How to Write a Successful Resume

By Lexi Reeve

Whether you’re fresh out of college or you’ve been working for years and are just trying to make a career change, we all know how difficult the job search can be. And by far, one of the most grueling tasks you must complete during the process is resume writing. Yet everyone has to do it at some point; the trouble is knowing how to market yourself to prospective employers. Well, take a seat and start writing because you’re about to learn how to write a successful resume that will land you a job interview.

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So what is a resume, exactly?

The common misconception about resumes is that you have to list everything about yourself on a single piece of paper. In reality, your resume is just a chance for you to get the employer interested. Only list the most critical need-to-know items, like the job experience you have that’s relevant to the position you’re applying for. Once you land the interview, you can elaborate on everything else that makes you qualified for the job.

Employers don’t want to know nor do they have the time to learn about every job you’ve ever held and every volunteer event you’ve ever been to. One of the most important things you can do to your resume is to target it around the position you’re applying for. For example, if you are applying for an advertising job, only list the education, work, and volunteer experience you’ve held related to advertising. This employer may not be interested in other job positions you’ve held (say for example, in the food industry) if those jobs don’t relate to the company or the position applied for.

Another way to specialize your resume is to do some research. Once you find a position you want to apply for, and once you’ve targeted your resume by the experience related to that particular position, visit the business’s website. If the website repeats specific words (perhaps in its “mission” or “about us” section) you know those descriptive words are important to the business and its goals. Place those “power” words into your resume so you can stand out to your employer as a candidate that strives for the same objectives that the company does. You will already be a top contender and this will (hopefully) land you an interview.

Finally, another way to make your resume stand out is to add a picture of yourself. This is often debated but it depends entirely on the position you’re applying for. If you’re applying for a position that requires a lot of creativity, then don’t hesitate to include a picture of yourself. Not only will you stand out, but employers will know that you think outside of the box. However, if the position you’re applying for or the firm itself has a somewhat “strict” reputation, such as an attorney’s office, adding a picture is not advised because it could potentially be viewed as unprofessional.

Well, there you have it. You now know how to target your resume and market yourself to employers! Of course the other resume basics apply, like keeping it to one page, listing your contact information, and providing references, but now you have a much higher chance of being hired. Not all resumes are created equal, so make sure you’re doing all you can to make yours stand out.

Good luck on the job search!