There are hundreds of articles and books on resume writing -- from how it should look, to what format works best, to a number of other cookie-cutter old school “must haves”. While these all have merit and some good advice, I want to illustrate what a resume really is all about, what its main purpose is, how to make it talk to a recruiter, hiring manager, or potential employer. The use of words, what it should really contain, styling, and formatting. All these are important if you want to stand-out, and make them want to call you.
In its basic form, it is a document that contains a summary or listing of relevant job experience and education. It is closely related to a similar document, the curriculum vitae (CV) which focuses more on education, publications, and other accomplishments. Both are typically used to screen applications, often followed by an interview when seeking employment.
When asked, most people will say that a resume is a chronological listing of one’s work experience history, qualifications, certifications, skills, background, and education (see examples).
What people fail to understand is that your resume or CV is often the first item that a potential employer encounters regarding you, the job seeker. They also fail to understand that it is perhaps your best marketing tool.
In addition, not using the proper resume outline or not placing a large amount of effort or importance in writing it and not giving it a max effort when resume writing during it's construction...is like failing to market your unique skills and experience. REMEMBER -- it’s your key to unlocking that door!
It’s your fifteen minutes of fame, your chance to shine and stand-out in the crowd. Make sure you give resume writing a good amount of thought.
Focus on your accomplishments, achievements, and show the recruiter, hiring manager, or potential employer why they must bring you in for an interview. It must make them want to interview you.
First impressions are key
As you know, you will never get a second first impression, so make it count and work for you. If you fail to capture the reader, you will fail to stand-out and get the recruiter, hiring manager, or potential employer thinking of the future with you in it. They must see you as an asset, an answer to a problem they are trying to solve or you will not get called for the interview.
Don't focus too much on your chronological history
Use the right format when resume writing, and do not place too much focus on your chronological history. Highlighting your history is all about the past and, while you must discuss what you've done in your career and education, it is a much better self-marketing technique to focus on the future, and how you will become a valuable asset to the employer. It is ALWAYS better to have the perspective employer focus on your achievements or special and unique skills, rather than your past chronological history of employment.
Take a look at some examples here.
Use strong action words
Try using Attention-Grabbing action words to describe your responsibilities. Stay away from using the word 'duties' - responsibilities conveys a feeling of ownership….duties almost implies tasks performed, rather then items you have control and ownership over.
In addition remember - DO NOT LIE. While there is nothing wrong with emphasizing and your accomplishments, this does not mean you should try and exaggerate to the point of lying -- that's fraud, and will surely get your resume tossed in the garbage. Your resume represents you, BE PROUD OF IT, your reputation and career are on the line.
Once your reputation is lost, you will never get it back.