Content provided by ResumeEdge.com
Certified Professional Resume Writers
can begin to design your resume on paper, you need to have the words. Use the
following twelve-step writing process to help you clarify your experience,
accomplishments, skills, education, and other background information, which will
make the job of condensing your life onto a sheet of paper a little easier. If
you need more help, consider using a ResumeEdge professional resume writer.
what type of job you will be applying for and then write it at the top of a
piece of paper. This can become your objective statement, should you decide to
use one, or be used in the first line of the profile section of your resume to
give your reader a general idea of your area of expertise.
are not required on a resume, and often the cover letter is the best place to
personalize your objective for each job opening. There is nothing wrong with
using an objective statement on a resume, however, provided it doesn't limit
your job choices. As an alternative, you can alter individual resumes with
personalized objectives that reflect the actual job title for which you are
applying. Just make sure that the rest of your information is still relevant to
the new objective, though.
write an objective statement that is not precise. You should name the position
you want so specifically that, if a janitor came by and knocked over all the
stacks of sorted resumes on a hiring manager's desk, he could put yours back in
its right stack without even thinking about it. That means saying, "A
marketing management position with an aggressive international consumer goods
manufacturer" instead of "A position which utilizes my education and
experience to mutual benefit."
objective on the first piece of paper, list any education or training that might
relate. If you are a recent college graduate and have little relevant
experience, then your education section will be placed at the top of your
resume. As you gain more experience, your education almost always gravitates to
participated in college activities or received any honors or completed any
notable projects that relate directly to your target job, this is the place to
high school education and activities on a resume is only appropriate when you
are under 20 and have no education or training beyond high school. Once you have
completed either college courses or specialized technical training, drop your
high school information altogether.
Continuing education shows that you care about life-long learning and
self-development, so think about any relevant training since your formal
education was completed. Relevant is the key word here. Always look at your
resume from the perspective of a potential employer. Don't waste space by
listing training that is not directly or indirectly related to your target job.
Step Three: Job Descriptions
Get your hands on a written description of the job you wish to obtain and for
any jobs you have held in the past. If you are presently employed, your human
resource department is the first place to look. If not, then go to your local
library and ask for a copy of The Dictionary of Occupational Titles or
the Occupational Outlook Handbook available online at http://stats.bls.gov/oco/oco1002.htm.
These industry standard reference guides offer volumes of occupational titles
and job descriptions for everything from Abalone Divers to Zoo Veterinarians
(and thousands in between).
resource available at your local library or college career center is Job
Scribe, a computer software program with more than 3,000 job descriptions.
Other places to look for job descriptions include your local government job
service agencies, professional and technical organizations, headhunters (i.e.,
recruiters), associates who work in the same field, newspaper advertisements for
similar jobs, or online job postings (which tend to have longer job descriptions
than print ads).
ResumeEdge Resume Center will provide you with hundreds of job descriptions
taken from all of the resume samples. Simply do a keyword search for relevant
job titles on the sample
a copy of the applicable descriptions and then highlight the sentences that
describe anything you have done in your past or present jobs. These job
descriptions are important sources of keywords, so pay particular attention to
nouns and phrases that you can incorporate into your own resume.
world of e-mailed and scannable resumes, make sure you know the buzzwords of
your industry and incorporate them into the sentences you are about to write.
Keywords are the nouns or short phrases that describe your experience and
education that might be used to find your resume in a keyword search of a resume
database. They are the essential knowledge, abilities, and skills required to do
your job. They are concrete descriptions like: C++, UNIX, fiber optic cable,
network, project management, etc. Even well-known company names (AT&T, IBM,
Hewlett-Packard, MCI) and universities (Harvard, Yale, SMU, SUNY, USC, Stanford,
Tulane, Thunderbird) are sometimes used as keywords, especially when it is
necessary to narrow down an initial search that calls up hundreds of resumes
from a resume database.
and abbreviations here can either hurt you or help you, depending on how you use
them. One example given to me by an engineer at Resumix was the abbreviation
"IN." Think about it. "IN" could stand for intelligent
networks, Indiana, or the word in. It is better to spell out
the abbreviation if there could be any possible confusion. However, if a series
of initials is so well known that it would be recognized by nearly everyone in
your industry and would not likely be confused with a real word, then the
keyword search will probably use those initials (i.e., IBM, CPA, UNIX). When in
doubt, always spell it out at least one time on your resume. A computer only
needs to see the combination one time for it to be considered a "hit"
in a keyword search.
skills are often not included in search criteria, especially for very technical
positions, although I have interviewed some companies that use them extensively
for the initial selection of resumes for management positions. For instance,
"communicate effectively," "self-motivated," "team
player," and so on, are great for describing your abilities and are fine to
include in your profile, but concentrate more on your hard skills, especially if
you are in a high-tech field.
