When you’re applying for a new job, the competition can be stiff. Your potential employer is likely sifting through a stack of resumes looking for the perfect candidate for the job. So what can you do to stand out from the competition? You must position yourself as uniquely qualified for the job opportunity, based on your education, skills, experience and other qualifications. You simply need to know what to include in your resume to spark the interest of a hiring manager.

The top five must-have things to include in a winning resume

To leap ahead of your competitors for an open job, be sure to include the following in your resume:

  1. Industry buzz words. Since hiring managers often receive a dizzying amount of resumes, they may use software to help them scan resumes for key words. To help ensure your resume doesn’t get ruled out in the process, pepper it with all-important key words. You can find these in the job description or in similar job descriptions on job sites, such as or
  2. Job-specific customizations. Based on the job description for this position, what qualifications is the employer looking for? Highlight any — or all of these, if you have them — in your resume. The best place to do so is in your past job accomplishments.
  3. A specific header. Your resume should include a header that sums up what you can offer to an employer in one sentence. This is also known as your personal brand statement.
  4. Logical flow. Make sure the structure of your resume is one that is easy for an employer to scan. If you’re freshly graduated, you will want to use a style that highlights your skills. If you’ve been in the working for some time, you can use a chronological format that lists out your job experiences.
  5. Perfect spelling and grammar. It goes without saying, but you should always make sure to double- and triple-check your resume for any possible spelling and grammar errors. Ask a friend or family member for a second set of eyes to proofread your work. This attention to detail is paramount in landing the job you seek.

Don’t forget to personalize your cover letter

Another important piece of documentation to help you land a new job is your cover letter. Rather than using a generic cover letter, be sure to customize your cover letter for each job to which you apply. To do this, review the job post and think about the qualifications you possess that set you apart from others in your field. Then highlight these in your cover letter.

Looking for your next job?

Check out McGrath Systems. We work with candidates for positions in engineering, IT, Web development, clerical and more, with a special focus on licensed insurance agents. If you’re looking for your next work experience, contact an experienced recruiter at McGrath Systems to learn what we can do for your job search.


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