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Organizing Your Resume to Maximize Impact

By Amanda Clark | Small Business

Organizing Your Resume to Maximize Impact image iStock 000018184375XSmallOrganizing Your Resume to Maximize Impact

You may have the right information on your resume, but how it is organized can make a difference. Ensuring that it flows in a logical order, is easy to read, and makes key points stand out is important. If a recruiter has to spend time searching for what they want to know – or if a section is missing all together – it may increase your chances of having your resume hit the ‘maybe’ or ‘no’ pile instead of the ‘yes.’ Consider the following as you work on your format:

The top one third of your resume should pack the biggest punch. This is the section that hiring managers and recruiters see first. It is in this top portion of your resume that you want to showcase a comprehensive look at why you are a strong candidate for the position, what you bring to the table, and why they should keep reading. Three very important elements should be contained in this section:

  1. Contact information – what are the best ways for the employer to get in touch with you? Your address gives them an idea of where you are located in respect to the position. Choose an email address that you check frequently and a phone number where you are sure to get the message or be able to answer.
  2. Summary of qualifications – what are your best strengths that you have to offer and why would you be a good fit? Present a bigger picture of what you are capable of and have achieved. Focus on the key skills and traits that the job description conveys and how you align with them.
  3. Core competencies – more often than not resumes are run through automatic scanners or applicant tracking systems (ATS). These programs identify key words that the employer is looking for in an applicant. Having a section dedicated to these key words not only appeals to electronic systems but also draws in a human reader’s eye. They can quickly scan through your strengths and abilities to see what you have to offer.

Position education based on relevance. If you are a recent graduate (whether with your first degree or an advanced degree), putting your education above your work history can be beneficial. This allows employers to see that, even though you may not have a significant amount of experience yet, your education is current and you are knowledgeable. If you have accumulated a wealth of experience, listing your education at the bottom of your resume is acceptable. This shows that you do have the educational background, but puts the emphasis on how you have applied it and what you have accomplished.

List work experience followed by awards, professional organizations, and volunteer experience. Rather than creating a separate section with achievements, include them with each position you have held so that employers get a better feel for how they were attained. It also shows more effectively what you did in each role. If you have won several awards, create a section below depicting each and when it was awarded. This will help them to stand out. Follow this with any professional organizations or volunteer work you are actively engaged in. These elements are important and show that you are well rounded, but should fall below work experience.

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Organizing Your Resume to Maximize Impact

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