What’s not to love about writing resumes (she asks facetiously)?
I have written my fair share lately, and have waded through piles of tips, tricks, tools, rules, and other resources for making your application materials stand out from the other hundreds in the pile. If you’ve been reading the tips and tricks too, you may have even noticed, as I have, that they are often more focused on formatting than content.
Unfortunately, it does seem like most of the formatting tips and tricks boil down to personal preference. There are, however, a few great pieces of advice that I have received that I have found exceptionally helpful in formulating a great application. Below are my top three suggestions, along with personal examples to illustrate them.
1. Spotlight Your Accomplishments
Often, key accomplishments such as scholarships, awards, recognition, projects, and publications get lost in the bullet points within your education and experience sections. No matter the titles you use, be sure to pull out these accomplishments in their own sections to highlight these key successes.
Note: I know this seems like a formatting tip right off the bat, but your key accomplishments are important pieces of content that will get lost in the kerfuffle if you don’t highlight them.
While we all love writing in jargon, a resume is not always the best place to do so. Even if you are applying to position within the same career track, take a critical look at the language you are using to describe your duties and accomplishments. Try to be as specific about the skills you have used and developed as possible, without all the technical mumbo jumbo. Also, make sure that the skills you are highlighting align to the skills listed in the job description. Remember, if a reader cannot immediately tell how your experience relates to the position for which you are applying, they likely will not spend the time connecting the dots.
3. Differentiate Between Applications
Even if you are applying to two jobs with the same title, chances are that the duties and responsibilities are at least slightly different. Best advice: do not just change the agency name in your cover letter and send in the same application materials. Make sure that you have highlighted the most relevant skillsets for each position you apply to.
Comments? Questions? Concerns? If you have any additional thoughts or feedback, feel free to email me directly at [email protected]
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