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Dominate Your Competition with the Ultimate Resume!

Updated on May 28, 2014

Everything you need to know to create a resume that will knock the socks off your next employer

Looking for some tips to polish up your already-slick resume? Or are you just sick and tired of dropping off resumes at every fast food chain, retail outlet, and summer camp within a 30-mile radius (never to hear back from anyone)? Whether you're trying for your first real job, or you've sat through more interviews than most hiring managers, this lens is dedicated to giving you the tools you need to get yourself in the door (assuming you're applying to a job that you're qualified for, of course!). So if you're ready to draft a resume that will blow your next employer away, read on for the four steps you need to know to create the ultimate resume and land that interview!

1) Pretty it up!

No, this doesn't involve using scented paper with a jungle leaf border... but the formatting and layout should be appealing to the eye. This means:

- All of your bullet points align perfectly

- The font is simple and easy to read (Times New Roman is standard)

- You use the same abbreviations throughout (ie. Jan, Feb, Mar... NOT Jan, February, Mar., April...)

- There is minimal wasted space on your resume (avoid clutter, but having too little information will make your resume appear weak and bare)

This list is not exhaustive; while you may think these things are trivial, make no mistake... employers may not notice if all these things are in place, but they will DEFINITELY notice if they're missing!

2) Customize your resume for each employer

If you're really serious about landing that dream job in software analysis, you'll list your computer skills near the very top of your resume. On the other hand, if you're after a position in public relations, computer skills probably aren't the first thing you'd like to show off.

Each employer is different, and the order in which you present your skills and talents should vary, both by employer, and by industry. Whether you choose to list your accomplishments in chronological or a more functional order, start with the most relevant information, and finish with the least relevant. This brings me to my next point:

Look for keywords!

Look carefully through the employer's job description to pinpoint specific traits and qualifications that they are looking for in a successful candidate. This is how you decide what is most relevant! For example, if the job description calls for an employee who is "analytical and detail-oriented," you probably won't score many points by stating that you are an extroverted visionary. A good rule of thumb to follow:

For every keyword you find in the job description, you should use it at least once in your resume.

You give yourself a much greater chance of being noticed and standing out if you align your resume to match the specifications that the employer is looking for.

3) Use impact words to begin each bullet

Which set of accomplishments sounds more impressive?

This one:

- Brought in significantly more revenue over previous year's franchisee

- Came up with extremely successful marketing strategies

- Took weekly inventories of supplies and merchandise

Or this one:

- Significantly increased franchise revenue over previous year's franchisee

- Devised extremely successful marketing strategies

- Conducted weekly inventories of supplies and merchandise

You guessed it; using impact verbs to start off a bullet point will have a greater effect on the reader than simple, boring, everyday words, even if all of the information you present is exactly the same.

Now, some of you reading this may still see something missing, even from the second set of bullets. What exactly is it that's missing? Read on to point number four to find out.

4) Be specific and measurable!

Potential employers aren't just looking for you to spit your job description back at them; they want to know exactly how well you accomplished the tasks that were assigned to you! Give them what they want by being specific and measurable in each bullet point. Again, I'll ask you to make the comparison; using the second set of bullets from number 3) above, which of the following sets of accomplishments sounds more impressive?

Number one:

- Significantly increased franchise revenue over previous year's franchisee

- Devised extremely successful marketing strategies

- Conducted weekly inventories of supplies and merchandise

Or number two:

- Increased franchise revenue 247% (from $9500 to $23500) over previous year's franchisee through superior customer service and marketing strategies

- Devised extremely successful marketing strategies that generated over 300 new customers

- Conducted weekly inventories of supplies and merchandise, reorganizing them in a way that made them more easily accessible

As you can see, impact verbs are only one piece of the puzzle. Another important component is to be specific and measurable. Employers don't just want to know what you did; they want to know how well you did it.

See below for my personal interpretation of these points; my resume.

Here's one way you could put it all together: - Yes, this was my actual resume in 2008... practice what you preach, of course!

If you take away just one thing...

There is one shared theme throughout this entire article: specificity. Your resume must be treated like a custom piece of artwork, as opposed to a mass-produced generic product. Each customer (employer) demands a special order that meets their specific tastes and requirements. You can either meet those demands, or be left wondering why the hiring manager chose the guy who handed in his resume after you for an interview. Heck, maybe he knew these pointers...

And if you enjoyed this lens, please rate it! And check out my second lens ever and tell me what you think. It's a more personal one, about my local tennis club, and the incredible effect it had on me growing up; it's titled The Welland Tennis Club. I'd love your feedback on that one as well!

Am I missing any key points? - Tell me about it!

