One of the most important and valuable assets a job seeker can have is an inclusive and solid resume. A resume is usually the introduction, and first glimpse a recruiter or hiring manager will have to assess and examine a person’s skills.

I have five tips for fine-tuning a resume, including examples of what makes a resume stand out and get the attention of a hiring manager.

Tip 1: Make a list of key words before you start.

This will help remind you what you want to highlight. For instance, my resume has words related to my specific skill sets and experience. Find words and phrases that make your resume shine and stand out.

Tip 2: Always let three trusted friends look over your resume for spelling, grammar, or usage issues.

Having a resume with misspelled words or lack of context can make you resume seem unprofessional and you incompetent.

Tip 3: Don’t overdo it.

A resume should be a professional snapshot of skills, experience, organizations you’ve worked for, and again, those key words that will pop out and grab the hiring manager’s attention. Long, drawn-out sentences aren’t going to do it. Make every word matter, and don’t think longer is better.

Tip 4: Highlight what makes you interesting and special.

Think of something you know or can do that others may not think to highlight. Remember, your resume is one of potentially dozens that will come across a recruiter or hiring manager’s screen. It may be a phrase or word that makes the difference between your resume and another candidate.

Tip 5: Organize the look and content of your resume.

Highlight your achievements and include where you’ve worked, what you’ve done, what you can do, and include any achievements and honors you’ve earned. This is your chance to shine and present a complete, but brief, snapshot of what you’ve accomplished in your career. It’s probably the most important part of your job search because without a professional, organized, complete resume, you may never get a chance to interview.

A resume should be a living document that is constantly improving and changing for the better. If you are completely lost and feel your resume is not what it should be, there are resources to help, including books, online resources, and professional services.

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Diana M. Rodriguez is a native Washingtonian who works as a professional freelance writer, commentator, and blogger; as well as a public affairs, website content and social media manager for the Department of Defense.