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Tips for Improving Content of Targeted Resumes

There are several tips you can follow to improve upon the content of your targeted resume, such as eliminating anything that doesn’t support the job you’re after and making your objective specific.

Follow these tips to add sparkle to your targeted resume:

  • Match your resume to the job: To dart past job software filters, a resume must closely meet the requirements in the job description. If you know what company recruiters are looking for, make sure you put it in the top quarter of your resume. If instead you’re posting your resume in databanks, research the career field for typical requirements and include those that apply to you.

  • Use bulleted style for easy reading: Using one- or two-liners opens up your resume with white space, making it more appealing to read. Professional advertising copywriters know that big blocks of text suffocate readers. Let your words breathe!

  • Discover art of lost articles: Although using articles — “a,” “an,” and “the” — in your resume isn’t wrong, try deleting them for a crisper and snappier end result. Recruiters and employers expect to read resumes in compact phrases, not fully developed sentences.

  • Sell, don’t tell: Forget sticking to the old naming-your-previous-responsibilities routine. Merely listing “Responsible for XYZ” doesn’t assure the recruiter that you met your responsibility or that the result of your efforts was worth the money someone paid you.

    Try to imagine what’s running through a recruiter’s mind when you relate that you were responsible for XYZ: So what? Who cares? What’s in it for me? Anticipate those questions and answer them before a recruiter has a chance to toss your resume.

  • Show off your assets: Recruiters are wild about snaring the cream of the crop. If you’re in the top 5 percent of any significant group (graduation, sales, attendance record, performance ratings) make sure that fact appears prominently on your resume.

  • Make sure your words play well together: Use action verbs to perk up reading interest in resumes and include nouns — the keywords that ward off anonymity in resume databases. Just don’t mix noun and verb phrases in the same resume section. Writing instructors call this agreeable notion parallel construction.

  • Reach out with strength: Highlight the qualifications and past job activities that speak to the kind of job you want and the skills you want to use. If, for instance, you want to transition from military training to civilian training, remain riveted to your training skills without diluting your message by mentioning your ability to use several simple computer programs.

    Don’t muddle your resume’s message with minor skills or skills you no longer wish to use; stay on message.

  • Trash a wimpy objective: Avoid weak construction that leaves everyone wondering whether you’re a washout. Your statement can be simple, yet effective: “Management position in finance where more than ten years’ experience will strengthen the bottom line.”

  • Ask about resume submission procedures: Call the HR department where you want to work and are about to submit your resume. Ask: “Before I send you my resume online, I want to get the facts. Do you accept MS Word attachments, store them as formatted documents, and route them to line managers as images?” If the answer is yes, send the attractive version of your resume instead of the ugly ASCII plain text version.

  • Eliminate clutter: Remove useless information from your resume that doesn’t support reasons you’re a qualified candidate. These include: references, your Social Security number, the date your resume was prepared, your high school — if you're a college graduate, and dates spent involved with college extracurricular activities or civic organizations.

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