How to Write a Great Resume, Part 1

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How to write a resume that gets noticed.

Before all else, proofread. Actually, this should happen after everything else, but you get the idea. You might say, “But errors are human. No one can be expected to be 100% perfect with everything they write.” This might be true, but grammatical errors in your resume will still get a judgment from the potential interviewer. It’s not so much that having a perfectly grammatical resume will get you the job as much as typos might prevent it. Even if the position you’re seeking requires no ability to compose a sentence properly, your ability to do so in a resume demonstrates care and attention to detail, qualities that are valued by most employers. Make sure your resume has zero errors. Even a good spell-checker can’t always tell the difference between “there” and “their”, so if you know you’re lacking in the proofreading department, have a knowledgeable friend look it over for you.

Secondly, tailor the resume to fit the job. While it’s perfectly fine to have one basic resume that you send to various job openings, each job will have slightly different requirements. Read your resume from the potential employer’s perspective. Does the experience this person has correlate well to the job opening? You can’t list every aspect of your past experience, so make sure your resume emphasizes what’s important. You probably don’t need to go into great detail about your first job (unless it’s the only place you’ve worked).

Write a cover letter. Why? Because it shows you care enough about getting the job to address the interviewer personally. All other things being equal, a person who submits a resume and a cover letter will get the interview over someone who submits only a resume. While a resume is a great way to provide an easy-to-read summary of your qualifications, the cover letter is your chance to really convince the interview that you should be hired. It’s likely that the interviewer has many resumes with essentially the same set of skills laid out in each. Use the cover letter to express why you think the company should hire you. Write in terms of what you can do to help the company.

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