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Find the Perfect Job: Improve Your Resume and Get Hired Today

Updated on April 22, 2013

Improve Your Resume

  1. The most important thing you can do to improve your resume, and get hired is to proofread it. Make sure your grammar and spelling are perfect. There is no quicker way for an employer to weed out potential employees than looking at spelling and grammar.
  2. Make sure the resume is professional. Don’t use colored paper, or spray it with perfume. Use an 11 point or 12 point size font in plain, standard font, such as Ariel or Times New Roman. Do not add graphics, boxes, or pictures.
  3. Make sure your resume is one page. Depending on how much relevant information you have, add as many sections as you need to help you sell yourself for this position.
  4. Tailor your resume to the position and the company. This is a crucial element to landing a particular job. If the position is a salesperson, each section should include qualities that a salesperson would possess or qualities specified in the job description. Also, RESEARCH the company. Know their mission, goals, values, and history. Be able to discuss your knowledge in the job interview. This is both impressive and shows the interviewer you care about the company. If the company’s main goal is customer satisfaction, focus your resume on your previous experience with customer service, achievements you have made with customers (for example: customer compliments, customer retention rate, etc.), and include “customer service” in each of the sections of your resume.
  5. Show you’ve had a solid, stable work history. If you were unemployed for a year, but did some volunteer work at your church, use that volunteer work as your work experience during that year. Make sure there are no gaps in your employment on your resume. Find something you did during that time, and use that as your job history.
  6. If possible, use the chronological type of resume. This is the most traditional and popular type of resume. Employers expect to see this type of resume, so they are less likely to toss it in the trash. It is also the easiest type of resume to prepare. It shows you have a steady work history, especially in the field you are applying for.

Small Improvements Can Make All the Difference

  • If you had a better “major” GPA, you could put “Accounting GPA 4.0, Overall GPA 3.5” (if you are an Accountant).
  • List training courses or workshops you have taken underneath the education and training section.
  • If you are very talented with a specific program, illustrate it on the resume. For example, if you know Microsoft Access well, add “created databases from scratch in order to improve the efficiency of the company.”
  • Improve your testing scores on your resume. Check out http://www.typingtest.com
  • For a company you worked at, where you have multiple positions, be sure to name the positions you held and the dates you held them. In an interview, this gives you the opportunity to explain that you received a raise and a promotion because of your hard work.
  • Put your best foot forward. If your most impressive section on your resume is your education, put your education above your skills, work experience, licenses, and certificates.
  • Don’t make your resume a novel of your life. Make it concise, clear, and brief. Keep it to one page.
  • Quantify your accomplishments. Employers are results-oriented. Use numbers and figures, showing how much money you saved your old company or how many people you supervised.
  • Have at least two other people look over your resume for accuracy, spelling, grammar, and lay-out.
  • Use phrases, not complete sentences. A resume is not a report; it is a summary about you.
  • Do not lie or exaggerate on your resume. If you claim to know a software system, you may get hired for that very reason. You won’t last long in a job where they think you know software you know nothing about.
  • Do not use fancy formatting or unclear fonts. It will easily be tossed in the trash without the employer even reading it.
  • Do not put personal information on there that is inappropriate. Do not include information about a medical condition, your height, weight, or family problems.
  • A resume is not the place to discuss your salary requirements. If an employer asks for yours, you can say it is negotiable or research the position for the most appropriate salary range to provide them.
  • Don’t put your references on your resume. Simply state, “References Available upon Request.”
  • Choose the format of resume that makes you look the best.

Quality/Keywords to Use in Your Resume

Keywords are specific uses or industry phrases that you should use in your job search. Try to include buzzwords in your resume somewhere. You can put them under your characteristics, under your experience, under your objective, under your profile or anywhere else you can squeeze them in. Just try to put as many of them in as you can. Many employers just “scan” resume either manually or electronically and look for these buzzwords, so get them on there!

Analytical

Problem Solving

Oral communication

Positive

Teamwork

Excellent organizational and leadership skills

Ethical

Dedicated

Creative

Quality assurance

Make decisions

Sound judgment

Make timely decisions

Prioritize/plan my work

Efficiency

Performance evaluation – good ones in the past

Encourage growth

Knowledge of <specialty>

Computer skills: Microsoft Suite (especially)

Excel (usually looked for the most – try to learn it well and be “Advanced”)

Excellent communication skills

Can prioritize

Deliver assignments on time

Integrity

Accurate

Timely work

Meets tight deadlines

Flexible

Can handle pressure

Perform at the highest level

Efficient

Time saving

Ways to accomplish goals and mission of company

Can handle change

Social skills

The general items to include on a resume are:

 
All of your contact information
Your profile
A solid career objective
A Skills section
Work Experience section
Education list
Licenses and Certificates
Affiliations
References: “Available upon request” statement

Profile

Make sure you highlight what kind of person you are and what kind of skills you can offer.

