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When targeting a new job, people must consider many factors. Whether you are in transition and between jobs or passively pursuing a better job opportunity, it can be overwhelming and down-right discouraging at times. Narrowing down the requirements to an attainable list, however, can ease the complexity of this process. The first step for job seekers and first impression of candidates for employers is most commonly the resume. Without question, the best way to approach a job search is through networking (we wrote a blog about it last month that you can find here). Regardless of your approach to a job, at some point, you will most likely have to provide a resume or curriculum vitae (CV). The information on your resume precedes any conversation you have with a potential employer, so it is vital to represent yourself well. While it may seem impossible to create the perfect resume, there are three areas of focus that will get you started on the correct path.


  1. Specificity

Whether you are in the beginning of your career or a seasoned professional with 20+ years of experience, tailoring your resume to specific job descriptions may seem time consuming (and impossible!). To portray a clear message to the resume reviewer (hiring manager/recruiter), you must first have an objective in mind. This not to say you have to physically list an objective in your resume, but you must make your specialties very clear. What skills do you possess that would best fit this job? What experiences do you have that can relate to the position you are applying for? An article by the Business Insider stresses that you should include all of your relevant skills and experiences. Include names of specific companies you’ve worked for, along with the specific dates of employment. Ultimately, highlighting what your specific interests and experiences are in your resume will help you land a job that you will both excel at and enjoy.


  1. Brevity

The University of California posted an article regarding career development and resume writing. It is their suggestion that a resume should be around one page long—possibly two pages if you have extensive experience. Although you want to be specific and emphasize your experiences that relate to the job, you also want to mention only the most pertinent information. Most managers do not have the time to even read a full one page resume, so specificity and brevity really tie together in terms of an initial resume scan. The bottom line is that if you have trouble shortening your resume to two pages or less, odds are you are trying to discuss too many different aspects of your experience.


  1. Distinctive

Whether you are in Knoxville, TN, or San Francisco, CA, job markets are super competitive. Hiring managers are reviewing more than just your resume for the job you applied for. In some cases, job applicants can number in the thousands. Sure, you may have the education and experience for a job you applied for, but what would really help you stand out as an applicant? An article by The New York Times, “Writing A Resume That Shouts ‘Hire Me’,” chronicles interviews of several expert resume writers. The article refers to a resume as a marketing document that can draw job opportunities to you. Do your research on a company and include common values or interests within your resume. Do they have diversity initiatives? Are they team-oriented? Including simple details like these can portray a cultural fit for a company and might just guarantee you an interview!


Relying on resume writing is a daunting task, but the reality is that in some cases, a resume can determine whether you get your dream job or even just an interview—no pressure, right? There are endless how-to articles on resume format and structure all over the internet that list so many areas to focus it is impossible to even get started. Most articles, however, will include the three main components listed above: specificity, brevity, distinctive. Following that as a simple guide will not only get you started on creating a powerful resume, but also steer you closer to the path of achieving your dream job and ultimately doing your life’s best work! Additionally, below are a few screenshots to help give you a visual of making your resume stand out among others.

Keep an eye out for parts 2 and 3 of “How to Land Your Dream Job” in the coming months!


Blog Contributors: Emily Murr & Mike Teske