Writing a Resume That Sells


Before I give you suggestions for how to write a resume’ that tells “your story” and attracts potential recruiters and hiring managers, I want to share some thoughts about the resume and how its role is changing.

What is a resume’?
Since a resume’ conveys the past, it is an historical document.

It is a history of what you have accomplished, and what skills you have used in doing so. Potential employers use this information to determine if what you have done in the past will allow you to do their job. While a resume cannot predict if you are the best person to hire, it is used as a guide for doing so.

But now there are many other ways for potential employers to find out more about your background and experiences.

In later sections we will cover the use of social media in managing your career, and will give you some ideas for making the resume’ come alive!

There are some resume rules and guidelines that seem to never go out of style:

  • Demonstrate how you have used your skills, knowledge and abilities
  • Focus on your accomplishments
  • Include a Summary of Qualifications, rather than an Objective
  • Be honest
  • Don’t list hobbies
  • Proofread it at least twice!

But, there are other rules and guidelines that are outdated.

  • Limit your resume to 1 page (2 pages are fine…but stop there!)
  • Write a “master” resume and use it to apply for all positions
  • Include references
  • Keep it formal

Even if you are not currently in the job market (…yet everyone should always be in the job market. More on this topic later.), there are a few things you should keep in mind when writing or revising your resume:

A recent study (Keeping an Eye on Recruiter Behavior) done by TheLadders, a job search site found that the average time a recruiter spends reviewing a resume is   6 SECONDS!!!

So…you need to make sure you quickly catch their attention!
How are you going to do this?

  • Write a brief narrative that demonstrates how you are a “good fit” for the position; some people call this the “Summary of Qualifications”, and it may be the only section of your resume that is read.

Once you have your “ad” nailed down, you are ready to begin writing the remainder of your resume. Here are some hints.

  • Use the position description as a guide to revising your resume; use keywords that match the position’s requirements
  • Quantify your accomplishments
  • Remember you want your resume to sell you – not describe everything you have ever accomplished in your professional career (i.e., it is not an autobiography); keep the content targeted to the position and company
  • Your audience is the recruiter and hiring manager; keep their needs in mine

And, remember, your resume is only one component of your job search. In the next 2 sections I will share some thoughts about “tools” that are becoming even more important than your resume in finding your next job—personal branding and social media.

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