Resuscitating a Comatose Résumé in 6 Simple Steps

Perform triage on potential trouble spots on your résumé.

Perform triage on potential trouble spots on your résumé
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5. Be very specific about your skills. More than educational background and previous positions, skills make the difference between a pavement pounder and a new hire. WANTED Technologies is a Quebec City-based data company in Canada that collects information on employment trends and gauges how hiring supply compares to hiring demand. According to its data, the five top skills sought in jobs across the United States and across industries are organizational skills, project management, proficiency with Microsoft PowerPoint, sales experience and operations planning.

Most listings explain plainly and prominently the job skills required for specific positions, so your résumé should do the same. Consider including a summary of your qualifications at the very top – in the space that the extinct objective used to fill. "We find it's best to include even intangible skills in writing," Hall says. "Listing these skills outright could also help you if the employer uses a specific applicant tracking system that tracks keywords."

"You don't want an employer to have to jump to conclusions about what you can do," Sutton Fell adds. "Spell it out, be very clear and make it easy to see why you'll fit."

[Read: 7 Key Skills You Need to Get Hired Right Now.]

6. Time really is of the essence. There isn't a magic day of the week or Golden Hour of the day when employers are more likely to read your job materials, but timing is crucial in a different way. You might be at a disadvantage if you apply too many days after the job was posted. Consider whether it's worth it to tweak your résumé and submit for a job listing that's been online for more than 40 days. According to WANTED Technologies, the average posting length for jobs across hot industries such as IT, marketing and engineering is about six weeks.

"Each hiring manager is different, and the time frame for filling a position is different," Hall says. "Résumés could sit in a database for a whole month and no one goes through them to pick candidates, so there isn't a specific time of day or day of the week. What's most important is to apply for a job as quickly as possible and as close to the date the job was posted as possible. The quicker the better."