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In any job market, it's important to put your best foot forward -- even at the beginning of the application process. A carefully prepared resume can distinguish you from your competition right off the bat and help increase your chances of being invited for an interview. So it's essential to invest time in creating a first-rate description of your skills and experience.

Make Your Resume Stand Out From the Crowd

In any job market, it's important to put your best foot forward — even at the beginning of the application process. A carefully prepared resume can distinguish you from your competition right off the bat and help increase your chances of being invited for an interview. So it's essential to invest time in creating a first-rate description of your skills and experience.

Following are some tips for preparing a resume that will make your qualifications shine:
Write to the position. Describe your abilities and work history in terms related to the position for which you're applying. Where appropriate, detail significant contributions you've made at current and previous jobs and explain how they impacted the department or company’s bottom line.

Be brief. Simplify descriptions of the positions you've held, leaving out all non-vital information. Try to fit everything on one page.

Create an e-resume. Today, resumes are increasingly submitted electronically. To make yours Web-friendly, avoid columns and bullets and limit the use of bold and italics. Include keyword search phrases that link to job responsibilities, such as “general ledger reconciliation” and “year-end closings.” Be sure to save your document in ASCII (plain text) format, which can be clearly read by most computers.

Choose your words wisely. Begin statements with action verbs and avoid lofty, redundant language, puns and wordplays. Limit use of professional jargon, acronyms and abbreviations.

Proofread carefully. Accurate spelling and proper grammar matter; careless errors indicate a lack of attention to detail.

Revise your resume regularly. Even if you're not currently looking for a new job, update your resume as you gain experience. When an unexpected opportunity comes along, you'll be ready.

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