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Hiring managers and recruiters are inundated with resumes and often have hundreds of candidates in front of them to choose from. Their mission is to find a good match for the company and the first step will be to eliminate anyone who doesn’t fit the bill.

I want to help you improve your chances of making the final cut so I’m giving you a few insider tips for ensuring you have a resume that stands out from the rest.

Visual Appeal: I cannot stress enough the importance of an attractive design. First impressions go a long way in landing that interview and resumes that are formatted correctly with a pop of color and a professional design really do shine above the rest. It shows the prospective employer that you take your career seriously, are professional and respect the process.

Squash the Objective: Objective statements are a thing of the past. Companies aren’t as interested in what you are looking for right off the bat. Your personal goals will be discussed during the interview phase. Include a summary statement instead; this is an opportunity to shine a light on who you are, your accomplishments and what you can bring to the table.

Keywords: Nowadays companies are using software to scan large volumes of applicants and selecting those who have certain keywords in an effort to match the skills that are needed. Customize your resume slightly to include keywords from the job description itself. Don’t be dishonest but carefully phrase your skills so that the company can easily see you have the experience they need and would make a great match.

Error-Free: Always make sure your resume has perfect grammar, punctuation and spelling. Nothing will turn an employer off more than poorly written content. Companies want you to have a certain level of education and will not consider hiring you otherwise. If spelling isn’t your forte’ use spellcheck or have someone proofread it for you. Even if you have to pay someone to proof and edit it will be well worth it.

References: Go ahead and attach your references (three is ideal). Rarely do candidates send them over until asked for them. Including them up front with your resume shows the hiring manager you have nothing to hide and makes the process much easier for them by having that information available at their fingertips. Trust me; they’ll appreciate you for it.

With a few simple updates you can take your resume from good to great and stand out in this competitive market. Don’t cheat yourself; spend the time upfront to make sure your resume represents who you are and will appeal to prospective employers. Your career depends on it!