The Smart Resume Rules for Staying Ahead of Your Competition

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The internet is full of tips and tricks on how to write the perfect resume. And many of these resume rules are perfectly valid. But everyone has access to them, so if you want to stay ahead of your competition, you’re going to have to be smart about it.

Brevity Is Your Friend

Before anything else, you should consider the length of your resume. All and all, an ideal resume should be no more than 2 pages long. That’s not a lot, so you’ll have to be careful about what you choose to highlight in those two pages.

The length restriction can actually be to your advantage. Some candidates think it’s wise to include as much information as possible, to make their CV look more impressive, regardless of whether or not it’s relevant. But any experienced recruiter is going to recognize it for what it really is: fluff. If a recruiter sees a jumbled mess of skills, and work experience, they won’t be able to tease out what you can actually do. And it’s going to make all of your skills look meaningless.

Certain fields are somewhat vague, and while you may have a clear idea of what the position you’re applying for presupposes, you might find it difficult to guess what counts as a relevant ability. If you’re unsure about which skills you should highlight, you can check out what a website that offers detailed business job descriptions, based on the field they’re in.

Don’t Go with Flow

There certain words and phrases absolutely everyone uses in their CV, all the time, to the point where they’ve just become meaningless. Keep yourself up to date on what words you should and shouldn’t use in your resume. Your CV might be outstanding, but adding these pointless buzzwords is going to make it look cheap.

Nobody’s going to fall for phrases like go-getter, and detail-oriented. Praising yourself like this in your resume is certainly going to raise a red flag. Stand out from the crowd with a simple, professional-sounding resume, that let’s your skills and experience speak for themselves.

Make Your CV Sound Coherent

Think of your resume as a very short life story. A story is not just a collection of random, unrelated events. They make sense when put together. Stories always lead up to something.

This is one thing you should consider when you choose which skills to highlight, and what work experience to include. It should be clear what your goals are, and how you’ve been working on achieving them. This means you’re probably going to have to leave out some stuff, if doesn’t really fit in with the narrative you’ve crafted. But the process of editing your resume is going to be much easier if you have a clear structure in place before you get started.

Embrace Your Weak Points

Most candidates are going to do their best to plump out their CV with as many achievements, and strong points as possible. It might seem like the obvious thing to do. Your employer obviously wants to hire the best talent there is, and pointing out any sort of weakness is going to make you look bad.

Or not. Highlighting relevant skills that you feel you need to improve can be really impressive. Even mentioning failures seems to have a surprisingly positive impact on your job prospects. There’s a reason most interviewers ask you what you consider to be your weaknesses. First off, it’s because nobody ever mentions them. And knowing what a person lacks is just as important as knowing what they can offer.

Being aware of the skills that need improvements shows you are a true professional. It’s a sign of honesty, and it’s going to boost your employer’s confidence when it comes to the rest of your resume.

Remember You’re Talking to a Person

Whether you’re sending your resume straight to a recruiter, or via an online job application platform, always bear in mind that there’s going to be an actual person reading it eventually.

A professional sounding CV doesn’t have to be devoid of any emotion. Above all, you have to sound confident in your resume. Which doesn’t mean you have to go overboard. You might end up sounding arrogant.

Try reading your CV out loud, if you have trouble figuring out the tone. Or ask someone to read it for you, and see if it makes sense to them. You probably have a very clear idea of what your resume is about, but keep in mind that your recruiter probably has no idea who you are. These two pages are the first things that they’re going to find out about you. You only get one shot at making a first impression, so make it count.

Staying ahead of the game is all about being adaptable. Rewrite your CVs as often as you deem it necessary. Stay constantly informed about the latest trends, and try to be creative.

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