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Secrets for Landing Your Resume on the Top of the Pile Revealed


If you are one of the millions of people who have been fired, downsized or voluntarily quit a job this year, you have probably found that you need an updated resume. If it’s been awhile since you have written a resume you will want to follow the trends and create a resume that gets you the interview! A resume opens the door. The interview gets the job. Because it’s so important to your job search, your resume needs to be expertly crafted with both your goals and the employer’s needs in mind. You want to be absolutely sure that your resume effectively communicates your qualifications to prospective employers. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that just because you send a resume that someone will read it. If you envision someone kicking back with a cup of Starbuck’s coffee and reading your resume in great detail, you are fooling yourself. But how does a job seeker get their resume on the top of the pile? Let’s find out.

At every stage in your job search, you must communicate a positive image to potential employers. The initial impression you make on an employer through applications, resumes, cover letters, or telephone calls, will determine whether the employer is interested in interviewing you and possibly offering you a job. Employers are busy people who normally glance at a resume for only 10 to 30 seconds. Your resume must catch their attention to pass the 10-30 second evaluation test. When writing your resume, ask yourself the same question a hiring manager would ask: “Why should I read this resume or contact this person for an interview?” Your answer should result in an attractive, interesting, unique, and skills-based resume.

Different interviewers approach resumes from different angles. Some will compare your resume by relating it to others they have received. Others approach it as a critical deciding factor as to whether or not your qualifications meet the requirements of the job. They have no interest in someone who “almost” matches their criteria. You have to be an exact match. Then you have individuals who do not hesitate to judge a resume based upon their personal biases; they often have criteria that only they understand. Larger companies typically have someone in the human resources department that screens resumes before sending them on to hiring managers for further consideration.

Faced with all of the above, your job is to prepare a resume that highlights your experience and potential without including unnecessary details that might confuse the reader. Resumes can screen you in or out. To improve your chances for being screened in, and landing on the top of the pile, consider the following:
Resume Tips Keep your resume brief (two pages or less) and to the point. Technical resumes can be up to three pages. Technical recruiters often want to know everything they can about your work history, skills and certifications.

Resume Tips Open a separate e-mail account based upon your name to include at the top of your resume as part of your contact information. Never use an offbeat or sexy e-mail address such as: hotbabe@yahoo.com or weirdguyjohn@aol.com. If you do, there is a good chance that you have just eliminated yourself from further consideration.

Resume Tips Some job seekers use an objective statement that tells the reader that you know what you want. This is good reason to customize your resume for every job to which you apply. A job objective will keep you focused and it will help the screener understand what you are looking for.

Resume Tips Consider including a summary statement after the objective. This statement provides the reader with a descriptive summary of “you.” It’s an overview of who you are and what you have to offer. In fact, some screeners will not even read resumes that don’t include a summary statement because it’s too time-consuming. They want a quick overview.

Resume Tips Start each of your accomplishment statements with an action verb. State not only what you did, but also how well you did it. In other words, how did you impact revenues and profits, improve the product or service quality? Did you increase operating effectiveness or reduce costs? If so, you need to put this information in your resume. You will want to highlight your accomplishments by describing results in quantifiable language whenever possible.

Resume Tips Share credit when appropriate for what you have accomplished. Say something like: “Launched first web site in company history as key member of the project team assigned to this task,” rather than take credit for doing everything yourself which was not the case.

Resume Tips If you are concerned about gaps in your work history, leave months off your start and stop dates, but be prepared to discuss the gaps during the interview.

Resume Tips Don’t include the date(s) you graduated from college. It’s not required, but someone who is biased against people over the age of forty could use it against you.

Resume Tips Put education at the end unless you are a recent college graduate or are applying for a college teaching position.

Resume Tips Include GPA (grade point average) only if it was a 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale.


The physical appearance of your resume:
Resume Tips Prepare your resume in ten, eleven or twelve point Arial or Times New Roman typeface. Twelve point is preferable. Ten can be hard to read and it’s definitely the smallest font size you would want to use. If the reader has trouble seeing what you have typed, you can bet that your resume will not land on the top of the pile.

Resume Tips Arrange the resume text so that it is appealing to the eye. You need enough white space so that it doesn’t look over-crowded. This means that you need generous margins on both the top and bottom of the resume as well as both sides. One inch is ideal to avoid a jam-packed, visually unappealing resume.

Resume Tips Consider the “scannability” of your resume. Many companies electronically scan resumes. The systems that are used have varying degrees of artificial intelligence with which to screen. If you are preparing a resume to be scanned and understood by a computer, never use double columns. In addition, your goal is not to catch the recruiter’s eye with fancy fonts, a jazzy layout, and unusual language. You just want it to make it through the scanner so that it will pop up and match a job opening.

Resume Tips Never include your photograph with your resume. What YOU think is a great picture of you, may be used to discriminate against you.


When you finish writing your resume, know what’s on it. Then, when someone asks you questions, you can supply the same information that is on your resume without hesitation. This is a good reason to write your own resume rather than pay someone to do it for you. In addition to the above, ask yourself this question: “Can I support with evidence the training, skills and work experiences that I have listed on my resume?” Don’t be tempted to inflate your credentials or lie on your resume. Lies catch up with people and if it happens during the job interview the interview is over.

Keep in mind that in responding to advertised openings, ignore requests for salary information unless the advertisement says: “Your resume will not be considered unless you include salary requirements, salary expectations, or salary history.” Requests for salary information are used to eliminate people.

In conclusion, every job seeker would like to see his or her resume land on top of the pile, but that won’t happen without some thoughtful preparation. Be sure to consider the resume content as well as the physical appearance for good results. Do your best to write your resume, but if you get stuck and think you need help you probably do. There are professionals who can help you. Just make sure you hire someone who is willing to take the time to get to know you and who has your best interests at heart or you will be wasting your money.

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