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Show Your Potential: 10 Tips to a Better Resume

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Resumes have long been a staple of the job seeker. No matter where you apply or what field you're looking for work in, most employers are looking for some sort of resume to give them an idea of who you are and what you have done up to this point. Even with the high level of importance placed on the resume, many people have no idea where to begin or what a good resume should look like. Here are ten tips to help you write a better resume and get the job you really want.

1. Tailor the resume to the job description

Make sure that every time you apply for a job that you adjust your resume to the particular place you are applying. Read through the job description and make notes of any areas being focused on. Make sure to add information to your resume that highlights your abilities in those areas and makes you more attractive for the particular position you are applying for.

2. Add in a list of skills

Your resume is no place for modesty. Highlight your skills, especially if they are specific to the job you're applying for and list where you gained experience with that skill set. Instead of being general, give concrete details and highlights. For example, list your experience with Microsoft Office or even a particular piece of software over computer skills. Make sure to include plenty of competency statements.

3. Make your resume original

Make sure your resume stands out from the crowd. Don't be afraid of trying something different or breaking from the mold. Sometimes a little creativity can garner enough attention to get your resume read which can make all the difference. Don't overdo it though. Being wacky or silly may be a part of your personality but usually is not a desirable quality in the work place. Photos are usually a bad idea as well. Be creative but keep it simple to avoid drawing attention away from what is really important.

4. Focus on achievements

Employers not only want to know what you have done in the past, they also want to know where you have excelled. If you have awards, achievements, or on the job highlights make sure to add them. If you were part of a team, you were part of the success. If your project increased production by 20% and you played a part in it, add it on your resume!

5. Use proper formatting

Make sure to avoid excessive white space and to use the space on the page. Avoid using more than one page if possible, definitely no more than two. Highlight key points with bullet lists and make sure your paragraphs are clear and concise. Resumes are not the time to be wordy. Be straight to the point.

6. Use good quality paper and a laser printer

Don't skimp on paper quality with your resume, it leaves a bad impression. Poor quality paper creases and wrinkles easier. Use a laser printer to make sure your resume doesn't smudge or smear. Always use white paper for easier photocopying and avoid color in your resume. Black and white is the way to go.

7. Make sure to have contact information on every page

Nothing is worse than having an amazing resume and forgetting to add in contact information. Do not assume that if your resume is two pages that they will stay together either. Put your name and contact info at the top of every page and add in page numbers for a more professional look as well.

8. Be honest

Never lie or stretch the truth on your resume. If your employer finds out later you will probably be terminated. If your resume is lacking in some areas, build those areas up honestly by increasing your skills instead of pretending. The truth will always come out eventually and it usually hurts you in the end.

9. Avoid being vague

If you have references, include them. Don't say available upon request. If you have gaps in employment, explain them clearly. They will probably come up in the interview anyways. Being prepared in advance by giving complete information in your resume is better than being caught off guard in the interview or worse skipped over all together.

10. Always include a cover letter

The cover letter is your time to highlight your skills and sell yourself as well as your resume to the recruiter. Make sure to use power statements and highlight your best qualities to get their attention. Your cover letter should address all the requirements for the position and explain why you're the best person for the job.

A great resume gets your foot in the door and brings you one step closer to the job of your dreams. Put in the effort and make your job search that much easier.

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