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Nine Resume Tips for Today’s Job Market 

Here are two simple words to remember when writing a resume: “yesterday” and “tomorrow.” A “yesterday” resume dwells on what you did in the past. A “tomorrow” resume turns your past experience into a dynamic statement of what you offer an employer now.

Here are nine tips for creating a “tomorrow” resume that gets the employer’s attention.

  1. Focus on your job goal. Start your resume with a very brief job objective with the position, level, and industry you are targeting. Apply only for jobs that closely match your skills, and research the employer. Would you be a good fit for this company?
  1. Highlight your accomplishments. Is your resume simply a laundry list of past job duties?  If so, weed out the words “responsible for” and “duties included.”  For example, instead of using vague statements like “responsible for writing grants to funding sources,” cite specific accomplishments:  “Wrote three successful grant applications to private foundations, resulting in funding to serve an additional 100 clients.” 
  1. Cut the clichés. Strip your resume of buzzwords such as “strong work ethic,” “self-starter,” “detail oriented,” and “team player.” Why? These are the same clichés that show up in many other resumes. To demonstrate that you have these qualities, point to the results you’ve achieved.
  1. Use keywords. Keywords are the industry-specific terms necessary to get attention. The keywords in your resume should match the skills and qualifications stated in the job posting.
  1. Choose the right resume type. A chronological resume works well if you want to remain in the same field. It is organized strictly according to your work history. A functional resume is organized by skill area. It is useful if you’re changing careers and want to show transferable skills. Note: A functional resume should also include a work history with dates. Learn more at www.aarp.org/jobtips.
  1. Deal with dates. While it’s not a good idea to fudge your age, there are ways to de-emphasize it. Go back only 15 years in your employment history, and do not include graduation dates. If you have gaps in employment, list dates in years, not months.  
  1. Grow your network. Do your resumes disappear into cyberspace? It may be time to ramp up your networking efforts. It’s not the number of resumes you send that matters. It’s making sure your resume gets to the right person.
  1. Build your online presence. Many employers today look for job candidates on social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. That means you must be “findable” online. Your online profile is really an extension of your resume—so be sure your profile is complete and up to date.
  1. Proofread more than once. One typo can send your resume to the trash. After you’ve proofed your resume, have a friend or mentor take another look.
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