After those first three steps, your resume has been elevated to the Karate Kid level. It has some skills but is still pretty weak. These next three steps will elevate your resume to the Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris level of job-search butt-kicking.

4. Put your best foot forward. No one ever says, "Put your worst foot forward." Why? Because people tend to remember what came first and forget what came last. The same is true with resumes. Employers will remember more what they read at the top of the page and less of what they read at the bottom.

This means, put your best stuff at the top of the page and let any weak things blend into the stuff near the bottom. For instance, you may have no significant job experience, but you are completing a four-year degree at a prestigious university. In this case, your education section would go at the top, with your work experience, certifications, or interests following.

Conversely, if you’ve had some great work experience but only got your GED, move your work experience section to the very top. It’s a simple concept. You want them to remember what is most outstanding about you. They will remember what went first.

5. Watch your spelling, punctuation, grammar, and formatting. Nothing can kill a good resume like a typo or bad grammar. You may be absolutely brilliant in your chosen field. You may be totally competent for the job for which you are applying. But if you allow misspellings or bad grammar to stay in your resume, you might as well put on a dunce cap, because that’s the message you’re sending to the recruiter.

I know many people struggle with spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. When, for instance, should you use a comma or a semicolon? When to capitalize or not capitalize? For people who aren’t crazy about grammar this can be a daunting task. Nevertheless, it is a necessary hoop to jump through to give you the best chance possible.

Fortunately, many books have been written on this subject. At most universities or workforce services offices, resume experts can guide you through this tangled maze. If the stakes are high, you can pay big bucks to get a resume or cover letter guru to spruce up your resume. These are typically used, however, by people moving into highly competitive industries like investment banking or the legal profession. But for average jobs, a friend, co-worker, or classmate should be able to help you out. Which takes me to the last step…

6. Get an editor. Just as Rocky had Mickey, you also must find a coach, a motivator, someone to push you beyond your endurance and hone your resume to its peak performance. This person is your editor.

After working on your resume for hours, you begin to lose perspective. You lose your ability to look at your resume objectively and make improvements. With an editor, however, you have a fresh set of eyes to notice errors and see opportunities for improvement. It’s especially helpful if your editor knows a thing or two about grammar and spelling. With two brains working on your resume, you are much more likely to eliminate any glaring mistakes and to build a resume that will wow employers.

You might be shy about showing your stuff to others. Get over it! Your future employment is at stake here. Bite the bullet, and start showing your resume to your editor.

If you’ve done these things, your resume is now a ripped, agile, job-getting force to be reckoned with. Instead of getting turned down at the door, your resume will show up, kick down the door, and demand an interview. Don’t quit now, though. Just as Rocky could never let up, neither can you. Make keeping your resume in shape a regular habit, and you will always be glad you did.

About the author

Marcus Varner earned his BA in English from Brigham Young University with a Creative Writing emphasis. He is currently in his second year at BYU’s lauded MBA program studying Marketing. He blogs, writes fiction and screenplays, loves movies, and can’t resist playing superheroes with his kids.

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