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12 tips to build a resume that will get you hired

Here's how to write a resume that will get the attention of hiring managers and help you land the job you really want.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 18, 2014 2:15PM

By Allison Martin, Money Talks News


When you're applying for a job, your resume is the essential tool that helps you get your foot in the door.

So, how do you write a resume that makes you stand out from the competition in the brutal job market we face today?

1. Focus on the position you're pursuing

Thoroughly examine the job description to determine how your skills match the qualifications the employer is searching for. Then emphasize the details of your work experience, skills and accomplishments in your resume to highlight what the employer wants. That will get a hiring manager's attention.

Another reason for this: Many big companies scan resumes submitted online to weed out those that don’t meet their criteria. Business Insider recommends, "If you're going to apply online, use keywords from the job description and the company's website, and keep your resume simple so it doesn't confuse the system."

Monster says:

"In a sea of bland candidates, the most captivating resume is the one that seems to match all of their requirements, including necessary technical skills, work experiences, and degrees, certifications, or licenses," (Mark Slack, a career adviser at Resume Genius) says. "If your previous work experience is not relevant to the job description, you will need to get creative and frame your current skill set as being transferable into a new role."

2. Don't just list work history

What's more important than how many years you've been working is what you've achieved during that time. Accomplishments are what separate the winning candidates from those who don't make the final cut.

When listing accomplishments, quantify where you can when describing your successes and be as specific as possible. Replace vague claims like "worked in loss prevention and saved money" with "saved the company $XX a year by implementing a system that (specifics here)."

3. Emphasize job titles, and not dates says hiring managers review resumes very quickly. A brief read and it's done. So what do you want them to be focused on: How long you held each position or what you actually did on the job? The website adds:

When listing past employment, instead of listing dates first, list them last. A good order is: title/position, name of employer, city/state of employer, and then dates.

Men shaking hands during business interview, © Ariel Skelley/Getty Images4. Tell the truth

Considering fabricating a few elements on your resume to boost your credibility or expertise? Think again.

"Fifty-eight percent of hiring managers said they've caught a lie on a resume," a recent CareerBuilder survey revealed.

Because employers are well aware of this common practice, they often go beyond basic reference checks and conduct background checks and employment verifications to validate the information candidates provide.

Even if you fly under the radar and land the job, you’re still at risk for termination if the employer discovers the lie later on.

5. Omit unnecessary details

A job application and resume are two distinct documents, so don't load the latter up with a ton of nonessential information.

For instance, if you're a college graduate, you won't need to list your high school diploma on your resume (unless you know that the hiring manager attended the same high school). If you're a seasoned accounting professional, omit your high school or college job at Krispy Kreme (unless you're applying for a corporate job there). I think you get the point.

6. Start with a great summary

Use the space at the top to briefly communicate the experience and skills that make you a great fit for the position you're applying for. You’ll find lots of help online about how to word a summary for your particular occupation.

For instance, Inc. says:

Executives are focused on solving challenges of time, money, and risk. When reviewing a resume, they want someone who’s overcome challenges in at least one of these areas, if not all three.

Struggling with the summary? It may be better to not use one in your resume.

7. Don't get personal

The recruiter isn't interested in any identifying information other than your name, address, email and phone number. So do not include any references to your religion, personal values or family.

8. Avoid unusual or overly long text

If the resume isn't easy on the eyes, good luck getting the hiring manager to read it. Avoid paragraphs; bullet points are better. You don't need lots of colors and a variety of fonts. Simple and clean is the preferred look.

9. Proofread your work

A second set of eyes on your resume is essential before you submit it. A misspelling, typo or grammatical error in a resume or cover letter could cause a hiring manager to toss them even if you're a good fit for the job otherwise. Mistakes like that  communicate to them that you are not attentive to detail and that you’re not professional.

10. Don't rely too much on templates

Relying too much on the many resume templates you can find online will indicate to a hiring manager that you couldn't take the time to individualize your resume. Yet another reason to toss it in the trash. A template is merely a place to start.

