Job search sites and blogs, including Education Today, make a big deal about your resume, about toning that document into a interview-grabbing machine. However, before we even discuss resumes or interviews, we should talking about what you should be doing in the workplace to have a great resume. After all, if you do not perform in your actual career, there is nothing a sweet-looking resume can do to change that.

So how do you work in such a way that it helps to build up your resume? A great place to start is with these four resume-boosting practices:

1. Stay more than a year

Unless you’re a recent college grad, it’s always awkward to explain why you worked at this job for only three months or that job for a couple days. Companies want to see job candidates who aren’t going to flake out, leave, and force the company to do the candidate search all over again, after they spent so much time and money bringing you in and training you. They don’t want to look at someone’s resume and see a pattern of fickleness.

How do you keep this kind of pattern off your resume? Stick around at each company you start with for at least a year. In the current job market, staying around for at least a year is a long enough period of time to show your level of responsibility and maturity.

2. Take on big projects

The most powerful thing you can put on your resume is that you took on something challenging and succeeded. However, if you never try anything challenging, but opt instead to take the easy road, your resume will lack this strength.

No matter what level you are at currently, look for opportunities to take on projects or initiatives that will allow you to stretch and make an impact on the company. Of course, pick your challenges carefully. You want to make sure it’s something you can achieve and not a losing bet that is potentially headed for disaster. Because that would have the opposite effect.

3. Gain skills and expertise

In addition to accumulating big wins on your resume, you also want to gain skills and expertise in those skills. Too many workers focus on a small set of skills, only those that they absolutely need for their job. Unwisely, they neglect to grow their skill set or get any better at their existing skills. Experience shows, however, that for most career fields, skills and expertise are as important or more important than the number of years you’ve worked.

To beef up your skills, don’t be afraid to take advantage of opportunities to do new things. If you are a marketer, attend that finance seminar at lunch. If you’re in construction, step out of your comfort zone and learn how to do some plumbing. You never know when that extra bit of knowledge will be the key to landing that next job. Every successful professional who’s been working for enough years will tell you a diverse skills set could make all the difference.

4. Track your impact

Once you’ve aligned yourself with big projects, you need to make sure that you know what you accomplished. The only thing more powerful than saying you were in charge of a big project is being able to say exactly what that project was worth. For example, imagine being able to say, “I led a project that added $500K to the company’s bottom line.” That’s powerful stuff that no hiring manager can resist.

Of course, you’ll only be able to do this if you take the time to record the numbers for yourself. Keep an eye on the projects you work on and do the research to find out what they will be worth. Increasing revenue or profit, or decreasing costs, are a very big deal.

A quick note here: DO NOT fudge your numbers. Don’t just make stuff up. If you include impressive numbers, hiring managers will call your old employers to verify that your numbers are accurate. If they discover that you were lying, you might as well have not even sent them your resume in the first place.

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