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Tips to Beef Up an Anemic Resume

To get the most mileage out of your resume, you’ll want to emphasize certain aspects of your background. By doing so, you’ll present your qualifications in the most favorable light, and help give the employer a better understanding of your potential value to his or her organization.

To build a stronger case for your candidacy, try highlighting the following areas of interest:

Achievements Professional achievements outside of your job description. For example, if you’re in sales, the hiring manager will be most interested in your sales volume and how successful you were at reaching your sales objectives. If you have publications, patents, awards, surpassed goals or expectations - tell your potential employer!

Education Academic achievements. List your degree(s) and/or relevant coursework, thesis or dissertation, or specialized training. Be sure to mention any special honors, scholarships, or awards you may have received, such as Dean’s List, Cum Laude, or Phi Beta Kappa.

Skills Additional areas of competency different from soft skills. These might include technical know-how (e.g. Stage Gate Project Management), specialized training (e.g. Lean Six Sigma), or direct management (e.g. project teams up to #).

Designations Professional designations that carry weight in your field. If you’re licensed or certified in your chosen profession or belong to a trade organization, by all means let the reader know (e.g. RJG Master Molder 1).

Experience Related experience for the past 15 years. Anything that would be relevant (keyword relevant) to your prospective employer’s needs. For example, if your occupation requires overseas travel or communication, list your fluency in other languages or prior traveling experience. If you worked in a co-op role in college, especially in the industry you’re currently in, let the reader know what you did in detail.

Clearance Security clearances. Some industries require a clearance when it comes to getting hired or being promoted. If you’re targeting an industry such as Aerospace or Defense, give your current and/or highest clearable status.

Work Eligibility Citizenship or work eligibility (e.g. Student Visa, H1B). This should be mentioned if your industry requires it. Dual citizenship should also be mentioned, especially if you think you may be working in a foreign country.

In a competitive market, employers are always on the lookout for traits that distinguish one candidate from another. Not long ago, I worked with an engineering manager who mentioned he was a three-time national power speedboat champion on his resume. It came as no surprise that several employers warmed up to his resume immediately, and wanted to interview him.

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