Write the Winning Resume

So, you’ve set your mind to either make the transition into another job or you’ve been on the job hunt for sometime now – but you can’t seem to get any call backs from potential employers. If this sounds like your current dilemma, then you may want to review your resume and begin taking the necessary steps to rewrite it.

Your resume (along with a brief cover letter), is often your only way to market yourself to potential employers. A winning resume should communicate many things, all of which need to be compelling, in order to grab their attention and pick up the phone to call you in for an interview.

Stand out from the crowd.
A great resume summarizes your experience, accomplishments, skills and qualifications for any given position.

Be sure to include:

  • A summary of your work experience, chronologically listed with titles and dates. Detailing your last 3-5 positions is usually standard protocol.
  • A summary of college and graduate education. List any relevant awards or high marks.
  • Select accomplishments relevant to your particular industry.
  • Computer and any technically related expertise.
  • A brief list of any professional affiliations, hobbies or interests (this gives the hiring manager insight into whom you are and your personality).

Be concise in your wording.
A winning resume is succinct in its wording and descriptions. Be sure to omit any needless or repetitive words that may make you sound redundant or unconfident. Have a professional, or someone whom you know is a great writer, review it for mainly this purpose. Of course it (hopefully) goes without saying – but you should review your resume for any grammatical errors or typos before sending it to any potential employer.

Use powerful language, laid out in an easy to read manner.
The words you write will either convince a hiring manager to call you in for an interview or facilitate the recycling of your resume. Use action words that elicit results, such as: achieved, budgeted, composed and developed. Employ brief, bullet pointed sentences. Bullet points allow you to express messages in a quick, aesthetically pleasing manner. Utilize numbers, dollars and percentage signs. Symbols such as %, $, 1, garner attention when used appropriately and convey the fact that you have produced results.

Show who and what you know.
Incorporating industry specific terms and buzzwords will demonstrate to hiring managers that you know your industry and keep up with events and changes. Communicating who you know should also be a key component of any well-written resume. If you reported to the CEO of your previous employer then say so. Collaborating with important people shows that you’re an important person as well.

Create a cover letter that complements your winning resume.
A brief, well-written cover letter can seal the deal and confirm your interview appointment. Your cover letter should reveal your “voice” and personality and serve as an introduction to your resume. A conversational, yet professional writing style should be utilized to convey that you’re personable and articulate. Real examples of how your skills have been honed and utilized in your positions will go a lot further than generic speak. But brevity remains key.

Lastly, remember that the chief reason to write a resume is to market yourself and help you pass the screening process to be called in for an interview. If you keep these tips in mind and write for your audience, your last item should be to have a few sharp looking suits lined up.

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