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Start with a Resume

Resumes remain the basic starting point for getting a job. Here’s how to optimize this essential part of your job search.

While there are new ways to get your information to prospective employers — a LinkedIn profile, a personal blog, your Facebook page, networking events, etc. — the resume still is a necessity. Employers use resumes to narrow the list of candidates they call in for an interview. Here’s how you can use it to show why you are the best candidate for the job.

Master the Basics
Start your resume strong with a clear objective that highlights your main qualifications for the position. For every job you’ve held, list in a concise manner:

• The company name and time worked at the organization  

• Job title along with primary skills, duties, and responsibilities

• Additional skills and responsibilities you brought to the job

• Accomplishments using results and numbers when possible

• Any additional qualifications and technical skills relevant to the job opening

Pay Attention to Details
Employers scan resumes for specific criteria. Include details they want to see, including:

• Skills for a specific job, including keywords from the job listing

• Specific levels of work experience

• Reliability by listing dates of employment at each company

• Leadership and initiative by listing leadership roles and examples of initiative

Create a Digital Footprint
Set yourself apart by breaking free of the format everyone else is using and taking advantage of online tools. Fortunately, there are digital resume services that can help tune up a resume for a digital format without any special coding or technical skills. Here are some of those tools that will help you dazzle employers with your digital resume.

Be Focused and Concise
Don’t include unnecessary information or personal identifications (like your age or ethnicity) on your resume. Be focused on your qualifications. Keep it brief and to the point. Here’s what to leave off your resume.

Commit It to Memory
Employers will use your resume as part of the basis for your interview. Review your resume in advance and be prepared to discuss all of the qualifications, skills, and work experience listed.

Before you just launch into the next phase of the job search, make sure to master the resume portion. It remains the building block of the rest of your career trajectory.