5 Tips for Creating a Resume that Makes the Top of the “Interview” Pile

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It’s a tough economy, and when you apply for a job, you’ll often be up against hundreds—if not thousands—of other qualified candidates. So what can you do to stand out? Make sure your resumé provides the best possible reflection of who you are. Here are a few ways to do that.

Keep it focused.

Employers are busy, and don’t have time to sift through pages to find the details they need. When crafting your CV, keep everything relevant to the position at hand: If you’re applying for a marketing position, include jobs and internships you’ve held in the field, but skip your college stint making sandwiches at Subway. It’s also helpful to include a “skills” section, in which you can point out talents that could prove useful. (Here’s where to brag about your 5,000 Twitter followers, if you know the job involves social media.)

Consider a photo.

While featuring a photo in your resumé, may not be right for your job choice, it can create a personal touch, which will make employers more likely to take a closer look at your application. Be wise about the type of position you’re looking for. If you’ve got the money for it, include a professional headshot.

Hire a professional resume writer (or at least ask your friends and relatives for feedback.)

If you want to make your resume the best it can possibly be, consider hiring a professional resume writer to edit it to perfection. If you’re not able to do that, before sending your resumé off to a potential employer, ask people you know—especially those in the business world—to take a look at it and give you their honest feedback. Does a certain section seem a bit vague about your job responsibilities, or have you gone a little overboard on industry buzzwords? Take their opinions into account, and, if you hear the same criticisms frequently, revise your resumé accordingly—chances are, they’ll also be able to spot any typos or spelling errors that have made it in.

Get a professional design.

Most resumés are simple black-and-white Word documents or PDFs. Stand out from the crowd with a professionally designed resume that’s been created by a graphic designer. You can select your favorite from dozens of creative template designs and classic template designs from our online store and receive a custom-typeset copy of your resumé.

Send in a paper copy, even if it hasn’t been specifically requested.

If you submitted an online application, follow up with a mail package that includes your resumé, a business card, and a handwritten cover letter reiterating your interest in the job. This tactic is likely to help you get a second chance with corporate recruiters, even if your online application didn’t make an impression.