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Five ways to build a better resume
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Early fall is one of the best times of year to apply for a job. Is your resume up to snuff? - photo by Sarah Anderson
Its important to have a good LinkedIn page. But despite LinkedIn's popularity, the traditional resume isnt quite dead yet.

And nows the time to make sure your resume is in top form. Huffington Post reported that early fall is one of the best times of the years to find work, when organizations gear up after the summer slowdown.

So here are some tips for improving that resume attract interested employers.

Focus on the future

Remember a resume is a ticket for your future more so than a record of your past, Forbes stated. What career goals youre working for should always shape what you highlight and leave out. Place greater emphasis on what ties into your objective and what doesnt.

Increase your skillset

Youre more marketable with a greater skillset, Huffington Post noted.

The skills recruiters look for depend on the type of position, Business Insider noted. Even if it can be reasonably assumed you know certain things, cite specific examples.

The skills they most look for are transferable skills such as software proficiency, project management, marketing, sales, customer service, budgeting, recruiting and management, it continued.

If lacking, there are many low-cost and free websites that can be consulted to strengthen your skills:

  • Lynda.com: unlimited access to almost 4,000 video courses on business, technical and creative subjects for $25 per month.
  • GCFLearnFree.org: more than 120 free tutorials and 1,100 videos and interactive exercises in technology, math, ESL and others.
  • Microsoft Office Training: free training on MS Office Suite.
  • OpenCulture.com: free, high-quality training videos on cultural and educational subjects.
Echo language from job postings

Almost every company and recruiter uses keywords to identify qualified candidates, Forbes noted. If you dont use the terms, your resume can be overlooked by the electronic applicant system, regardless of your qualifications.

Carefully review job postings and highlight the parts that make you say, 'Oh, I do that all the time!'" Rita Friedman, a Philadelphia-based career coach, told Business Insider. "When you're writing your own resume, it can be hard to be objective, and you may forget about things that you're so good at doing they come to you automatically."

Your Wow! factor

The "wow" factor is "a quick hit of information" that proves youre an impressive candidate, Forbes explained.

One big wow should be placed at the top, above or below the headline that boldly states who you are, such as Trilingual Digital Marketing Executive. Another wow should follow when explaining your past jobs, and a third wow should have its own category such as a Honors and Awards subhead, it continued.

Questions to ask as your figure out your wow appeal, according to Forbes:

  • When have I been first or best?
  • What is the No. 1 thing I achieved in each position?
  • Which of my achievements have the most impressive numbers?
  • What have I been publicly recognized for?
A design that pops

Unless you have the time and creativity to format your resume yourself, youll probably be going with a premade template. Microsoft Word has some, and downloadable templates can be found online as well. Make sure the template allows for plenty of white space, as a cramped resume is no ones friend, biginterview.com noted.

Other tips from biginterview.com on making a resume pop:

  • Be skimmable, especially if your resume is likely to be viewed on a computer. Have clearly marked headings, avoid big blocks of texts, selectively emphasize key words or phrases in bold and have contact information right at the top.
  • Pick a good font. Remember this is professional, so stick with a simple thin font such as Georgia and Tahoma and avoid something like Comic Sans. Dont go smaller than 9 point or larger than 12 point.
  • Dont be afraid to add a splash of color. Your resume shouldnt look like a run-in with a rainbow, but something subtle such as using dark blue instead of black for headings is fine. Be aware, however, that if youre submitting the resume electronically, the employer may not print it in color.
  • Your resume should not be an artsy collage, even if youre in the creative business. Avoid clip art, confusing lines or borders and fancy bullets.
  • If youre a creative professional, provide links to work samples or an online portfolio.
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