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6 steps for landing your dream job
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Serious job candidates should work proficiently with Microsoft Office products, PowerPoint and e-mail, says Amy Baker, a former Dell human resources executive, and author of "Succeed at Work Without Sidetracking Your Faith: 7 Lessons of Career Excellence for Women."

"Be able to e-mail effectively -- get to the point, businesses don't want fluff or typos," she says.

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Also tweak your resume and cover letter to incorporate buzz phrases used by the company in its press releases, Baker says. If the company strives to increase sales in the next quarter and you're applying for a sales position, discuss how you will increase sales or how you boosted sales for a former employer. Not only does it help you understand what they're looking for in an employee, but also it shows them you have business savvy and the ability to speak the language of the industry.

Before you save and print your resume and cover letter, check your documents' structure for impact -- what do you lead with? If you have an advanced degree, put it up front in your resume, says career and life transitions coach Marcia Merrill. If you don't, put your experiences first and your education last.

"Lead with your accomplishments," she says -- even if that means having a separate accomplishments section. Whenever possible, quantify your successes, such as how much money or time you saved the company for a particular project, and put them into bullets for easy reading. Nixing those long paragraphs in your cover letter and resumes and chunking the information into bullets makes an employer more likely to read them. "You don't want a novel," she says.

5. Not a local? Act like one.
After all that effort, your career-making resume might find its way to your employer's wastebasket if you neglect one minor detail: your address.

That's right.

Employers have an overwhelming desire to hire local candidates, says Rothberg. They don't want to pay for relocation if they can hire someone locally. So if you don't live in San Francisco and your dream job resides there, don't send an online resume and hope for the best: "Get thee to San Francisco," he says.

For your resume's sake, get a local address -- from a friend you're staying with or by renting a post office box, if you can't afford to move before you have a job. That can be your mailing address. If an employer asks, say you're in the process of moving -- if that's the case, of course.

 
 
Next: "... be the lone sunbeam amid dark clouds."
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