Proven Tips for Writing A Winning Resume
Below are 15 tips for writing a winning resume -- a resume that will get you an interview, and a foot in the door.
Identify a Clear Career Objective (or Summary Statement)Before you start writing your resume identify a clear career or job search objective. Most ineffective resumes are a result of unfocused content, irrelevant qualifications and lack of clear career direction. The only way to have focused and powerful resume is to make sure that everything that goes into your resume supports your career objective. If you are in the process of apply for jobs in a variety of industries, it will be essential that you develop multiple resumes with unique objectives and content to support each objective.
However, more and more resume experts now recommend converting the traditional career objective statement with something even more powerful--a summary statement. Unlike an objective statement that focuses on the job-seekers hopes and aspirations, the summary statement speaks directly to needs of the employer. The summary statement is just a few lines of text at the top of resume--right where a recruiter or hiring manager looks first.
Use Your Space WiselyMost hiring managers and recruiters spend only a few seconds reviewing your resume, so use your space (and their time) wisely. First, make sure the most important information you want seen is placed toward the top of your resume. Again, we recommend starting off every resume with a powerful summary statement that includes your qualifications, accomplishments and value propositions to the employer. Second, make sure you employ a clearly delineated, hierarchical format for presenting information throughout your resume. Separate each section of your resume with appropriate space and a line, and begin each section with a bolded section heading.
Market Yourself EffectivelyIn essence a resume is a tool for marketing your number one product, you! Your resume should effectively market you. What is it about you that make you the right candidate for the job? Does you resume effectively communicate this? Remember, each employer or hiring manager is likely reviewing hundreds of resumes for each position. What makes your resume, and you, stand out from the pack?
Know Your End GoalThink of your resume as an appetizer, not a four course meal. Your resume should be developed with an interview as your end goal. A resume will not get you a job but it can get you a job interview. Keep your resume short, sweet and informative. Include your most important accomplishments, job experience as well as your career objective but don't go into too much detail - leave the reader want to learn more.
Employ BulletsEmployers and hiring agents need to be able to read your resume quickly. Make sure to employ bullets and short sentences rather than lengthy, run-on paragraphs. Using a bullet format for presenting information will make it easier for a prospective employers to quickly view your most important professional qualifications.
Use Action Words and VerbsUse action words and action verbs in order to add life to your resume and really make it pop. You can find a complete list of action verbs and words by clicking on the following link: resume action verbs. While action words are effective, they must be backed up by real accomplishments and facts. A resume full of action words, with no real action demonstrated, will be ineffective.
Lead With Your StrengthsDid you know that the average resume only receives about 20 to 30 seconds of an employer's or hiring agent's time? You've got to communicate quickly, and you've got to communicate powerfully. Make sure that you always lead with your strengths. Make sure to position your most relevant experience and strengths where they are most likely to get read.
Include Meaningful DetailsA great way to make your resume really pop is to include numbers, dollars, and percentages in the body of your resume. #'s, $'s and %'s really stand out and catch a readers attention. Saying "Developed a corporate strategy that lead to a $1,000,000 increase in first quarter revenues for 2010" is much more eye catching and persuasive than "Developed strategies that led to large revenue increase."
Examine The CompetitionA great way to produce a powerful resume is to first review job postings for the position you're interested in obtaining. If you're able to get your hands on other resumes for candidates seeking similar job positions, or resumes of previous candidates, this can also give you some great insights into how you might want to develop or improve your resume.
Emphasize Relevant QualificationsFocus your resume on your most relevant and positive qualifications and de-emphasize negative or irrelevant points. While it is important to be honest, it is not necessary to point our your short comings. Your resume should be designed to highlight your most salient qualities and characteristics. Emphasize the relevant experience and accomplishments that will show the reader that you are the most qualified candidate.
Use BuzzwordsIntegrate industry buzzwords into your resume where relevant. Employing industry buzzwords can help demonstrate your competence for specific jobs or career fields. For example, in business use "corporate level strategy" or for accounting "financial statement analysis." However, don't over do it. And don't rely exclusively on buzzwords. Use a few buzzwords backed up by relevant experience and accomplishments.
Emphasize Important RelationshipsIf you have worked with or reported to anyone of importance during your previous job it may be a good idea to mention them in your resume. For example, if you reported to the CEO of the previous company you worked for you should mention this. Showing that you've been intimately involved professionally with individuals of importance communicates that you are also important -- and possibly more qualified than other candidates.
Make Your Resume Easy To ReadNever forget that resume are reviewed quickly. You may be the best candidate for the job. You may have the most relevant experience. But if you have a long two page, unorganized resume that takes a long time to read you may not even get called back for an interview. Make sure your resume is an easy read. Use an standard size font (not small - not large), leave white space and make sure your resume is no longer than 1 page, unless you have substantial experience.
Get An Unbiased CritiqueHave someone other than yourself, or a close friend, review your resume. It's important to find have someone provide you with a completely unbiased opinion and critique of your resume. Finding someone who has experience, such as an industry professional or professor, can be especially helpful.
Deliver Your Resume In PersonIf at all possible, and if appropriate, deliver your resume in person. Delivering your resume in person is one of the most effective ways to get the interview you're looking for -- and again, that's what you're trying to get, an interview. If you're submitting you resume online to an employer, follow up with the hiring agent or a manager to make sure your resume is received and being considered.
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