If you’re looking for a new job or have explored the idea of a career change then you know how competitive the market can be. Depending on where you live and the industry you’re a part of, you could easily be competing with hundreds of applicants. So, what do you do?

The first step to landing that dream job is to have a resume that speaks to prospective employers and stands out from the rest. Your mission with your resume is to land an interview; it’ll then be up to you to win them over.

Increase your odds by taking your resume from good to great and include these 5 important components:

Customize the Cover Letter: Stop sending a cut and paste cover letter and use this as an opportunity to engage your reader. Change it up to meet the employers specific hiring needs but be creative enough that it reveals a little about your personality. I’d rather you try something creative and off the wall here than resort to a boring paragraph that serves zero purpose. You want them to be interested in learning more about you.

A Dynamite Summary: Eliminate the objective statement and go with a summary statement instead. This is an opportunity for you to shine. Tell them who you are, why you are the perfect fit and help them to see exactly what you are bringing to the table. Sing your own praises!

Expertise: Companies have many candidates to choose from and they want the very best available. Demonstrate you have the expertise that matches their specific hiring needs. Use keywords that match their job description and include as many details as you can without adding too many ‘fluff’ words. Be direct and to the point here; you want a clear picture for the employer of what you are capable of.

Accomplishments: Be specific in your accomplishments. Your purpose in this section is to highlight your performance. Instead of sharing what you CAN do, share what you’ve actually done. Include the impact and benefit it had for the previous employer. If you contributed to sales growth; how much? If you increased profitability or improved efficiencies; how much? Being specific with simple statements shows the employer exactly what they can expect from working with you. Don’t shy away from tooting your own horn.

Limit the Timeline: Unless directly related it’s not necessary to go back 25 years; it only shows age which shouldn’t be a factor anyway. I recommend covering the last 10 years and leave that extra space for other more pertinent information. If you have any gaps of more than a couple months I would include a brief statement about that time frame without getting to personal. This tells the employer you recognize it, aren’t hiding it and have good reason for it.

Your resume can make or break your career. In order to be successful it’s necessary to have a resume that shines above the rest. For more suggestions check out my article 5 Insider Tips to Make Your Resume Pop. If you’re not computer savvy I highly recommend hiring someone to write a professional resume for you; the difference is astounding!