11. Don't ramble

A resume is not your life story, but a marketing tool and synopsis of what you have to offer the organization. So cover the important information and keep it brief. The appropriate length depends on your work history.

A CareerBuilder survey found:

Employers have different expectations for resume length based on tenure in the workforce. For new college graduates, 66 percent of employers said a resume should be one page long. For seasoned workers, the majority of employers (77 percent) said a resume should be at least two pages.

12. Lose the reference footer

No need to disclose that "references are available upon request." A potential employer will assume this information is readily available.

In essence, you want to convey that you are skilled in your profession and highlight the experience and accomplishments that will advance the organization's interests. Your cover letter is the opportunity to explain who you are in more detail. See: "7 tips for writing a winning cover letter."

What tips have you used when building your resume to help land a job?

More from Money Talks News

Aug 18, 2014 9:41PM
Even with the best resume, can you ever be more qualified than the boss's new son-in-law?
Aug 18, 2014 10:36PM
Yeah right!!  I'll get right on it.  50 different critics will give you 50 different opinions.  I just use common sense and be honest and that has served me well.
Aug 19, 2014 12:02PM

Objective: Will work for peanuts and take constant abuse with no hope for advancement.


Aug 19, 2014 11:28AM

The protesters and liberal democrats are not interested in the truth of how Michael Brown came to be shot to death. More and more he appears to have been nothing more than an oversized thug and hood rat that made some bad decisions.

I guess if blacks and liberals don't like the truth they are entitled to reject it and cling to "not" the truth.

There are two sides to every story folks.

Aug 19, 2014 10:45AM
Be sure to add that selfie with the HR persons house in the back ground.
Aug 19, 2014 9:11AM

Resumes get you an interview, but they will ask you questions about your accomplishments, don't over spin. "Developing and instituting data retention system and responsibility for data security".

Translation: Relabeled files, placed old files in boxes marked for destruction and locked the file cabinets each evening.  Use common sense, or you will look ridiculous!

Aug 19, 2014 12:05PM

Because ghetto thugs and welfare queens helped vote in Obozo productive Americans are now suffering. It's their federal income taxes that are paying for an ever increasing entitlement mentality of the Democraps and the Obamunist. 55% of Americans are now using federal safety net programs. 46 million are on foodstamps. Up 14 million under Obozo. Gasoline prices are up 100% since the Obamunist took office and food prices are at an all time high. We can thank the ghetto thugs, welfare queens and leeches, parasites, losers and freeloaders that make up the Democrap Party for this current state of affairs...

Aug 19, 2014 12:37AM
#2 is the most important.  List achievements, not history.  IMO
Aug 18, 2014 7:46PM
The only job I would take if offered would be replacing Obama for the remainder of his contract.... There is no doubt I can do a better job than he has done or will do for the people of this great nation.
Aug 18, 2014 7:43PM

Resumes don't get you hired. The road block will be the ganged up interviewers looking to strike you

down. These gangs have nothing to do but to hang out on your interviews. I have noticed up to 5 junky interviewers are hanging at the interview just so they have something better to do that make them feel special.

Aug 19, 2014 12:52PM
this international law firm advertises for a secretary.a golden retriever comes in,and she passes the typing the interview,the personnel manager says,'but how about foreign languages?' and the golden retriever says,'Meow'.
Aug 18, 2014 7:47PM

No resumes don't get you hired. The road block will be the junk ganged interviewers.

These days the managers have nothing better to do but to hang out at your interview.

I guess it makes them feel special. I have noticed up to 5 junkies that hanged out on my interview just to distract me. Before your interview ask "How many interviewers will be there" and reject the interview if more than two.

Aug 19, 2014 3:43PM
Resume is not needed for a good job.....Just look at Congress , Senate and the White House
Aug 19, 2014 3:39PM
ive learned here recently that a cover letter is where the meat is????
Aug 23, 2014 9:29PM
Love the link to msn (Microsoft Templates) Doesn't exist!!
Aug 19, 2014 12:45PM
I thnk the comments got mixed up with another story. :-o
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