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5 Ways to Get Ahead of the Competition

Getting ahead of CompetitionWriting your resume for the first time – or for the first time in a long time – can be a daunting task for anyone. How you write up your credentials can make or break your chance to get your foot in the door for an interview, so it’s important to have your resume nearly perfect every time you apply for a job. Here are five big things to do every time you sit down to update your resume.

Tailor it.
The best way to write a perfect resume is tailoring it to a specific job description. Clearly list each skill you possess that the position requires. If you’re a perfect match for the job, a tailored resume will help potential employers see at a glance how your skills and talents match the position perfectly.

List unique skills.
After you review a job description, you may notice that a skill you possess wasn’t included in the posting. If that skill relates to the job and would benefit your employer, include this skill on your resume. Employers will take notice when you list unique skills, which can put you ahead of your competition, especially if no one else possesses those skills. If you have a skill that doesn’t relate to the job, don’t include it on your resume. For example, if you’re applying for a data processing job, don’t list your cooking skills.

Practice.
Writing a perfect resume doesn’t happen in an instance, and if you’re learning new skills and gaining new experiences, what you can put on your resume will constantly grow. The more practice you have writing your resume, the better you’ll be at tailoring it to each job description and including just what employers are looking for. Try drafting your resume in different formats, such as chronological and functional formats. This will help you figure out which style works best for each of the positions you’re applying for.

Proofread.
When you make careless mistakes and they end up in a potential employer’s hands, your chances of landing an interview may disappear. So, carefully read and reread your resume, checking for misspelled words, incorrect grammar, and misuse of similar sounding words that have a different meaning. Ask a friend or family member to proofread your resume, too. They’re more likely to catch a mistake that you’ve overlooked. Taking the time to make sure your resume is error-free keeps you from missing out on an opportunity because of an easily avoidable mistake.

Keep it short.
Most hiring managers receive many resumes and cover letters for every job opening they post and don’t have time to read every resume word for word. So, limit your resume to two pages or less. This provides enough space to detail your education, skills, and talents to employers without overwhelming them with too much information. And because they’re often in a hurry when looking through a stack of resumes, use bulleted lists to facilitate quick and easy reading instead of writing in long paragraphs. It’s great to highlight your achievements and include your work history, but only describe your more current employment.

Resumes play a big role in whether or not you’ll land an interview, so take your time putting yours together before you apply for each job. You can write a stand-out resume by practicing, proofreading, and tailoring it to each position. A near-perfect resume will help your accomplishments stand out and sell you as a great candidate for the job.