Standing out in the monstrous pool of résumés with scented pink paper (thanks Reese Witherspoon in “Legally Blonde”) is not highly regarded in the real world. Neither is a stale listing of job duties. A star résumé and cover letter use action verbs, describing the accomplishments of the candidate in previous positions.
Another way to get to the top of the pile is to include keywords in your résumés and cover letters that correspond to the qualifications of each job description. “Customize your résumés and cover letters, instead of creating one blanket résumé that you send out to every single job you are applying to,” said Allison Nawoj, career adviser at CareerBuilder.com, a large online job website based in Chicago.
In a survey conducted by CareerBuilder.com in May, 38 percent of the 2,500 employers surveyed said on average they spend less than a minute reviewing a résumé.