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How to strengthen your resume

publication date: Aug 30, 2017
author/source: Dana Taylor

It’s beneficial to present your resume as an advertisement. Can you compel the person viewing it to invest in you? The format, style and content are all important aspects that should give prominence to the skills you possess. Engaging in proper resume habits will ensure you are given a chance to land your dream job.

Format There are three resume formats - chronological, functional and combination. When choosing your format, think about the role you are applying for and whether you want your work history or skills to be of focus.

Chronological is the most popular format. It lists your work experiences sequentially (most recent first) and may either highlight career progression or job-hopping habits. The functional format provides, in detail, each role with descriptions. This format is usually used if want to display your skills versus work history, if you have not been consistently employed, or if you are changing your field of work. Combination is both chronological and functional collectively, as it displays both chronological work history and proficiencies.

Style Your layout is important. Procure a layout that is simplistic, yet modern, original and eye-catching. A format enabling more ‘white space’ is more pleasing, visually. Your font should be black, sized at 10 (not too large or small), and the typeface, margins, line spacing and overall format should remain consistent. Limiting over-usage of bolds, underlines, capitalization, and italics allows for an easier read. It is better to keep your resume one to two pages long. As you know, having a busy and uninformative resume may exhaust the hiring manager, leaving you at a disadvantage.

Content Grammar is critical. Edit for clarity, conciseness and target the exact role you are applying for, as broad resumes are noticeable and show you are not serious about the role. Have a friend look your resume over or edit yourself, twice, with paper and pen.

Substances to include are relevant skills, work experiences, education, internships/special training, awards and professional memberships. Since you are applying to non-profits, exposing your volunteerism is definitely a good idea, as it proves you are active and may spark interest/give sight to the relevant causes you are mostly passionate about. Including a job objective is optional and considered risky, unless you are clear about what you want and that it matches the employers’ needs. Also, adding photographs, your age and references are not needed, except if requested and if you truly believe such will expedite the process. An ‘other interests’ section should be avoided unless it is professional, useful and coincides / proves why the job should be for you.

Use your experiences to portray exactly how you will be an asset the charities’ culture. What did you do for the charity you worked at? Specifically, did you accomplish anything meaningful? For instance, did you go over the fundraising goal consecutively or successfully organized a special event, while managing a large team of volunteers? State these, as it could help you win over the hiring manager. Add quantitative data to this area if possible. If you can’t think of anything, draw up statements from previous performance reviews, such as your perfect attendance record or being a great trainer to new workers.

Key Words Why not increase your chances of being selected by strengthening your resume by including specific words? Remember to use past tense if the position is not current and to pack your resume with action words. Below are great words to include on your resume or to incorporate in conversations when interacting with prospective employers.

Accelerated Achieved Advocated Analyzed Attained Balanced Budgeted Campaigned Capitalized Cultivated Devised Eliminated Endorsed Enhanced Established Exceeded Excelled Executed Facilitated Fundraised Gained Generated Implemented Improved Influenced Instructed Maintained Mastered Maximized Motivated Negotiated Organized Outperformed Oversaw Planned Prioritized Processed Restructured Revitalized Revised Secured Solicited Specialized Strategized Strengthened Succeeded Surpassed Sustained Systemized Transformed Translated Upgraded

If you’re stumped, see a resume specialist – they do exist and help!

Dana Taylor has an extensive background in Social Services and is currently an Associate of Charity Careers Canada. She understands the challenges and opportunities of seeking a successful career placement position.

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