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11 Brilliant Resume Tricks That Worked

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rizal999, iStock

A mildly terrifying, but true, reality: A hiring manager spends 15 to 30 seconds, maximum, looking at your resume before deciding whether it belongs in the "yes" or the "no" pile (and some say they can do it in fewer than 6 seconds [PDF]). Which means that no matter how qualified for your dream job you may be, none of it matters if your resume can’t prove it in less than a few blinks. Scary, right?

Thankfully, there are a few tweaks you can make to your CV's content and formatting to help it stand out the way you know it deserves to. Here are 11 tried-and-true tricks, care of the experts, that have actually worked to get a resume into the "yes" pile.

1. KEEP IT CLEAN.

"I've spent most of my time in corporate settings, so a format that has clean lines and is easily scannable is best," says Casey Carr-Jones, PHR, Founder of JumpStartResume. "Remember: A recruiter or hiring manager may only spend 15-30 seconds looking at your resume, so if it's a big jumbled mess they'll toss you into the 'no' pile without a second thought."

2. TAILOR YOUR RESUME TO THE JOB YOU'RE APPLYING FOR.

Make sure your resume fits the role, whether it’s corporate or creative, and edit it as you see fit. Resumes that stand out in a bad way, says Carr-Jones, could cost you a job. Her examples? "A cringe-worthy funky design for an accountant position. A three-page resume for a recent college grad with no work experience. An objective statement that reads for a position with Google, not my company." Don’t let yours be a document that gets discarded simply because of inappropriate formatting (or worse, for listing the wrong company!)

3. UPDATE CONSTANTLY.

The best thing you can do for yourself, just in case your dream job opens up? Keep your resume current. "I've seen many friends and colleagues scramble to update or put together a resume last-minute for a dream job," says Carr-Jones. "Plan ahead and try to revise your resume at least once per year to save yourself the stress and likely sloppy rush job."

4. SHOW OFF WHY YOU'RE A PERFECT FIT FOR THE ROLE.

Use the structure of your document to make your main qualifiers really pop off the page. "Organize and customize your resume to highlight the transferable skills and experience so they can tell in 10 seconds that you are qualified," says Carr-Jones. "Focus on the job posting's terminology and reflect that in your resume and cover letter."

5. ENLIST AN EXTRA PAIR OF EYES.

After staring at the same objectives and skills for hours (or in some cases, years), you’ll wind up seeing what you want to see, and won’t necessarily be able to recognize any faults. "Send it to a friend or relative who you trust along with the position to which you're looking to apply," says Carr-Jones. "Have them proofread for spelling and grammar, and ask for their honest opinion on the content."

6. USE HARD NUMBERS.

Hiring managers ultimately want to know how you’re going to save them money, so the more you can hit them with facts, the better. "What’s been very successful for candidates I’ve placed with prominent businesses is using hard numbers," says Mark Rubick, a Cincinnati-based Regional Developer with Patrice & Associates. "A hiring manager will spend 15 to 30 seconds looking at your resume, so put your quantifiable numbers up front and give them a reason to interview you within the first 15 seconds." Include things like your conversion rate and how much revenue you’ve brought in with your past roles to show how much you could really be "worth" to the company.

7. SEND SOMETHING PEOPLE WANT TO KEEP.

Your resume doesn’t necessarily need to be a traditional one-page document. "Create something people will find hard to throw away—something that can't be added to a pile of other resumes and forgotten," says graphic designer Jon Ryder, who cheekily sends his resume on a pill box. "Send something that they think is worth keeping on their desk, even if it's only for a few days longer than all the other resumes before it's chucked in a drawer." Especially if you’re applying for a job in a creative field (we wouldn't necessarily recommend this route for lawyers or bankers), consider spicing things up a bit with an outside-the-box resume, like one of these.

8. MIRROR THE JOB DESCRIPTION.

If it’s in the job description, it should be on your resume … in the right way. "Using a specific job posting, structure your current or most recent position to reflect the language and responsibilities listed in the posting—in order," says Jaclyn Westlake, a San Francisco-based career coach. "This trick works because it makes it hard for a recruiter to miss the fact that your experience lines up perfectly with what the company is looking for and shows that you took the time to tailor your resume. It'll help with keyword optimization, too."

9. LOAD UP ON KEYWORDS.

"Using word counting tools to scan job postings for relevant and recurring keywords can help you to figure out which terms you should include on your resume," says Westlake. "You can then create an 'areas of expertise' section where you can list each and every keyword you come across. Bonus points if you're able to weave them into the body of your resume. Loading your resume up with the keywords you find in a job posting will help you to get past those pesky applicant tracking systems and in front of a real live recruiter."

10. POP IN SOME EASTER EGGS.

Recruiters spend hours (and hours, and hours) reading through boring resumes, so sneaking in fun little "Easter Eggs," as Westlake calls them, can help you stand out. "It could be something as simple as hiding 'Crushed the office all-time highest ping pong score' between a bullet point about your project management and budgeting experience," says Westlake. "I've also had clients purposely include interests that they know the hiring manager shares or a pie chart with a breakdown of their day, in which 5 percent of every day is spent 'being awesome.' Just make sure whatever you’re including would still be considered appropriate for the job you’re applying for."

11. UP YOUR TEMPLATE GAME.

A little bit of design goes a long way. "Most resumes look pretty similar—adding pops of color, leveraging unique layouts, or designing creative headers can really help you to stand out from a sea of black, white, and boring," says Westlake. Just be sure you don't sacrifice readability for design.

