Tips for Retooling a Resume

For many people, 2009 will not be a year that's fondly recalled in their golden years. By mid-year, the nation's unemployment rate had exceeded 9 percent, with hundreds of thousands of people finding themselves out of work.

As difficult as the year has been thus far, financial forecasters have begun to report encouraging signs that the economy has started to rebound. For the scores of people out of work, that's encouraging news and an indicator that it's time to revisit their resume.

While the economy might be rebounding, it's important for job seekers to understand the competition for job openings will perhaps be more fierce than ever, as never before has there been so many people out of work. That only highlights the importance of a strong resume. Those looking to take advantage of the economy's possible rebound and re-enter the work force should consider the following tips for making a resume stand out above the rest.

Utilize keywords. Nowadays, technology plays a role in nearly everything. Human resources has proven to be no exception to this trend. Oftentimes, resumes are ranked electronically using certain key words from the initial job posting. Job seekers can recognize such words more easily with each want ad they read. Upon identification of these words, job seekers should make sure to include them in their resume, preferably at the top. Placing them near the top of a resume is important since many human resources professionals spend less than half a minute on average overlooking each resume they come across. The closer those keywords are to the top, the more likely it is the hiring manager will spend more time perusing a given resume.

List accomplishments, not just responsibilities. A good resume will list accomplishments as well as responsibilities. Accomplishments can include past awards, be it through professional organizations or the company itself, and promotions. For candidates hoping to re-enter a given field, listing responsibilities may not be enough, as the hiring manager will already know what's expected of a given position and what responsibilities are standard. Listing accomplishments in addition to responsibilities is a good rule of thumb when attempting to make a resume stand out.

Be sure to spell check. While spell checking a resume seems like a no-brainer, many hiring managers have a host of stories about poor spelling on resumes. Because the job market figures to be extremely competitive over the next several months, it's important to make sure there are no careless errors on a resume.

Do some homework. One thing many unemployed people have a lot of these days is time. This time can be advantageous. Take free time to search the Internet and examine the resumes of others in the same field. Job seekers should review how others are touting their accomplishments and work histories, and tailor their resume to stand above those they've seen online.

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