The lackluster economy, rising unemployment numbers and dozens, if not hundreds of applicants vying for the same job. With all these obstacles in the way of job seekers, any constructive advice can give you an advantage. If your resume hasn't been updated in years, or you are using an outdated online template or the resume you are emailing to potential employers doesn't contain key words, you probably won't even get an interview, much less the job. (To help you score that dream job, check out Sell Your Skills, Not Your Degree.)

TUTORIAL: Financial Careers

The following tips and ideas may not get you the job, but they will help move you closer to the top of the pile and help you to better market your qualifications.

Use Keywords
Nearly every Fortune 500 company and many smaller employers use software that scans keywords in resumes. With the economy, most employers have been so overwhelmed with resumes they have had to turn to scanning systems to quantify applicants.

They also use this same technology to view resumes posted on job boards such as Monster.com. According to the National Resume Writers' Association, 80% of employers now search resumes by using keywords.

Keywords are words geared specifically to both the job description listed by the employer and words that are specific to your profession. You must use both in your resume to pass through the initial scanning software and have your resume put into the hands of a real person.

If you don't include these all-important keywords, you probably won't even earn an interview. Using MS Word, you can easily increase the keyword searchability in your resume by using the "Properties" feature found under File in Word '03 and under the Word Button in Word '07 then go to Prepare, then Properties. You can also add a link here to any web resumes you have posted online.

Appearances Count
Have you ever emailed your resume to yourself? You should. Cyber-glitches, email attachments, and different programs used to open those attachments can distort or destroy your perfect looking resume. Pages can break where they aren't supposed to, lines can be added between sentences, words cut off, and fonts that looked great on your computer can appear very different in an email. The best suggestion is to send your resume to yourself and several friends to ensure that it looks good on multiple computers. (For more ways to get your resume seen, see 5 Ways To Make Your Resume Stand Out.)

Words to Avoid
While keywords are vital in your resume, there are some words you should never include. Words that are overused, tired, make your resume appear dated or are just annoying like, "team player," "trustworthy," "problem solver."

Hiring managers, human resource consultants, and employment agencies suggest eliminating these words from your resume. In their place, you should show how you used these traits on the job. How did you solve problems? If you came up with a new way to cut costs, explain how. What makes you trustworthy? Were you trusted with multiple financial accounts? Finding new ways of explaining your talents using keywords instead of overused words will help get you that interview.

Spelling Counts
Spell check does not catch every error, nor will it fix bad grammar. The best option is to have someone else read and proof your resume. You've probably spent weeks writing, refining and tweaking your resume to create the best sales tool possible. After spending so many hours reading, editing, and rewriting it, odds are you won't see the mistakes that could be lurking there. Having someone else, or better yet, several others review your resume could save you from sending it out with mistakes and costing you a potential job.

Include a Cover Letter
Yes, it sounds "old school" particularly in today's fast-paced Internet world. While email speeds your resume to multiple potential employers, many still look for that personal cover letter. Tailoring your cover letter to individual employers increases your chances of have your resume reviewed and gaining an interview. The cover letter should be pasted into the body of the email, not sent as an attachment. Remember, this is still a business letter, follow the standard rules of business writing protocols.

The Bottom Line

There is no magic formula to having your resume reviewed by a potential employer. These tips can help give you an edge over the competition. Your own skills, experience, and determination will be the keys to open career doors for you. (For some tips on adding keywords to your resume, check out 4 Keyword Tips For A Winning Resume.)

Related Articles
  1. Professionals

    Small RIAs: How to Level the Playing Field

    In order to compete with larger firms, small RIAs have to get a little creative. Here are a few ways to kickstart growth.
  2. Taxes

    Top Tips for Minimizing Taxes on Severance Pay

    A look at the top ways to lessen the tax burden on severance pay.
  3. Retirement

    These Are the Top Jobs for Retirees

    Learn some of the best jobs available for retirees who want to stay busy. These include retail, driving, call center work and tutoring.
  4. Personal Finance

    8 Profitable Majors For The College-Bound In 2015

    Choose your college major wisely to justify the rising cost of higher education. Here are 8 majors that lead to good jobs and high salaries.
  5. Professionals

    Scholar vs. Entrepreneur: What's Your Calling?

    You don't need a bachelor's degree to launch your own company. But which path — school or entrepreneurship — offers a better start to your work life?
  6. Personal Finance

    8 Reasons Why Valued Employees Quit

    Salaries are important, but retaining top employees requires more than just providing competitive pay.
  7. Professionals

    How Advisors Can Minimize Their Own Risks

    Risk management is important in any enterprise. But when it comes to the financial advisory business, the stakes are higher.
  8. Personal Finance

    Top 5 Ways to Retain Your Best Employees

    You need to think beyond salary to make the most talented people want to stay on for the long term.
  9. Professionals

    The Financial Advisory Business: More Women Wanted

    It's no secret that women are underrepresented in the financial advisory business. Here are some reasons why and what's being done about it.
  10. Professionals

    Why Women Choose Women for Financial Advice

    Women often prefer female financial advisors because client and advisor can relate to each other on a variety of levels.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

    A federal law designed to ensure equal pay for all workers, regardless ...
  2. Age Discrimination In Employment ...

    A federal statute protecting "certain applicants and employees" ...
  3. Society of Actuaries (SOA)

    The SOA is a professional organization for actuaries in the U.S., ...
  4. Networking

    A process that fosters the exchange of information and ideas ...
  5. Credit Business Associate - CBA

    A designation awarded to those who show mastery in financial ...
  6. Unsolicited Application

    1. In insurance, this is a request for life insurance coverage ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. How can an investment banker switch to a career in corporate finance?

    It's pretty easy for an investment banker to switch to a career in corporate finance. The career skills are easily transferable, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How do I get started with a career in asset management?

    The asset management industry has a variety of different career paths. Depending on what asset management area you would ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. For which kind of jobs is having Magnum Cum Laude most important?

    Having a magna cum laude degree is most important for jobs in the fields of finance, management consulting and engineering. ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Other than accounting, what does a corporate finance job involve?

    While a corporate finance job almost always involves accounting in some capacity, there are many additional job duties and ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What qualities are necessary to be an effective member of the c-suite in a publicly-traded ...

    Several qualities are needed to be a member of the c-suite of a publicly traded company. The c-suite is business jargon term ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Which professional athletes are on pace to join Michael Jordan as billionaires?

    Michael Jordan is perhaps one of the most well-known and richest athletes in the world. However, two notable athletic giants ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!