excel especially if the employer is in the medical/healthcare business. Writing, re-writing and customizing your resume can be time intensive, but time well spent if you want to get the interview and land the job of your dreams. The good news is once you have the interview the job becomes much easier to attain!

By Tammie Carr – President, TalentSource