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5 Ways to Make a Good Impression with Your Resume

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resume notesThese days, no one has a long attention span. Evening hiring managers have short attention spans. If you want to be noticed, you really have to make an impression quickly, and create a resume that is scanable, that captures the essence of who you are, and what you can offer to the employer.

As you prepare your resume, take the time to figure out what you want to do next, and consider how to present yourself. Then craft a resume based on what the employer is looking for. Tailor your resume is absolutely crucial these days and spending the extra time to put together the perfect resume will beat the time you save blasting out a million copies of your resume.

Make sure, though, that you also grab attention in a way that allows them to see what you offer.

1. Use White Space

Set up your resume so that there is some white space. It’s not about cramming in a bunch of information. It’s really more about choose the right information to include, and leaving some white space in there so it’s easy for a potential employer to quickly find the applicable information. It’s about catching the eye and making it easy to see what you’ve written, and allow for quick scanning to help a hiring manager find the information you are offering.

2. Use Keywords

It’s very important to use keywords in your resume. Identify the keywords offered in the job description, and consider how they can be used to help you identify the important characteristics in yourself. Company and job description keywords catch the eye of a reader looking for specific items. If you have keywords, you will quickly catch the attention of the potential employer.

3. Start with the Important Items

Begin with the most relevant experience. Highlight the experiences that that are most likely to provide you an “in” with a potential employer. Don’t forget to use keywords so that you are able to show that your relevant experience is really relevant, and that you are a tailored fit for the job.

4. Use Dynamic Language

Lists of “duties and responsibilities” are out. Dynamic illustrations of what you have accomplished are in. Dynamic action words catch attention, and let the resume reader know that you have actually done something. Do your best to show results. Showing how you’ve improved things at a specific company, and highlighting your successes, grabs attention much quicker — and holds it better — than a boring list where every item starts out with, “I did,” “I helped,” or “I was in charge of.”

5. Don’t Get Too Creative

Yes, an interesting resume can grab attention. However, it can quickly go bad. Don’t get crazy with fonts and formatting. Keep things clean, consistent, and easy to ready. Don’t put a headshot on your resume, either. You don’t want your look causing problems because of bias, whether it’s gender, race, or just general attractiveness (or lack thereof). While a touch of creativity can be useful, and can illustrate your abilities, carefully consider when it it called for, and how much of it is expected in your field. Realize, though, that once your creativity starts cluttering things up, you run into problems, since it becomes frustrating, and the reader can just decide to bail out.

(Photo: Karen Beil)

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3 Responses to “5 Ways to Make a Good Impression with Your Resume”

  1. ChimChim says:

    As an expat, I utilize a resume and CV. Resume for US only and global CV. For CV’s especially in EMEA/APAC, its absolutely critical that you include a photo including your nationality. In some cases, employers prefer that you include your marital status, children, etc.

    Btw, the job market is very tight in Europe. If you want to work here, you either must be sponsored by a US firm or have a unique skill-set not offered by the local labor pool. My wife and I work in Switzerland but looking to go to Asia – we love Japan. Tokyo – best city on earth!

  2. martin says:

    What “key words”?
    What “Dynamic words”?
    Whatever they are

    • mw says:

      Did you read the article?

      “Identify the keywords offered in the job description, and consider how they can be used to help you identify the important characteristics in yourself.”


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