At the end
of the chapter, you will find more examples of keywords for specific industries,
although there is no such thing as a comprehensive listing of keywords for any
single job. The computerized applicant tracking programs used by most companies
allow the recruiter or hiring manager to personalize his or her list for each
job opening, so it is an evolving process. You will never know whether you have
listed absolutely every keyword possible, so focus instead on getting on paper
as many related skills as possible.
descriptions you found in step three are some of the most important sources for
keywords. You can also be certain that nearly every noun and some adjectives in
a job posting or advertisement will be keywords, so make sure you use those
words somewhere in your resume, using synonyms wherever you can. Make a list of
the keywords you have determined are important for your particular job search
and then list synonyms for those words. As you incorporate these words into the
sentences of your resume, check them off.
caution. Always tell the truth. The minute a hiring manager speaks with you on
the telephone or begins an interview, any exaggeration of the truth will become
immediately apparent. It is a bad idea to say, "I don't have experience
with MS Word computer software" just to get the words MS Word or computer
software on paper so your resume will pop up in a keyword search. In a cover
letter, it might be appropriate to say that you "don't have five years of
experience in marketing but can add two years of university training in the
subject to three years of in-depth experience as a marketing assistant with
Hewlett-Packard." That is legitimate reasoning, but anything more
manipulative can be hazardous to your job search.
Step Five: Your Jobs
Starting with your present
position, list the title of every job you have held on a separate sheet of
paper, along with the name of the company, the city and state, and the years you
worked there. You don't need to list addresses and zip codes, although you will
need to know that information when it comes time to fill out an application.
You can list years only
(1996-present) or months and years (May 1996- present), depending on your
personality. People who are detail oriented are usually more comfortable with a
full accounting of their time. Listing years alone covers some gaps if you have
worked in a position for less than a full year while the time period spans more
than one calendar year. For instance, if you worked from September 1996 through
May 1997, saying 1996-1997 certainly looks better.
From the perspective of
recruiters and hiring managers, most don't care whether you list the months and
years or list the years only. However, regardless of which method you choose, be
consistent throughout your resume, especially within sections. For instance,
don't use months some of the time and years alone within the same section.
Consistency of style is important on a resume, since it is that consistency that
makes your resume neat, clean, and easy to read.
Step Six: Duties
Under each job, make a
list of your duties, incorporating phrases from the job descriptions wherever
they apply. You don't have to worry about making great sentences yet or
narrowing down your list.
When you are finished, go
back to each job and think about what you might have done above and beyond the
call of duty. What did you contribute to each of your jobs?
- Did you exceed sales
quotas by 150 percent each month?
- Did you save the
company $100,000 by developing a new procedure?
- Did you generate new
product publicity in trade press?
- Did you control
expenses or make work easier?
- Did you expand business
or attract/retain customers?
- Did you improve the
company's image or build new relationships?
- Did you improve the
quality of a product?
- Did you solve a
- Did you do something
that made the company more competitive?
Write down any
accomplishments that show potential employers what you have done in the past,
which translates into what you might be able to do for them. Quantify whenever
possible. Numbers are always impressive. Remember, you are trying to motivate
the potential employer to buy . . . you! Convince your reader that you will be
able to generate a significant return on their investment in you.
Step Eight: Delete
Now that you have the
words on paper, go back to each list and think about which items are relevant to
your target job. Cross out those things that don't relate, including entire jobs
(like flipping hamburgers back in high school if you are now an electrical
engineer with ten years of experience). Remember, your resume is just an
enticer, a way to get your foot in the door. It isn't intended to be
all-inclusive. You can choose to go back only as far as your jobs relate to your
present objective. Be careful not to delete sentences that contain the keywords
you identified in step four.
