Make Your Resume Stand Out: Avoiding Common Mistakes

Putting together a resume can be a real challenge at times.  It can be difficult to figure out what information to put on, what to leave off, and what resume writing is most relevant for the position you are applying for.  The easiest way to start is by making a list of the things you could include on your resume.  Organize your list in a logical way: keep job information in one space and education information in another, for example.

Next, put the idea of a single resume out of your mind.  A resume needs to be tailored for the position you are applying for.  An employer is looking for a specific type of person, so a generic resume won’t give you the upper hand you are seeking.  Take your list that you made and really think about the company you are applying at.  Think about the job you are applying for.  Choose things off of your list that will specifically appeal to the company and set you apart as a great candidate for the position.

When you are ready to start writing your resume, here are five ways to avoid common mistakes:

  1. Start with a positioning statement.  Don’t start with an objective.  Objectives put the focus on you and your personal needs and preferences when the focus should be on what you can bring to the table.  An employer isn’t looking to hire somebody in order to satisfy that person’s personal needs.  They want to know what value you can bring to their company.  Rather than writing an objective into your resume, consider writing a positioning statement.  For example:  “Project Manager with 10 years’ experience in entitlements and development.”
  2. Focus on the employer.  The point to a resume is to sell yourself – you want the employer to “buy” you.  As with any good sale, you want them to know not how great you are, but what you can do for them.  Use your resume to tell them exactly what you can do to bring value to their company.  The first 1/3 of your resume should highlight your key strengths in an appealing profile.
  3. Focus on results.  Let’s face it:  a lot of people have done your job.  Likely, some of the same people applying for the job you are currently applying for have done the same job you have done in the past.  It’s the natural progression in the career world.  When you’re writing your resume, provide details of your quantifiable achievements rather than listing all of the responsibilities that you held.  Focus on the really wonderful things that you did at past jobs, and let those things make you shine.
  4. Write enough, but not too much.  This can be a tricky one.  You need to write your resume using concise language.  Say as much as possible using few words.  Be specific when you’re explaining your achievements – if you had research published, for example, name the article and the publication, and throw in a statistic about the number of people the article reached.  Make everything you can quantifiable. Don’t write about experience that is irrelevant to your career goals or that is outdated.  Don’t include information about your family or church.  Make every word that you put on that paper speak to your audience about how positively hiring you will impact their company.
  5. Make your resume organization count.  A sloppy, illogical resume can be an instant red flag to potential employers.  Think very carefully about the layout and contents of your resume.  Make both the language and the design easy to read.  Make sure it flows well, and that your key strengths are showcased.

At River City Staffing we provide you with face-to-face counseling that includes resume building. We are YOU-oriented and invest valuable time with you to make sure you feel confident in your resume and interviewing skills by providing you with the most current market and industry specific information and career counseling to direct your efforts towards success.

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