Having trouble creating that killer resume? You've come to the right place. Read on. You're only 4 Steps away from your very own truly effective resume.

Step 1: Set Yourself Apart
This is the most important Step! On average, a job on a job board like Monster.com receives over 300 responses. That's a lot. You MUST set yourself apart.

Your resume is your chance to show what you've got. Treat it like a marketing piece, because that's exactly what it is.

Remember: The purpose of your resume is to get you an interview.

If it doesn't get you interviews, it's not working. The purpose of your resume is NOT to:

* Reveal every work experience you have ever had in your life.
* Answer all the questions a potential employer might have.

In fact, you want your resume to raise questions, to capture interest enough to have someone call you and give you the opportunity to answer those questions in person.

Step 2: Use a Basic Format
There are thousands of books on resumes, with thousands of formats. Let's simplify this overabundance of advice. Here is a format that works and is easy too.

* Opening

Start with an opening section (accomplishments, objective, summary, etc.) I prefer calling it "Summary." Reveal what makes you special and unique. This is your headline, just like a press release. Make it good, or a recruiter may read not further.

Distinguish yourself from the crowd here. Don't be modest. Carefully choose very descriptive adjectives or experiences. Put most impressive ones first. For example, my resume begins "From astronauts to executives." Or, you may use credentials like "Certified Financial Planner and MBA."

Stay away from phrases like "highly motivated", "results oriented", "successful", or "organized." They communicate nothing. Dig deeper. Who are you really? What do you really want to say?

* Experience

Bullets work great to list your accomplishments. Use potent, meaningful verbs. List positions by title OR company, whichever is most impressive. Place most impressive bullets first or they may not read past bullet #1.

* Education, licenses, certifications

Again, list most impressive first. No need to include years. In fact, don’t include the year you graduated from college if it is over 10 years ago

* Community contributions, professional affiliations

If you played a big role, say so. Explain the organization, if necessary. Don’t expect everyone to know what your group does.

Step 3: Make It Easy to Read

Here's how to make it easier to read and just look better:

Font size- Use 11 or larger for Times New Roman.
Bold and underline- Use sparingly. Accentuate only what you want to stand out.

Get rid of excess - Go for a clean look. Less is more:

o No need for colons after section headers.

o 3-5 bullets, not 12.

o Delete extra, useless words. Example: Change "in order to" to simply "to."

o Delete months and days in dates.

o In address, no need to write: "e-mail: joanne@yahoo.com." It’s obviously an e-mail address.

o Never spell out "dollars." Use "$" instead.

Margins- Use 1” all around or greater for a spacious look.

Length - More than one page is fine, if you have worked for a while or have a lot of accomplishments.

Step 4: Make a Big Impact, Quickly

* Put the most impressive part of your accomplishment first. For example, change "Since 1992 exceeded sales quota by X…" to "Exceeded sales quota by X since 1992."

* Use unique, descriptive verbs. English has more verbs than any other language. Use them to your advantage.

* Delete all references to high school -- Please!

* If you want to change industries, change technical terms so that anyone can understand your resume. For example, I had to change my title from "Astronaut Trainer" to "Technical Trainer" to get a job in the Northeast. They just didn't need any Astronaut Trainers up here!

Action Steps

1. Dig out your old resume or draft a new one.

2. Enter your resume into WORD following the 4 Steps.

3. Share your resume with 2 other people to get feedback. Select one person who is not from your industry.

4. Update your resume with the feedback.

5. Apply to jobs with your new resume and see the results!

Author's Bio: 

Joanne Vitali has worked with everyone from the Shuttle astronauts to corporate executives. Her expertise is in helping people figure out 'What they want to be when they grow up' and doing what they love. She is a Certifed Career Coach, Graduate of the Coachville School of Coaching and has the unusual background of a Physics degree and MBA. For a complimentary career consultation, more help with your resume and notices of free teleclasses, subscribe to her ezine by visiting http:/joannevitali.com/.