1. Determine what you are trying to accomplish.
Make sure you have a clear goal in mind. Hiring managers are too busy to try to figure out what you want to accomplish.
Writing a general, one-size fits all résumé won’t cut it in today’s competitive job market. You have to make an effort to stand apart from everyone else.
If you don’t know what you want to do, STOP and figure it out. You cannot create an awesome, knock-your-socks-off résumé without a goal. If you are struggling with this, enlist the help of someone to brainstorm with you.
2. Find out the industry keywords that are “hot” in your career field and put them into your résumé.
Why do this? Because more and more companies are using automated databases to store résumés. When they need to hire someone, they find potential candidates by utilizing key word phrases (sort of how you search on google using a keyword). If you are using the right keywords, your résumé will be included in the top contenders.
You can find the keyword phrases by searching monster.com or hotjobs.com for the job you want to apply to. Read several postings from all regions of the county and look for the qualifications and duties.
For instance, I looked up “executive assistant” and found the following phrases that seemed to be repeating:
“Microsoft office proficient”
“Setting up appointments”
“correspondence, presentations, and reports”
“Prepare/edit executive PowerPoint presentations”
“arranging travel, scheduling meetings”
“prepare high quality presentations and reports”
“proficient to expert level of ability in the MS Office suite”
As you can see, there is emphasis on the MS Office programs, scheduling, and presentations. So you MUST include those words in your résumé.
3. Always include a cover letter detailing the exact position you are interested in, where you saw the job listing, and why you are interested, not just that you are interested.
Doing this will automatically make you stand apart from everyone else and will make it clear to the hiring manager what you have to offer and what you are seeking.