Example Profile #1

Motivated businessman seeking a stable, permanent position. Organized with experience in administrative leadership and in strengthening a company’s missions and goals. Great team player with superb verbal and written communication skills. Able to improve methods in order to provide efficient and accurate results. Dependable, flexible, able to handle pressure well, and meet tight deadlines. Very ethical and responsible.

Example Profile #2

More than 12 years of experience in all phases of management. Expertise in resolving differences between workers. Effective supervisor of employees.

Objective

Explain what position you are seeking and why you are seeking it.

Objective Example #1

Seeking the position of a Controller to utilize learned skills and abilities in the field of Accounting.

Objective Example #2

Accountant with a full range of responsibilities from Accounts Receivable to taxes.

Skills

List your many skills, especially your computer skills, in bullet points in this section.

Skills Example #1

  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • C++
  • COBAL

Skills Example #2

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Experience in customer service
  • Self-motivated
  • Confident in making independent decisions
  • Very well organized
  • Able to meet tight deadlines
  • Excellent trainer
  • Patient
  • Can effectively work with a wide range of personalities
  • Project oriented
  • Fast learner

Work Experience

Using a chronological resume, you can present your work history in reverse date order. Use it when you have a specific job in mind and when your experience record indicates a consistent related history in that field. It emphasizes job duties and highlights a steady work history.

Typically, this section indents the businesses you worked for in the past on the left side. The place of business is written out in full, and put in bold. After the business name, there is a comma with the location of the business (city and state) next to it. On the same line, the dates of employment are right aligned in bold. Beneath the Place of Business is the position title in italics. Below that in bullet points are between three and five “Action” oriented statements about the job you had.

(Different layouts can be done here).

Work Experience Example #1

2003 – PRESENT

MASTER ELECTRICIAN

XYZ Company, Lima, Massachusetts

  • Total electrical renovation of apartments for new tenants
  • Provided new wiring of single family homes
  • Replaced fixtures and receptacles in townhouses

1992 – 2003

ELECTRICIAN

United State Army, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

  • Repaired electrical systems and devices for 300,000 square feet of office and classroom space
  • Purchased material for over 1,000 electrical items
  • Trained two apprentices on electrical maintenance procedures
  • Worked with voltages up to 480-volt 3-phrase systems

Work Experience Example #2

Waiter, Walters Seafood, Wichita, Texas. 1991 – Present.

Provide table service to customers of an upscale family restaurant. Have developed excellent interpersonal skills.

Warehouse Assistant, Martin Furniture Company, Dallas, Texas. 1989-1991.

Loaded and unloaded furniture and decorating accessories from suppliers. Installed draperies and blinds purchased from our specialty shop.

Key Verbs for the Job Experience – “Action Words”

Here are more verbs you can use in the descriptions of your duties in your previous jobs. Try to use these words and not small words that won’t “scan” if a company is looking for those words in particular.

