A resume and cover letter are your first and maybe only chance to make an impression on a potential employer. That’s a lot of pressure for a one-page document.
Despite the resume’s importance, many people simply submit a list of their education and experience, but a resume isn’t a list, it’s a marketing tool. And like any marketing tool, it needs to sell you as the best person for the job.
Marketing isn’t about listing features or bragging how great a product or service is. Its about solving problems. In the work world, a resume needs to do the same thing; it needs to focus on how your skills solves an employer’s problem. To do that you need to:
1) Identify the key skills the employer is asking for in the job announcement. What tools do you need to have experience with? What tasks do you need to know how to do?
2) Learn about the industry the employer works in. Each industry has its own language and way of doing things. By taking time to learn a little about the industry and use its language in your resume, you can set yourself apart from all the other competitors.
3) Use active verbs in your resume. Don’t say you know how to word process. Instead say, “I type 80 words-per-minute.”
4) Use marketing tactics in your cover letter. Address the employers name if you can find it. Be obvious in how your skills exactly match what the employer is looking for. If a real estate agent is looking for an assistant to help manage his contacts and communications with them, and you know how to do that, tell him. “I can use MS Outlook to manage your list of clients and customers including mailing correspondence, sending email and making follow-up calls.” This sentence shows you know real estate (there is a difference between a client and a customer), and how to use contact materials to stay in touch in a variety of ways.
5) Check and double-check for errors in grammar, spelling and information. A resume illustrates your skill and professionalism. Don’t let it make you look bad by having errors.
If you’re submitting resumes and applications on a regular basis, but aren’t getting results, it could be that your submissions are not standing out from the crowd. Take another look at your resume or ask someone to look at it for you to get feedback on how well it represents you.
For more help on finding and getting hired to a work-at-home job, check the job course at Work-At-Home Success University.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she’s been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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