How to Write a Resume that Transforms Your Job Search

Career Advice From 40HRS

Feb 25, 2015

How to Write a Resume that Transforms Your Job Search


1. Show, Don’t Tell

Every resume has information about past job duties, but how you phrase this information can make a huge difference. In your bullets under your work experience, make sure you're speaking in terms of things that you accomplished, not just things that you slogged through when you came into work in the morning. 

If you're in an industry that’s very numbers based, your bullet must include measureable results—like your earnings for the company or the number of clients you acquired for the company. If not, still try to make sure you're talking in terms of accomplishments rather than duties.

2. Tailor It

It's a pain, but successful job searchers tailor their resumes to each position they apply to. You don't have to change everything, but take a look at the requirements for the job and tweak your resume so that it reflects them. If the employer’s looking for a candidate with experience in customer service, go through your resume and emphasize customer service duties and accomplishments in past positions.

3. Key Into Keywords

In this digital age, after you send your resume off to a company it’s often not read by a person. Computer programs called applicant tracking systems (ATS) scan your resume for keywords related to the job. If the system deems you a match, it will send your application to a human (the hiring manager). If not, the application disappears into a black hole. 

So how can you beat the system? Experts recommend that you scan three or four job descriptions for positions that seem interesting to you. Look for phrases that are key to the job requirements. They could be computer programs, degrees, or phrases that relate to specific job duties. Once you've identified a list of words that keep recurring in job descriptions, work them into your resume, using them at least once.

4. Keep It Readable at a Glance

According to a recent study, the average resume only gets looked at for six seconds. If the hiring manager can’t figure out what you do best in that timeframe—or they can’t pick up some other piece of valuable information—they’ll toss your resume aside. 

Keep your information to the point. Usually it's better to bullet specific job duties or accomplishments—definitely avoid large chunks of text, they're too hard to read. Avoid having a flashy design if it makes it harder to read—simpler is better if it conveys the information well. And finally, keep your resume short. Your resume should fit into one page, but don't stress if you need two pages. Most experts agree that a two-page resume is fine, especially if you've been in the workforce for a while. But anything longer than two pages will likely make it hard for a reader to get a good idea of your candidacy in a short period of time.

If you're not quite happy with your resume, LiveCareer has lots of resources to help you out. Theresume check will run your resume through an automated system and give you feedback on qualities like readability and verb impact. With a professional resume review, you can submit your resume to a resume-writing expert. Or if you want a well-written resume that’s tailored specifically to your industry,Resume Builder will transform your job search.

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