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How to get your resume
ready for a job search

4. Double up on numbers to up your odds

Want a new job? First you’ll need to know how to
create a resume that will help you shine. These
seven simple steps can help.

Lily Martis | Monster staff
You’ve decided to start your job search, but
you’ve already reached a roadblock: getting your
resume ready.
On the job hunt,“your resume is your number
one ammo,” says Monster career expert Vicki
Salemi, who spent more than 15 years in corporate
recruiting. When done right, your resume can open
the door to your dream job, she notes.
With stakes that high, it’s no wonder that a
resume refresh also commonly fills people with
existential angst. We get it—condensing your
entire work history into a perfectly-worded typofree single-page document that could potentially
determine your entire career future is maybe just a
little stressful.
But what if we told you it doesn’t have to be as
daunting as you think? Monster has all kinds of
resources to help make the whole process easier.
Like you-don’t-have-to-even-lift-a-finger-if-youdon’t-want-to easier. Skip ahead to step six if this
sounds like you. But if you’re more of the DIY type,
follow the seven steps to a perfect resume below.
You’ll be on the interview circuit in no time.

1. Start with the right parameters

Resumes are not“one-size-fits-all.”The format
you should use and the information you should
highlight depends upon your field, for starters.
So you’ll want to structure your resume to fit the
industry standard for the job you’re applying to.
A quick way to start figuring this out? Check out
Monster’s resume templates by industry.
Your experience also plays a part in structure.

The answer to the age-old question of“how long
should my resume be?”is that it depends upon
how much time you’ve got under your belt. As
a general rule of thumb, job seekers with under
three years of experience should aim for one page,
but those with more years in the field could go up
to two.
Keep in mind that a recruiter doesn’t have time
to sift through the next great American novel.
Back in her recruiting days, Salemi says she usually
spent no more than three seconds on a resume.
“Being succinct is key,” Salemi says.“Recruiters will
lose focus and attention if you name every single
responsibility you’ve ever had.”
Lastly, there’s the question of chronological
(jobs listed in order by date) or functional (jobs
listed by relevance). We answer that question in
the article“Should you use a chronological or
functional resume?”but the gist is that functional
typically makes sense unless you’re a job changer,
are just starting out or have gaps in your work
history. Otherwise, go chrono.

2. Get the basics right

No matter the job or industry you’re in, there are
a few must-haves for every resume. They are: work
experience, job titles, responsibilities, and years
worked in each position, Salemi says.
“It’s important to show prospective employers
a timeline,” she says.“Even if you use a functional
resume—as opposed to a chronological resume—
you should still include years.”
Oh, and don’t forget your contact info! Believe it
or not, Salemi says she has received resumes that
include no way of contacting the candidate. (We

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think it’s safe to assume those were the people
who didn’t get called in for interviews.) While you
don’t need to include your home address—Salemi
says recruiters may start making assumptions that
the commute could be too long for you—you
absolutely must include your phone number and
email address.

3. Use keywords to help you break
through

When recruiters post jobs, Salemi says, they
typically don’t read every resume that comes
in—they’ll often start by having their“applicant
tracking system”(a fancy name for recruiting
software) filter out resumes based on keywords.
Those keywords are terms or phrases the hiring
manager has deemed to be valuable to the job.
So you’ll want to pack your resume with
keywords… but you also need to be careful not to
go overboard, since a human will hopefully read
your resume eventually.
Thus, sprinkle those keywords throughout
and provide a little bit of context with each. For
example, a social media savvy job seeker might
include the names of key platforms with some
explanation such as,“Leveraged Instagram to
showcase happy customers, increasing followers
by 10,000.”
Need help coming up with keywords?
Take words and phrases directly from the job
description—mirroring the ad in order of mention
as the hiring manager will typically put the most
coveted skill sets at the top, says Salemi. Watch the
video below to learn more about using keywords
on your resume.

Getting past the applicant tracking system
is like making it past the semifinals—but your
resume still has more hurdles to pass, in the form
of those human recruiters who are trying to pick
out the best of the best to bring in for interviews.
You’ll want to make sure you quantify your
achievements to help them see the impact you
made. If you had a choice between a candidate
who“developed sales leads”and one who
“developed 20 new sales leads a week,” wouldn’t
you pick the latter?
“Quantifying helps recruiters put a framework
around the work you do and how you do it,” Salemi
says.“Do you manage a team and how many? Did
you save the company money and how much?
Indicating daily, weekly, monthly meetings and
deliverables attests to your ability to multitask and
get the job done.”
Anything related to time, money or people
offers a key opportunity to quantify. Watch the
video below about quantifiable achievements to
learn more about how to use numbers to make
your resume seem more impressive.

5. Make sure you’re not a fashion faux pas

Just like you wouldn’t show up to a job
interview wearing jeggings or a suit with superwide lapels, you don’t want your resume to appear
inappropriate or out-of-date.
So delete that opening“objective”section—and
replace with a summary, which is now preferred.
Cut that“references available upon request”cliché
(duh, of course they are) at the bottom. And while
you’re hitting the delete button, Salemi says to
expunge basic computer skills like Microsoft Word
and only include specific skills to your industry,
like C++ programming.You’ll also want to switch
out that crazy font you think will help your resume
stand out. (See Monster’s picks for best resume
fonts.)
And check out this list of other missteps that
make your resume look like a dinosaur.
It’s not all about taking out the trash.You can
make yourself seem a little less square if you add
in some hyperlinks, your social media handles (if
SFW), and a splash of color.

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