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6 Things Americans Should Know About Net Neutrality
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Net neutrality is back in the news, as Ajit Pai—the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and a noted net neutrality opponent—has announced that he plans to propose sweeping deregulations during a meeting in December 2017. The measures—which will fundamentally change the way consumers and businesses use and pay for internet access—are expected to pass the small committee and possibly take effect early in 2018. Here's a brief explanation of what net neutrality is, and what the debate over it is all about.

1. IT'S NOT A LAW; IT'S A PRINCIPLE

Net neutrality is a principle in the same way that "freedom of speech" is. We have laws that enforce net neutrality (as we do for freedom of speech), but it's important to understand that it is a concept rather than a specific law.

2. IT'S ABOUT REGULATING ACCESS TO THE INTERNET

Fundamentally, net neutrality is the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should not be allowed to prioritize one kind of data traffic over another. This also means they cannot block services purely for business reasons.

To give a simple example, let's say your ISP also sells cable TV service. That ISP might want to slow down your internet access to competing online TV services (or make you pay extra if you want smooth access to them). Net neutrality means that the ISP can't limit your access to online services. Specifically, it means the FCC, which regulates the ISPs, can write rules to prevent ISPs from preferring certain services—and the FCC did just that in 2015.

Proponents often talk about net neutrality as a "level playing field" for online services to compete. This leaves ISPs in a position where they are providing a commodity service—access to the internet under specific FCC regulations—and that is not always a lucrative business to be in.

3. INTERNET PROVIDERS GENERALLY OPPOSE NET NEUTRALITY

In 2014 and 2015, there was a major discussion of net neutrality that led to new FCC rules enforcing net neutrality. These rules were opposed by companies including AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon. The whole thing came about because Verizon sued the FCC over a previous set of rules and ended up, years later, being governed by even stricter regulations.

The opposing companies see net neutrality as unnecessary and burdensome regulation that will ultimately cost consumers in the end. Further, they have sometimes promoted the idea of creating "fast lanes" for certain kinds of content as a category of innovation that is blocked by net neutrality rules.

4. TECH COMPANIES GENERALLY LOVE NET NEUTRALITY

In support of those 2015 net neutrality rules were companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Twitter, Vimeo, and Yahoo. These companies often argue that net neutrality has always been the de facto policy that allowed them to establish their businesses—and thus in turn should allow new businesses to emerge online in the future.

On May 7, 2014, more than 100 companies sent an open letter to the FCC "to express our support for a free and open internet":

Over the past twenty years, American innovators have created countless Internet-based applications, content offerings, and services that are used around the world. These innovations have created enormous value for Internet users, fueled economic growth, and made our Internet companies global leaders. The innovation we have seen to date happened in a world without discrimination. An open Internet has also been a platform for free speech and opportunity for billions of users.

5. THE FCC CHAIR ONCE QUOTED EMPEROR PALPATINE

Ajit Pai, who was one of the recipients of that open letter above and is now Chairman of the FCC, quoted Emperor Palpatine from Return of the Jedi when the 2015 rules supporting net neutrality were first codified. (At the time he was an FCC Commissioner.) Pai said, "Young fool ... Only now, at the end, do you understand." His point was that once the rules went into effect, they could have the opposite consequence of what their proponents intended.

The Star Wars quote-off continued when a Fight for the Future representative chimed in. As The Guardian wrote in 2015 (emphasis added):

Referring to Pai's comments Evan Greer, campaigns director at Fight for the Future, said: "What they didn't know is that when they struck down the last rules we would come back more powerful than they could possibly imagine."

6. THE TWO SIDES DISAGREE ABOUT WHAT NET NEUTRALITY'S EFFECTS ARE

The Star Wars quotes above get at a key point of the net neutrality debate: Pai believes that net neutrality stifles innovation. He was quoted in 2015 in the wake of the new net neutrality rules as saying, "permission-less innovation is a thing of the past."

Pai's statement directly contradicts the stated position of net neutrality proponents, who see net neutrality as a driver of innovation. In their open letter mentioned above, they wrote, "The Commission’s long-standing commitment and actions undertaken to protect the open Internet are a central reason why the Internet remains an engine of entrepreneurship and economic growth."

In December 2016, Pai gave a speech promising to "fire up the weed whacker" to remove FCC regulations related to net neutrality. He stated that the FCC had engaged in "regulatory overreach" in its rules governing internet access.

For previous coverage of net neutrality, check out our articles What Is Net Neutrality? and What the FCC's Net Neutrality Decision Means.

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This AI Tool Will Help You Write a Winning Resume
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For job seekers, crafting that perfect resume can be an exercise in frustration. Should you try to be a little conversational? Is your list of past jobs too long? Are there keywords that employers embrace—or resist? Like most human-based tasks, it could probably benefit from a little AI consultation.

Fast Company reports that a new start-up called Leap is prepared to offer exactly that. The project—started by two former Google engineers—promises to provide both potential minions and their bosses better ways to communicate and match job needs to skills. Upload a resume and Leap will begin to make suggestions (via highlighted boxes) on where to snip text, where to emphasize specific skills, and roughly 100 other ways to create a resume that stands out from the pile.

If Leap stopped there, it would be a valuable addition to a professional's toolbox. But the company is taking it a step further, offering to distribute the resume to employers who are looking for the skills and traits specific to that individual. They'll even elaborate on why that person is a good fit for the position being solicited. If the company hires their endorsee, they'll take a recruiter's cut of their first year's wages. (It's free to job seekers.)

Although the service is new, Leap says it's had a 70 percent success rate landing its users an interview. The rest is up to you.

[h/t Fast Company]

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