Ten Steps To A Great Resume

1) Don’t do a resume. Don’t start by trying to write “a resume.” Most people do not like to read resumes; so don’t write something that people don’t want to read. Write something that will convince the reader that she should hire you.  Start with a plan. Figure out what you need to say to get the reader’s attention.  Then (and only then) weave that message into something that resembles a resume. In fact, scratch that last thought. It’s not important that your resume resembles what people think of as a resume. The important thing is that it gets noticed and it communicates something to the reader that will get you an interview.

2) Write it to a person. I’m not talking about addressing the cover letter. I’m talking about the writing of your resume. Imagine the person who is going to open your envelope. Write it to her. Talk with her. Too often resumes are written as if robots read them, but robots don’t read resumes. People do. People like personality, emotion, stories, and insights. The reader wants to know about you and what you can do. Don’t forget that they want to know about you.

3) Write clearly. Be concise, succinct, and concrete. Can your mother understand what your resume says? If not, a rushed HR person or a busy executive will not digest what you’re trying to communicate. Do not use corporate mumbo jumbo (example:  “Achieved strategic operational objectives including increased shareholder value overall and attained planned incremental increases within each retail unit.”). What?

4) Focus on your accomplishments. Companies want to hire people who have accomplished things. Day-to-day responsibilities tend to sound dull. Day-to-day tasks can usually be turned into or covered by well-written accomplishments. If you have a job responsibility in which you accomplished nothing during your tenure on the job, you might not want to highlight it on your resume.

Don’t just say that you were in a leadership or managerial position. Holding a leadership position is secondary to what is accomplished while in that position. If you can produce results, then you’ll be put into positions of authority, management, and leadership. It’s best to tell how you earned your leadership position and how you kept your leadership position (accomplishments) rather than just telling that you had a leadership position (responsibilities and duties).

5) Look professional. If you can’t make the resume layout look good, hire someone who can. Use a template available online or within many software programs. Don’t go with a flashy template because they easily look like templates (and that’s not good). It’s not hard to look good, but it takes care and understanding in the visual area. First impressions make a huge difference. Be coordinated. The envelope must match the cover letter and they both need to match the resume.

6) Dissect the help-wanted ad. Most help-wanted ads give you an outline to what the company is looking to hire. Be sure to look for all of the clues hidden within the ad explaining what they are looking for. If the ad mentions “effective time management,” try to be the first candidate to get your resume in. If the ad specifies that you must know certain software programs, tell them or show them that you know the programs.

7) Make an impact. After reading your resume, the reader should want to hire you… or at least want to interview you. If your goal is anything less, you’re aiming too low.  How can you tell if your resume has impact?  Answer this question: “Where are the few things in your resume that convince the reader to want to hire you?”

8. Edit, edit, edit. You only have the reader’s attention for about two minutes before she has decided that she likes you or doesn’t. With every line on your resume, ask yourself, “Why will this impress the reader?”  If you cannot answer that question, edit the text or remove the item from your resume. Everything on your resume should be included because it will impress the reader.

9) Critique it. Get many people’s point of view on your resume. Ask people to find things they don’t like about your resume (because that’s how some people read them). Most universities have career councilors who will review resumes from alums. Send your resume to your parents’ friends. Send the resume to headhunters. Send your resume to professionals who you’d like to work with. Send your resume to a career consultant. Ask all of them to review your resume and tell them you want to make it better.

10) It’s not about you. The reader is looking to hire someone to solve a problem or fulfill a need. The first section in many resumes is “Objective.” Is the reader focused on what your objective is?  No. The reader’s primary interest is THEIR objective (not YOURS). Show the reader how you will help their business.

Follow these simple but tough rules and you’ll have an interesting resume. If you have ideas for more steps, share them here (in the comments).

Please remember that there isn’t a resume that will impress everyone. If your goal is to making a resume to please everyone, you will not succeed. You will end up with a watered-down piece of nothing. Instead of trying to please everyone, create a resume that will have impact and make you look good to the reader.  Good luck!

 

Advertisements

13 Responses

  1. Thanks for this succint write up on developing a great resume.
    Equally important is the fact that a resume should tell a story…maybe not in the biographic sense or literary oeuvre, but in terms of linkages. Subsections and related subjects should be seen to ‘link’ closely with each other. For examples Education, Fellowships and other academic awards and such related contents should be in same locus of the resume.

  2. Great article lotsaneatstuff! In particular “Write to a Person” seems advice that is unique. What would help me is an Example CV for a professional who has more than 15 years work experience across 4 companies to convey – it has to capture your tips (2) and (4).

  3. […] keep it concise, use action verbs, etc. To see more of my thoughts on resumes, see this article. Advertisement GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  4. thank you for this suggestions..

  5. Highly descriptive blog, ӏ enjoyed that bit. Will there be a part 2?

  6. I even have an idea for construction of a new facility to replace that evil place known
    as Gitmo (this is very important because we don’t want to create a bad
    impression in the minds of our fellow members in the United Nations).
    At the moment, it is assumed that Google are working on creating the ‘full’ version of this to launch sometime in the near future.
    The unique design of the Beetle caught the attention of millions
    of people of different age groups all across the Western countries and continued its successful run through decades.

    You ought to take part in a contest for one of the most useful
    websites on the net. I’m going to recommend
    this website!

  7. With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright violation?

    My site has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either authored myself
    or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up
    all over the web without my permission. Do you know
    any techniques to help protect against content from being
    stolen? I’d truly appreciate it.

  8. Great blog here! Also your web site loads up very fast!
    What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your
    host? I wish my site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  9. I am not sure where you’re getting your info, but great topic.
    I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more.
    Thanks for fantastic information I was looking for this info for my mission.

  10. May I simply just say what a relief to discover somebody that really knows
    what they’re discussing on the internet. You definitely know
    how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people really need to check
    this out and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that
    you are not more popular because you most certainly have the gift.

  11. Really when someone doesn’t be aware of afterward its up to other users that they will
    help, so here it occurs.

  12. For example, if you get black hairstyles the cut that suits you and your personality.
    Women tend to sport a slightly edgy, punk look, then you already know
    that the perfect hair style can also do the job. Next, secure it with a rubber band.

    Older black hairstyles generations might look at emo hairstyles as outrageous or as a full braid starting at
    the front of the mirror styling their looks.

  13. hey there and thank you for your info – I have definitely picked
    up something new from right here. I did however expertise some
    technical issues using this site, since I experienced to
    reload the website lots of times previous to I could get it to load properly.
    I had been wondering if your web host is OK?
    Not that I am complaining, but slow loading
    instances times will often affect your placement in google and could damage your quality score if ads and marketing with
    Adwords. Well I’m adding this RSS to my e-mail and can look out for much more of your respective fascinating content.
    Ensure that you update this again soon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: