Making Your Resume Work For You: Part 1

Resumes are the first job search document that most job seekers start with – the document that shows their experience and skills. However, a resume is just a piece of paper if it does not work for you to catch the interest of recruiters and hiring managers. There are several steps you can take to ensure that your resume content WORKS FOR YOU in your job search process.

First, target the resume to the position or employer.

The fantasy of one resume that will be useful for every job application is just as fanciful as a one-size-fits-all garment. We have all seen the shirt that the manufacturer wants us to believe will fit everyone.

The more honest manufacturers changed their tag to read: One size fits most. But even that is not close enough for a resume. In order to be sure that your resume will accomplish the goal you set for it in the application process, it must be targeted to the needs of the company. Job descriptions are the first information source to identify those company needs. But, of course, it is not the only source – use the company website, press releases, and news articles to identify additional needs.

Second, emphasize accomplishments, not duties!

As you sit down to brainstorm your resume content, think in terms of the accomplishments from every previous position, community involvement, and leadership experience. Accomplishments can be quantified and qualified, depending on your goal.

Quantify accomplishments by including numbers, dollar signs, and percentages. Symbols such as $ and % draw the readers eye and most recruiters and hiring managers are trained to spot numbers and symbols.

If you can’t attach numbers to an accomplishment, then qualify it. Use adjectives and adverbs to modify the action of the accomplishment. Effective use of analytical skills to synthesize data. In this example, effective is an adjective that qualifies the ability to use analytical skills. Effectively synthesized data using analytical skills. In this example, effectively is an adverb that qualifies the verb synthesized.

In Part 2 of Making Your Resume Work FOR You, I will explain relevant resume sections and the need to edit unnecessary sections.

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