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If you’ve found yourself laid off, unemployed for a while, or just looking for a better opportunity, then you will have to address your resume.  A resume is like an online dating profile.  It allows employers to search for job related criteria and identify potential candidates.  If the recruiter likes what they see, you will be asked out one “first date” (interview). 

Many people looking for work or a career change will submit their resume to numerous online career sites and simply sit by the phone waiting for it to ring.  So, how do you influence and encourage the first call?  By building a better resume.  And the best resume helper is not an online tool, but yourself.  You know yourself better than anyone else.  Getting that first date is all about unleashing your inner resume helper.    

The first step to unleashing your inner resume helper is to think about your long-term objectives and goals.  Where do you want to be in 5 years?  And how will a company benefit from you achieving your goal.  Companies want to see interest in and commitment to their organization.  It costs employers thousands of dollars to hire someone and so they don’t want to waste those thousands of dollars on someone who doesn’t see him or herself with the company long term. 

The second step is to consider your strengths.  You should never list anything negative on your resume.  During the interview, you will probably be asked to recall a time when things didn’t go as planned and how you reacted.  That will be your opportunity to take a weakness and spin it into a positive.  For your resume, you only want to highlight the good.  If possible use quantifiable data and examples when referencing your skill set.  For example, if one of your skills is “results driven”, then point to a work or life example where you didn’t stop until you had results.  These real life examples will help you stand out and come across more genuine. 

Some other basic rules to remember are:

  • Keep it to one page - Unless you have a VERY impressive background, try to eliminate the second page.
  • Make it scan-able - Recruiters read hundreds of resumes daily.  If you don’t make your resume easy to read by using bullet points, bolding, italics, and break it into sections a recruiter could easily bypass your resume. 
  • Stand out - As we mentioned, recruiters read hundreds of resumes a day.  If you don’t highlight your best skills, they may go unnoticed.  To highlight them, use the formatting rules above. 
  • Personal details - leave them for the interview.  You might feel compelled to add a personal touch like married, likes fly-fishing, or avid stamp collector in order to stand out.  You must remember that a recruiter isn’t hiring you; a hiring manager makes the final decision.  Therefore, the personal details are more important for connecting with the hiring manager.  This does not mean you shouldn’t try to build a relationship with the recruiter, just save the personal connection with your future boss. 
  • Spell check - Need I say more.  Your resume will not get the attention it deserves if it has spelling or grammatical errors. 

Good luck, stay positive and focused and before you know it, you will land the job you want by being your own resume helper.