Administered

Analyzed

Established

Accomplished

Completed

Increased

Reconciled

Researched

Acquired

Conducted

Innovated

Recorded

Acted

Controlled

Interviewed

Reduced

Projected

Adapted

Cultivated

Joined

Reorganized

Reported

Managed

Advanced

Corrected

Led

Resolved

Computed

Aided

Cultivated

Maintained

Reviewed

Retrieved

Appraised

Accelerated

Achieved

Assisted

Began

Budgeted

Built

Composed

Conceived

Converted

Counseled

Created

Delivered

Directed

Doubled

Earned

Engineered

Ensured

Established

Evaluated

Expanded

Expedited

Finished

Forecasted

Founded

Guided

Headed

Helped

Improvised

Instituted

Instructed

Introduced

Launched

Maximized

Modified

Negotiated

Operated

Optimized

Produced

Programmed

Promoted

Proposed

Proved

Provided

Qualified

Rated

Recommended

Recruited

Redesigned

Revamped

Revised

Scheduled

Served

Set up

Simplified

Sold

Sparked

Started

Streamlined

Stressed

Stretched

Succeeded

Summarized

Superseded

Supervised

Supported

Systematized

Taught

Terminated

Traced

Tracked

Traded

Transferred

Translated

Tripled

Trimmed

Tutored

Uncovered

Unearthed

Unified

Unraveled

Utilized

Vacated

Won

Withdrew

Worked

Approved

Decreased

Managed

Saved

Screened

Allocated

Answered

Designed

Measured

Secured

Sent

Assigned

Audited

Drafted

Observed

Shortened

Solved

Consolidated

Authorized

Determined

Organized

Stabilized

Staffed

Delegated

Balanced

Edited

Participated

Strengthened

Developed

Calculated

Eliminated

Performed

Structured

Executed

Changed

Estimated

Planned

Submitted

Supplied

Oversaw

Charted

Facilitated

Prepared

Tailored

Trained

Formulated

Checked

Figured

Presented

Transformed

Updated

Mediated

Collected

Hired

Prioritized

Valued

Commissioned

Identified

Purchased

Weighed

Widened

Compared

Invented

Implemented

Quoted

Classified

Executed

Originated

Compiled

Improved

Received

Generated

Inspected

Performed

Monitored

Processed

Specified

Developed

Motivated

Education

Spell out your degree. Spell out the university you attended. List your grade point average if it is good. List out your major or courses you took if they are relevant to the position you are applying for and if you have room.

Education Example #1

Bachelor of Business Administration, Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas. August 1994.

Majored in Finance with additional emphasis on Human Resource Management, Accounting, and Economics. 3.49 GPA.

Education Example #2

Training Community College, Old Harbor, Massachusetts

Electrical Construction, 1,920 hours of study, certificated awarded 1987.

Licenses and Certificates

If you have a related license or certificate, this is a great opportunity to shine. If they are very relevant and impressive, you may want put this section closer to the top of the resume.

Licenses and Certificates Example #1

United States Notary, expires 2014.

Licenses and Certificates Example #2

New York Journeyman’s License #4399-KE

Affiliations

“Organizations and Affiliations” is a great opportunity to show how dedicated you are to your field. It also shows your character.

Affiliations Example #1

(Bullet point these items)

  • Active in intramural sports
  • Member, BSU Business Fraternity
  • Volunteer with Threads of Compassion

Affiliations Example #2

(Bullet point these items)

  • Dean’s List, 1977 through 1989
  • Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society
  • Member of the Certified Pubic Accountant’s Association

Sample Resume

Joeseph L. Johnson

100 Main Street

Norman, Oklahoma 75069

(405) 555-5555

jjohnson@email.com



Profile


Proactive individual seeking a positive environment filled with teamwork. Talented and eager with experience in providing marketing support, and strengthening the company’s missions by prioritizing well. Leader with excellent communication skills. Reliable, flexible, and able to meet tight deadlines. Ethical and responsible.


Computer Skills

QuickBooks, Microsoft Office Suite, Series 4000, and administrative functions (Typing: 75+ wpm; Data Entry 9900+ kpm; 10-Key 9500+ kpm).


Experience

SPECIAL ASSIGNMENTS – Volunteer 6/05 to Present

  • The Children's Network - Donates funds and supplies correspondence to those in need.
  • American Soldiers – Prepares correspondence to reach soldiers overseas who do not receive any mail from family or friends, offering encouragement and hope from people in the U.S.A.
  • A Local Prison Ministry– Helps prisoners through positive, uplifting support during their difficult time in prison. Offers advice and letters of encouragement.

THE AMERICAN TRANSPORT CORPORATION – Lead Marketer 9/07 to 6/11

  • Researched grants, prepared collections, created miscellaneous reports as assigned by the CEO, was the customer service support for the Marketing department, created an order processing system, and invented new advertisements.

ROLD’S STORES – Marketing Assistant 3/06 to 8/07

  • Assisted stores with difficulties in their local marketing, helped the marketing department create advertisements for the store, and researched competitors online.

BOLDZ – Customer Service Representative 11/02 to 3/06

  • Provided customer support. Received a promotion to the marketing department. Researched reports, provided ideas for marketing strategies, and helped with the business plan.


Education

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Midwestern Christian University (3.9 GPA)

Improved Your Resume

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  • misslong123 profile image
    Author

    Michele Kelsey 4 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

    Thanks! Yes, it can be hard to come up with words from the thesaurus that sound more professional than what's in your head. I think having a very professional resume is the key to getting a great job. Right now, I'm helping a friend who has an awful resume, because he didn't know how to make one. I redid it, and I'm helping him set up accounts on Monster, Careerbuilder, etc. and applying for jobs for him. I'm always happy to proof someone's resume. I used to hire assistants for me, and just one look at their resume would tell me a lot. Sometimes it was the formatting, the experience, the skills, and more often than not, it was the spelling and grammar mistakes. Having an excellent resume that you are proud of is so important!!

  • lindacee profile image

    lindacee 4 years ago from Arizona

    Excellent advice for resume writing and tweaking. I especially love the keywords and key verbs. I always get stuck trying to come up with actionable verbs to describe job duties. Well done! :)

  • misslong123 profile image
    Author

    Michele Kelsey 4 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

    Thank you Leslie! I'm glad it was useful.

  • lesliebyars profile image

    Buster Johnson 4 years ago from Alabama

    This is a great hub I must say. I am going to book mark it and share it.