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Three tweaks to have a competitive resumé

As a career and executive coach, I've noticed that often, job-seekers at every level are trying to determine how to set themselves apart when it comes to having the perfect resumé. Even as some of the rules and preferences associated with resumés change, I believe that there are a few tweaks that can be made to any resume that can add an extra edge that might make you stand out as you would like during the hiring process.

1) Make sure your resumé is achievement-oriented vs task-oriented

One of the biggest mistakes that I've seen in job-seekers' resumés is that their list of responsibilities under each job title states what the job-seeker has done but does not state important, achievement-oriented information like:

  • How did you improve the company revenues or results?

  • How did you prevent the company from having negative results?

  • What project or initiative did you lead and what were associated results?

  • What accolades or acknowledgment did you receive as a result of your work?

2) Include numbers to show the scale of the work that you have done

At best, it is great if a hiring manager can skim through your resume and see numbers that represent the scale of the work you have done, which might include numbers like:

  • How many people, products, sales, etc. did you interface with?

  • What percentage increases were associated with any work that you have done?

  • How many partnerships, collaborations, vendors, etc. did you initiate that made the company that you worked for an even better company?

3) Incorporate keywords associated with your ideal role throughout your resumé

Many companies now use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) system to scan resumés electronically before anyone ever takes a manual look at your resumé. That system scans the resumé for a number of things, but it is especially important that the ATS system finds that certain words or phrases in your resumé match the words or phrases associated with your desired job role. The more you have those words and phrases that are role-specific in your resumé, the higher your ranking in the ATS system might be. This is why it's super important to tweak your resumé and cover letter for each position that you apply to.

If you're interested in learning how to create a resumé from scratch or just need a refresher on resumé basics, feel free to check out this article from And if you'd like to check out some examples of resumés, also has some examples here.

I hope the tips above come in handy as helpful reminders as you create or enhance your resumé towards pursuing your next job role!

Photo credit: Clem Onojeghuo

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