Your resume creates the all important first – and maybe only – impression on prospective employers. It either opens the door for you or slams it in your face. Here is some advice to make it work for you.
Advertising – Not Documentation
To be effective, your resume must advertise your best qualifications, not just document your career. It must stress qualities/benefits/results potential employers are seeking. If it looks like documentation, it will not work.Assuming your experience fits the profile of an open position, how can your resume make you a must interview candidate? Think like an advertiser and give that employer reasons to want you.
Sell in the Summary -- your Summary must quickly and clearly tell reviewers your best qualifications.
Be specific -- generalities are easily dismissed as puffery, but citing specific projects or results adds credibility and draws attention.
Create an impression -- lead reviewers to positive conclusions by emphasizing qualifications that are undeniably impressive.
You, not the job -- what you did in each position is far more important than the scope of responsibilities and duties of anyone in the job. Specify what you did - your accomplishments and results achieved - that made the distinctive difference.
Make the choice easy -- provide more specifics in the body of the resume to support the bold claims in the Summary. Repetition is good, but add specific details to reinforce the credibility.
Easy reader -- don't make reviewers dig through dense detail to find the meat. Use bullets and white space to deliver the message clearly.
Qualified – Better – Different – Unique
That's how you must be perceived to get the job you want. Your resume must project that and more, because it represents you. Even if a headhunter calls out of the blue, you must have a great resume. It introduces you to everyone involved in the hiring decision. It creates an impression long before you meet or talk to your would-be bosses.
Appearance - Beyond looking "nice" your resume must encourage reading and direct attention. Use visual cues -- white space, headlines, and font highlights that encourage absorption of your strengths.
Clear and Quick - On the top half of page one, state your immediate career objective and a summary of your best qualifications. Less is better -- use fewer words for greater impact. Use bullets and minimize narrative.
Focus - Emphasis indicates what you believe is important. Focus on factors sure to resonate with resume reviewers.
Distinguish Yourself - Highlight qualifications most likely to be different from other candidates -- Harvard MBA? Frequent public speaker? Deep industry knowledge? Whatever distinguishes you from others is important.
Moving Up - Note promotions or transfers or projects which expanded your responsibilities. They demonstrate your value to employers and emphasize your upward mobility.
Quality of Experience - It's not how long you've worked, but what you did, the scope of your jobs, what you accomplished, the impact you made. Use details to describe the quality of your experience.
Bottom line: Your resume will determine whether you are invited to interview. It must beat the competition. It must communicate your best qualifications. Don't fight the odds, use every advantage. .