By Diane Passage

With the unemployment rate reportedly declining, now is a great time to get your resume set for hiring. Resume writing and formatting can be a daunting task especially when you know somebody will read it and make a snap judgment about your qualifications. Hiring managers spend an average of six seconds reviewing a resume before deciding if they want to interview the candidate or not. That means you’ve got all of six seconds to hook that reader in.

Whether you’re starting your resume from scratch or adding some finishing touches, check out these tips to add that wow factor to get you noticed:

1) Titles, objectives and summaries. You will have at least one of these at the top of your resume and it’s your best opportunity to impress your potential employer. A title differentiates your resume and will be either your desired job position, or feature your experience and skills. For example, if you’re applying for an experienced sales position, having “Salesperson with 10-years experience” as the heading of your resume will get the recruiter’s attention. Whether you’re including a title or not, you will likely have an objective, summary or branding statement at the top of your resume. This is where you’ll write a few irresistible sentences to pull your qualifications together, express your goals and take the guesswork out of your resume. Put your best foot forward here and tell the hiring manager why you’re right for the job.

2) Focus on the sell. Selling your skills, that is. When writing your resume, focus on what you can do for a potential employer and how your past experience could be their benefit. While it can be important to summarize your day-to-day responsibilities at your past company, it’s imperative to recap what you achieved and the results you got while you worked there. Use numbers and statistics when you can to back up your claims. For example, ‘supported the sales team in acquiring 10% more clients’, ‘raised $10,000 for charity’, etc.

3) Kill the buzzwords. Hiring managers see an infinite amount of resumes while filling positions, so imagine how many times they come across adjectives like ‘responsible’, ‘motivated’ and ‘enthusiastic’. Instead of using common resume jargon, use active language and tie words to results. If you’re at a loss for words and need to reference online resources or a thesaurus, make sure to choose words that accurately describe your character and work ethic. A resume full of empty buzzwords is a buzz-kill for employers.

4) Show off your social networks. Personal social media presence is shifting towards being a positive rather than a negative (aka drunk photos) for candidates. Your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be an advantage if you manage your content correctly. Do you have proficiency, a lot of followers, or influential posts and interactions? List it under ‘Skills’ and be specific with numbers when available. You can even include the addresses and links on your resume if you feel confident with your online representation. Doing this validates your transparency and confirms that you are up-to-speed in this century.

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