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    • Hairdresser007 profile image

      James Jordan 4 years ago from Burbank, CA

      Great tips! I need to brush mine off!

    • Mandy Stradley profile image

      Mandy Stradley 5 years ago

      Great tips!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 5 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Great tips! I need to redo my resume.

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      your resume is very outstanding. there is a squidoo bug. i can't find the squidlike thumbs up. i will get back to you.

    • jrr2112 profile image

      jrr2112 5 years ago

      @kaposzta: Well thank you! Glad you found them useful. That CV is actually quite old now, but it still serves its purpose on this lens!

    • kaposzta profile image

      kaposzta 5 years ago

      Great tips, and your CV is outstanding!

    • profile image

      tammanasule 5 years ago

      The resume we send to the employers is one of the bunch of resumes he has already received. So if you want your resume to get noticed then it need to be that effective and impressive. You have provided good tips to make a resume powerful.

      Thanks for sharing this lens.

    • jrr2112 profile image

      jrr2112 6 years ago

      @cruiser123: You're absolutely right; a resume that is too long will never get the full attention of the reader. What constitutes too long differs from country to country, but in Canada the generally accepted practice is to keep resumes to two pages or less. Anything more is overkill.

    • profile image

      cruiser123 6 years ago

      I think one point is pretty important which is resume lenghth,as a long resume can be a troule for you.A well piece of information provided by you.Before reading this lens,i was in dilemma with a lot of quetions ,but now everything is as clear as crystal.I hav esimilar kind of post for

      resume skills and business letter format.

    • profile image

      resumewords 8 years ago

      Also see the resume writing power words at the free Resume Dictionary.

    • GreenEcoBean profile image

      GreenEcoBean 8 years ago

      Hey, this lens is really great!! I am in the hr industry and know a good resume when I see one. You know how to write a resume, and your advice is wonderful! Also, a very entertaining read!!!!

    • profile image

      ClutterLady 8 years ago

      Good information to know.

    • profile image

      likeapenguin 8 years ago

      Great lens! What about linking to some additional useful books about resumes using the Amazon module? Loved it!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Great lens! I used to write resumes for a living. You explained it succinctly and in a fun way that isn't overwhelming.

    • profile image

      Floraluniverses 8 years ago

      Great lens! It may be very useful for many people.

    • profile image

      Floraluniverses 8 years ago

      Great lens! It may be very useful for many people.

    • profile image

      jura 8 years ago

      Great advise how to wright a resume,great lens.

    • jrr2112 profile image

      jrr2112 8 years ago

      Thanks everyone, it's really nice to know that I'm providing useful information here! It certainly helped me out along the way, so I'm more than happy to pay it forward!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Very good information!

    • chrisfarmer lm profile image

      chrisfarmer lm 8 years ago

      great lens

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      My students come to me for help with their resumes all the time. Now I have something a little more concete to give them.



    • FunGifts4All profile image

      FunGifts4All 8 years ago

      Great work and good topic. Thanks for the info. 5 stars!!!

    • profile image

      rockycha 8 years ago

      Love all the insights in getting heard from prospective employers... .of course in "Legally Blonde" she was known to add a bit of perfume to scent her resume too, lol, I liked that idea! :) High Fives

    • jrr2112 profile image

      jrr2112 8 years ago

      Thanks everyone! It's very reassuring to know that I'm off to a good start. I have aspirations to become a giant squid one day, because I know that being one is a mark of the quality and quantity of information you deliver!

    • profile image

      bdkz 8 years ago

      My name is Bonnie and I’m a Giant Squid Community Organizer here on Squidoo. I think you’ve got a quality lens on your hands and should check out the Giant Squid Program! Giant Squids are the best-of-the-best on Squidoo and get some amazing perks.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 8 years ago

      You have provided good sound advice in this lens. Great job 5*s

    • verymary profile image

      Mary 8 years ago from Chicago area

      Excellent first lens! Lots of good info. Resumes are tricky, and your tips are really helpful. 5*****

    • jrr2112 profile image

      jrr2112 8 years ago

      Thanks guys! I really appreciate your feedback!

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 8 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great work, welcome to Squidoo! You've done well.

    • MikeMoore LM profile image

      MikeMoore LM 8 years ago

      Nice lens! Hard to believe that it's your first. Welcome to Squidoo and five stars for you.

    • jrr2112 profile image

      jrr2112 8 years ago

      Thanks man! Yeah, the people at the co-op office... well if you can't say something nice, say nothing, right? Haha

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Awesome job J, the co-op office could certainly learn a thing or two from you. I'll admit I switched everything on my resume after the co-op office approved it to their standards.

      Nice work bud!