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3 Questions Your Resume Must Answer

February 4, 2014

resumeIn the market for a new job? You’ve probably been urged to update your resume. With job growth remaining sluggish around the country, hiring managers are flooded with hundreds of applicants for each available position and recent reports indicate that they spend a mere six seconds to review each resume. Here are three important questions that you must answer to make your resume stand out from the crowd:

  1. What makes you different from all the other applicants? It is imperative to communicate a sense of who you are. Think about what unique assets you offer and make sure your resume adequately illustrates your strengths and specific skills.
  2. Do you meet the qualifications of the job? This takes place in two ways: either your education or through your work experience. A combination of both is ideal.
  3. How does your work history reflect your experience?

There are a few ways to highlight these things on your resume. First, if you have been using a generic template to create your resume, stop! Most of these do not adequately summarize your specific skills and are aimed at developing a very generic resume that is not targeted to a specific industry. Your end result will look very similar to everyone else’s. The trick is to set yourself apart, not blend in.

Remove the Objective Statement from your resume and replace with a Summary of Qualifications or Professional Profile. An Objective Statement only serves to state the obvious: you’re seeking a job in your field of interest, utilizing your skills and abilities with a company where there is growth and room for upward mobility, right? When you replace this section with a listing of your specific skills, you are communicating to the employer a concise sense of who you are. Be sure to include keywords from the job posting in your summary to increase your chances of standing out as a perfect candidate to the recruiter or being flagged as a good match by the software the company uses to scan resumes. Remember, experience and education are the primary qualifiers for most jobs. Play to your strengths!

Second, move your education or qualifying certifications to the top of the resume just below your Professional Profile so that they are sure to see that you qualify.

Lastly, make sure that your work history shows your experience listed in profile. Most employers are interested in your work history throughout the last decade, but if you have experience from a job that was beyond ten years ago and it is relevant to the position, include it. Don’t forget to list volunteer activities; these activities still count as experience even though they may be unpaid.

Use these tips to create a resume that will help you land interviews. If you want additional assistance, stop by one of Goodwill’s job resource centers to receive free help in crafting a standout resume. We have trained professionals on staff who can sift through your life experiences to highlight the skills and qualifications that support your career goals and outsmart HR recruiting software.

Jeff Adams is a Career Development Specialist at Goodwill who is passionate about helping clients achieve their goals in their career. He has developed many materials around the subjects of resumes, interviewing and job searching.

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