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Five Elements of a Strong Resume

Include these five things and get noticed by employers

If you want a potential employer to see you as an organized, intelligent, high-performing professional, you need to make that clear with your resume. You can do that by organizing your resume well and adding some key elements, including these:

  1. Multiple formats. This is the 21st century: you'll need to provide your resume in various formats in order to get the word out to employers. You should have digital resume, which you can upload easily to job search websites like Indeed. Consider making two versions of an electronic resume: one that is text only with spacing to indicate new sections, and one that is formatted as you would like. You should also have a printed resume on hand to provide during interviews.
  2. Summary up top. You have a moment to get the attention of your resume reviewer before he or she needs to move on to the next resume in the stack. Make the most of that moment by offering a short profile of you and your work at the top of the page. You should include key accomplishments and a sense of your career focus. Make sure you use active verbs and vivid language.
  3. Keywords. Employers often use computer scanners to review resumes in order to weed out those that don't meet the minimum job requirements. You need to make sure your resume features the language associated with your profession. Use these words throughout as you describe your job background.
  4. Clear, measurable successes. You have trophies to show for your work; they're called, for example: meeting 10 of 10 project goals on time and in budget; earning an industry award for the best product design; moving up the career ladder within five years of hire; or launching a service that brought in a certain percentage of profit. Be honest about your skills and work experience, but emphasize results.
  5. A cover letter. It's a good idea to frame your resume by adding a cover letter. In it, you can expand on why you're a great fit for the position and show any research you've done on the company. Whether you mail or email a resume, include a cover letter as an introduction.

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