Step Nine: Sentences
Make sentences of the
duties you have listed under each job, combining related items to avoid short,
choppy phrases. Never use personal pronouns in your resume (I, my, me). Instead
of saying, "I planned, organized, and directed the timely and accurate
production of code products with estimated annual revenues of $1 million,"
say, "Planned, organized, and directed. . . ." Writing in the third
person makes your sentences more powerful and attention grabbing.
Make your sentences
positive, brief, and accurate. Since your ultimate goal is to get a human being
to read your resume, remember to structure the sentences so they are interesting
to read. Use verbs at the beginning of each sentence (designed, supervised,
managed, developed, formulated, and so on) to make them more powerful (see the
power verb list in the Resume Center).
Make certain each word
means something and contributes to the quality of the sentence. If you find it
difficult to write clear, concise sentences, send
your resume to ResumeEdge.com
to put a team of Harvard-educated
editors and professional resume writers to work for you.
Step Ten: Rearrange
You are almost done! Now,
go back to the sentences you have written and think about their order of
presentation. Put a number 1 by the most important description of what you did
for each job. Then place a number 2 by the next most important duty or
accomplishment, and so on until you have numbered each sentence. Again, think
logically and from the perspective of a potential employer. Keep related items
together so the reader doesn't jump from one concept to another. Make the
thoughts flow smoothly.
Step Eleven: Related
At the bottom of your
resume, think about anything else that might qualify you for your job objective.
This includes licenses, certifications, affiliations, and sometimes even
interests if they truly relate. For instance, if you want a job in sports
marketing, stating on your resume that you play tennis or are a triathlete would
be an asset.
Step Twelve: Profile
Last but not least, write
four or five sentences that give an overview of your qualifications. This
profile, or qualifications summary, should be placed at the beginning of your
resume. You can include some of your personal traits or special skills that
might have been difficult to get across in your job descriptions. Here is a
sample profile section for a computer systems technician:
systems/network technician with significant communications and technical
- Focused and hard
working; willing to go the extra mile for the customer.
- Skilled in
troubleshooting complex problems by thinking outside the box.
- Possesses a high degree
of professionalism and dedication to exceptional quality.
- Effective team player
with outstanding communication and interpersonal skills.
- Current Top
Secret/Sensitive Compartmentalized Information security clearance.
It is also acceptable to
use a keyword summary like the one below to give a "quick and dirty"
look at your qualifications:
- Hardware: IBM
360/370, S/390, 303X, 308X, ES-9000, Amdahl V6-II, V7, V8, 3705/3725,
Honeywell 6000, PDP II, NOVA, Eclipse, Interdata 8/32, Wang OIS 115, 140,
VS-80, VS-100, HP 3000, 9000, Vectra, IBM PC-AT, XT, and numerous other
computers and mainframes.
FORTRAN, PL/1, COBOL, BASIC, BAL (ALC), JCL, APL, DL/1, SQL, DS-2, HP-UX,
and various PC-oriented software and support packages.
- Systems: DOS,
OS, CICS, VSI/II, MVS, SVS, VM/CMS, IMS, MVT-II, MFT, POWER, TOTAL,
DATANET-30, JES-2, JES-3, BTAM, QTAM, TCAM, VTAM, TSO, ACF, NCP, SNA, SAA,
ESCON, SDLC, X-25, TCP/IP, UNIX, and TELNET.
This type of "laundry
list" isn't very interesting for a human being to read, but a few
recruiters in high-tech industries like this list of terms because it gives them
a quick overview of an applicant's skills. You can use whichever style you
Busy recruiters spend as
little as ten seconds deciding whether to read a resume from top to bottom. You
will be lucky if the first third of your resume gets read, so make sure the
information at the top entices the reader to read it all.
This profile section must
be relevant to the type of job for which you are applying. It might be true that
you are "compassionate," but will it help you get a job as a
high-pressure salesperson? Write this profile from the perspective of a
potential employer. What will convince this person to call you instead of
Click here for ResumeEdge.com,
Give Your Resume an Edge!
From Designing the Perfect Resume,by Pat Criscito.
Copyright 2000. Reprinted by arrangement with Barron's Educational Series, Inc.