The content of your resume is key. Too many job hunters worry about such trivialities as paper stock, type font and page setup; a resume’s appearance will never command the attention or respect of an employer. For that, you need substance.

Follow these steps if you want to create a knockout resume and make sure that you know the answers to these questions before you begin:

  • What skills are required to perform this work?
  • What other skills and personal qualities will the employer find attractive?
  • Which of my work, volunteer, leisure or educational experiences demonstrate that I possess those skills and qualities?
  • What results did I achieve in those experiences?

Define what it is you want to prove. A powerful resume reads like a persuasive brief. Underlying its content is the premise that you are the right person for a specific job.

Organize your qualifications to prove your premise. Employers no longer look for someone with the right “credentials”; they look for someone with the right skills, knowledge base, motivation and results. So do as Business Week says and forget titles. Load your resume with specific examples of the work, volunteer, leisure or educational accomplishments that show the employer you can do the job. Don’t add superlatives such as “excellent” or “outstanding”. Let your results speak for themselves.

Pare down your resume. Imagine you are creating a magazine advertisement. Make every word count by evaluating each entry this way:

  • Does it clearly support your qualification for the position? What specifically does it add to the total picture?
  • Do the facts translate into benefits for the employer, or just recite history?
  • Does the information raise more questions than it answers?

Get it edited. Show your best effort to at least two individuals who work in the field you’ve targeted.