Even in the age of online job search sites and mobile job apps, a great resume is still an important and telling component of a complete job application package. But the first step to creating a great resume is simple and often overlooked: Applicants need to understand exactly what a resume is, what it does, and how it’s used. Once an applicant can recognize the true purpose of the resume as a supporting document, she can understand how the claims and phrases in this document sound to a recruiter or employer. She can gain a better grasp of what these people are looking for and how to get their attention. If you’re in the job market and you’d like to take your resume to the next level and use it to help you shine, try these tips. Make a Good Resume Even Stronger 1. Remember that your resume is there to support the first impression you make, not to make it for you. Face-to-face networking still ranks higher than any resume in the eyes of most potential employers. Of course, you’ll need to do all you can to make your resume great. But if there’s any chance you might be able to make your greeting, connection, or impression in person, spend more time on that project than you do on resume editing. 2. A strong resume tells a story. As great writers and marketing managers already know, story is everything. For some reason, narrative structure helps people focus on what they’re hearing, develop an interest in it, and remember it later. If your resume is a dry list of fact after disconnected fact, try making some adjustments. Each section should fit smoothly into the whole and should tell employers a complete story about who you are as a professional, where you’ve been, and where you’re headed. 3. Recognize what sets you apart. No matter who you are, there are a few details about your work life that differentiate you from other applicants at your level. What have you done, what have you been part of, where have you been, and who have you worked with that your competitors probably haven’t? These small details can stoke the curiosity that gets you noticed and moves you through the screening process. 4. In the financial world, detail matters. So much so that one small error in your resume can actually set you back more than a hundred right moves can drive you forward. Don’t miss a step. Is your email address unprofessional? Have you misused a semi-colon or misspelled a single word? Have you fact-checked your own history and removed all exaggerated or questionable claims? Do these things before you send or risk tanking your chances. Remember, your resume—while important—is only one component of your job search marketing material. For help polishing the rest of your application package, including your cover letter and interview skills, reach out to the Seattle staffing and job search pros at Pace.