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danielscareers-resumeSince the chances of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are slim to none, employment is a necessary alternative. To get the job, of course, you need to interview for it. To get the interview, you need a résumé — A GREAT résumé! What you wrote in high school is not going to get you in front of the hiring manager with Fortune’s “Top Ten Best Companies to Work For.” Competition in the work force is abundant so your résumé needs to get noticed!

Google the words “Résumé Writing” and no less than 10 pages of sites come up with titles like, “How to Write a Masterpiece of a Résumé,” “Résumé Writing Free,” “44 Résumé Tips,” etc. It’s a jungle out there!

Now I don’t have my Master’s in “Résumé Writing,” but through years of career counseling and collection of resources from “experts” I offer these suggestions:

  1. Résumé is your #1 Marketing Tool. It should answer the question, “What’s in it for the employer?” In 20-30 seconds you need to clearly, concisely, accurately and neatly convey who you are and what you can do for the employer.
  2. Don’t use a template. You’re locked into a format and don’t have the freedom to make it original.
  3. Look of the résumé is IMPORTANT. Use paragraph indenting effectively, bullets, spacing, boldface print and underlining. Use safe font styles: Times New Roman, Arial, Courier, Tahoma (not fancy) and font size of 10-11.5. Have the appropriate amount of “white” space. Make it easy to read and keep format consistent.
  4. Less is more. Page length—1 page for college students is expected.
  5. NO TYPOS. It is the biggest résumé mistake.
  6. Keywords are essential — your résumé needs to be flagged, so add your industry buzzwords and take directly from the job description.

Your résumé should answer these key questions for the employer:

  • Who are you? Ask a friend to read your résumé and take it back within five seconds. Quiz her about what she knows about you based on what she read. If she can’t offer a quick answer, you might want to make some changes.
  • What can you do for me? Give specific, measurable examples of accomplishments.

Writing a good résumé is not easy, but it is worth the effort especially if you land a great job. Once you build a solid résumé format, it is easier to update as your experiences increase.

Keep in mind, the résumé will not get you the job. Only you can do that. You can sell yourself better than any résumé, no matter what a masterpiece it is.

Happy résumé writing! If you have some other great résumé tips, please share!