The resume is not to be treated as a mere outline of jobs
and experience. When used strategically, it is a powerful
If provided prior to the interview, it will be used as
a screening tool. In that regard, it can work toward helping
the interviewer form a positive impression of you. It
may be further be used to set you up for questions you
will be well prepared to answer. The resume establishes
a context of who you are and what you have done. It furthermore,
gives the prospective employer and interviewer an idea
of how you can contribute to the organization and help
it achieve its goals.
Your resume is an effective tool that enables you to create
linkage with prospective employers. More than a list of
job experiences, an effective resume provides context
for your credentials and qualifications.
More importantly, an effective resume can form a living
relational link to employers and interviewers. It does
this by bringing you to life! The key to effective resume
development is building a three-dimensional model of who
you are, what you have done, and what you can potentially
do. The more your model relates in tone and substance
to what the employer is looking for, the better your chance
of making it to the short list of considered candidates.
Effective resumes are built with a results and action-oriented
tone. Employers need results. The job functions you have
performed, responsibilities you have carried out, and
experience you have accumulated is important....to some
degree. More important, however, are the tangible results
you have achieved. A series of accomplishments means you
are a person who continuously achieves results, and can
be expected to produce results and make contributions
that make a difference.
Therefore, the tone of the resume is developed by building
a series of concise, but powerful statements that illustrate:
1) what you did; and 2) the results achieved.
Example: Developed a new merchandising strategy
for a major product line, which resulted in a 50% increase
Statements can also be written in reverse form to add
variety to your presentation and enhance readability:
1) Achieved XYZ results; by 2) what you did.
Example: Increased profits 20% by developing
a new inventory control system and reducing operating
Appropriate and Effective Use of Power Words
It is important to use action verbs that describe activity,
and lead to results. These words work effectively if they
are not individually used in excess. A sample of such
words is included at the bottom of this page.
For every job function you performed, simply ask yourself:
What difference did it make? How did it benefit the
organization? Then, write it concisely, with impact.
Primary Resume Components
While your resume must reflect your individual credentials,
experience, education, training and achievements, the
are some common parts of the resume employers look for.
The basics naturally include your name, address and home
phone number. Include a day number, cell number and/or
pager if available. Be easy to contact. Also include a
home e-mail number. Goals and Objectives These are often
used, but are NOT necessary, and NOT recommended. The
problem with Goals and Objectives is that they can be
too specific, and therefore limit your possibilities;
or too general, and be meaningless. If you are confident
with a narrow job definition, use it; otherwise start
with a Summary.
A good Summary provides a quick snapshot (100 words max)
of your achievements, skills and abilities. It can include
industries worked in, specific accomplishments and areas
List positions in reverse chronological order, starting
with the current/most recent position. It is not critical
to list dates of employment in terms of month and year.
In fact, simply stating the dates in a "year from to year
end" format (ie. 1996 to 1998) is typically preferred.
You may be asked to be more specific on job applications.
If you are currently unemployed, say year started to "present."
If you held different positions at the same company,
include each one in a separate paragraph, but grouped
together under the same company. If you worked in different
divisions, specify first the major/parent company, then
the division. For example: GENERAL MOTORS CORP. Chevrolet
Associations, Affiliations and Designations
List any such affiliations, professional memberships or
credential designations that apply to your current level
of authority, function and experience. If you were long
ago a member of a society or association, you may not
want to list it if it would tend to label or limit you
in relation to the position you are seeking. Avoid listing
any affiliations that identify with age, gender, race
List the highest degree first, and include major field
of study (if college), school, year graduated, and any
honors. Recent college graduates should include GPA (providing
it is B or better). If you earned an Associates degree
plus higher degree, omit the Associates degree. Also omit
High School if graduated college. Include any post-graduate
college study as well as post-high school or vocational/trade
schooling and training if not graduated college. Any professional
training should also be included.
If you served in the military, identify that service,
Awards, Recognition, Patents
List each as applicable to the position you are seeking.
If the list is long, include on an Addendum attached to
This is optional, and not recommended. References Provide
a separate sheet, if asked.
If your list of employers and positions is extensive,
and you have been working longer than twelve years, it
can be beneficial to simply group these positions together
in a paragraph at the bottom of the resume.
Key Resume Tips
- Use one page if you have less than 10 years experience;
two pages for more than 10 years.
- List positions in chronological order, using short
paragraphs and/or bullet points to describe the results
and benefits of action performed.
- Keep explanations short and simple.
- Avoid puffery.
- Use language with broad enough appeal to apply to
different job functions, situations and environments.
- Design the resume to be scanned in less than 10 seconds.