Your resume is your ambassador in the competitive world of applicant pools. When you apply for a job, your resume has to stand out. It's not enough to just list your skills on a page. Your resume must be legible, punchy and obviously suited for the position. If you're not getting any interviews, the problem may be your resume, not your skill set. Here are a few steps that you can take to make sure that your resume makes it to the top of the pile to let your skills shine.
Cut to the Chase
Your prospective employer is busy. Your resume may be the hundredth they've read that day. If your accomplishments don't stand out, they may be in no mood to play detective. And your resume might end up in buried in the trash along with your best qualities. The best way to avoid this is to make sure that your resume gets to the point.
Use Bullet Points
Whenever possible, list your accomplishments in easy-to-read bullet points. Don't be afraid to use sentence fragments as long as they list complete thoughts. Make those bullet points get to the point by listing them in order of importance and relevance to the job you are applying to. Organize individual bullet points from general skills to specific details. This way, they get the general idea first and they can read more if they need to.
Keep it Short - If You Can
If possible, keep your resume to one page. But don't cram the information on the page to do so. If you have extensive experience, more than one page may be necessary. A resume that looks like it's crammed with information may get put at the bottom of the resume pile.
Use Action Verbs
Begin each bullet point with an action verb whenever possible. Avoid vague, passive descriptive phrases like "duties/responsibilities included" or "responsible for". Switch them for strong concrete verbs like coordinated, facilitated, taught, created, managed and promoted. These verbs focus on your accomplishments and make you look pro-active. They are also easier to read.
If you have a lot of experience, your employer does not need to know every single accomplishment or task. Focus on the accomplishments that highlight the skills required for the position you are applying for. If the job advertisement asks for candidate for leadership, time management and computer skills, describe your accomplishments that highlight those. Make sure each requested skill is highlighted at least once in your resume. Don't include skills that do not pertain to the job. If you have filed lots of documents but the job does not include clerical skills, leave them off in favor of those accomplishments that the employer is looking for.
Spelling may seem unimportant, especially if it is not an integral part of the job. But typos, errors in spelling and grammar and other mistakes may land your resume in the trash. Don't just rely on your word processing program to highlight spelling mistakes for you. These programs will not catch errors like the right word in the wrong place, illegible sentence fragments, misplaced commas and other similar mistakes. Instead, print your resume out and read it out loud. Hearing the words will catch any mistakes or confusing phrases. Then have a friend read it for you.
Look at Other Resumes
Before you start making any changes, look at sample resumes at websites like ResumeWiki.com. Employers and hiring managers are people just like you. A great way to spot a powerful resume that inspires an interview is to read a few yourself. Great resumes stand out and you can spot strengths and weaknesses in other resumes that you may not be able to catch in your own.
Now that you have these powerful tools, sit down with a cup of tea and go over your resume with a fine toothed come. Keep your resume focused, accurate and tailored to the employer's needs. Once you've made the changes, start sending it out again and wait for the interviews to come rolling in.