Woman sits at a desk reviewing a paper in her hand.The new year is a great time to start doing some serious career mapping. Whether you’re thinking about moving to a new company or climbing the ranks where you’re currently working, the one key tool most of us struggle to perfect is our résumé. And yet, a well written résumé has the power to get you the interviews you want, faster. Here are nine best practices that can help ensure your résumé stands out.

  1. Convey who you are. Whether it’s included in your résumé or cover letter, tell your story. Be sure to explain why you want this new position and the reasons you think you’re qualified.
  2. Research the company and include a few points that reinforce your newfound knowledge. Mention the company’s name a few times as well.
  3. Don’t be shy. Not all of us feel comfortable bragging about ourselves, but when it comes to your résumé, that’s exactly what you should be doing. Just be sure you don’t overexaggerate. Honesty works best.
  4. Highlight your education. If your degree ties directly to the job for which you’re applying, elaborate about your specialization or some of the coursework.
  5. Don’t simply list tasks and responsibilities; share your achievements instead.
  6. Include the extras. If you volunteer, belong to business organizations, or even had a part-time job that speaks to your skills, be sure to include it.
  7. Explain anything an employer might consider negative. If you’ve changed jobs frequently or had a gap in employment, be sure to smooth things out with an explanation.
  8. Don’t make it a novel. A good résumé should be no longer than two pages.
  9. Triple-check your writing! We’re all capable of botching a cut-and-paste or misspelling a company’s name, so be meticulous in your review. It might also help to have a friend proofread your work.

Taking your résumé from good to great requires effort and attention to detail. The time you dedicate to it up-front can easily pay off in the form of interviews and job offers.

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