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The 4 Secrets of an Attention-Getting Resume

Follow these rules and you'll up the odds of getting yours read

Acronyms are fun because they allow us to quickly state our reaction to something without having to explain it. Each of us probably doesn’t go a full day without seeing LOL at least once. (Honestly, who’s doing all this laughing out loud?)

One acronym of particular usefulness is TLDR: Too Long, Didn’t Read. If you’re looking for a job and TLDR applies to your resumé, you’re in big trouble.

By its very nature, a resumé contains plenty of detailed information. It serves as your personal sales brochure and there’s plenty you have to say. The secret to saying everything while still keeping your resumé readable is to organize and prioritize the information in it.

(MORE: 5 Essential Elements of Resumes)

4 Ways to Get Your Resume Read

When you do this right, most of what you want to say will be on the top half of the first page and everything that follows will serve as backup. Here are four ways to do it:

1. Clear, concise contact information At the top of your resumé, list your name, phone number, email address and a link to your LinkedIn profile. That’s it. There’s no need to include your home address; businesses rarely use snail mail. If a prospective employer wants it, you’ll be asked for it.

Also, there’s no need to list two or even three phone numbers or to indicate whether your number is a home or cellular phone. Give the best number where you can be reached and be done with it.

2. A brief self-description This description takes the place of the old fashioned Career Objective, which addressed the job you wanted. Instead, tell an employer who you are and what you have to offer.  

(MORE: Resume Rules to Ignore)

Much like your Elevator Speech, this description explains who you are and what you do. Note your professional field, the number of years you’ve worked in it, the industries you’ve worked in and what makes you special.

3. Your skills Each of us has an entire world of skills we can offer. It’s your job to prioritize those skills and focus on the ones that you think are the most valuable and unique. After all, skills are one of the main reasons an employer will hire you.

If you have trouble pinning down your skills, zero in on job postings that appeal to you most and find one that you think fits best. Then, pull out a highlighter and highlight all the skills you have that appear in the job posting. This will give you a great start to your own skills inventory.

(MORE: The No. 1 Way to Get Hired Today)

4. Personalization After you’ve written your resumé and you’re ready to start applying for jobs, scrutinize the skills each potential employer is looking for. Then be sure to include in your resumé the specific words and phrases the employer uses to ensure yours is an ideal match.

When you take these four steps, all the key information will become available to the reader immediately — and you’ll diminish the chance that your resumé will be ignored.

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