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Top 5 Resume Rules

24 May, 2013

Top 5 Resume Rules

It is an understatement to say that resume writing and job search strategies have changed dramatically in just the last few years. In this digital age, you must follow these rules to write a resume and get it noticed.

1. Resume Writing Must Adhere to Applicant Tracking System Rules

An Applicant Tracking System is the software that a lot of companies use to read and rank resumes and if you do not get past them, your resume goes into the infamous black hole and will not be seen. Your sections must be clearly delineated, the company name, title and date have to be together and you cannot use MS tables. For more on this, see my post on Writing Resumes to Meet ATS Rules at http://bit.ly/Riei88.

2. Showcase Your Brand or Theme

When writing your resume, the Objective that says”Here is what I want” is dead and replaced with a simple headline like SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER. This must be followed by a well-written description of what you do best (brand) which is designed to differentiate you from the many other candidates.

Avoid statements that anyone can say like “Dynamic manager able to motivate teams to peak performance.” A good example is: Corporate Troubleshooter regularly assigned to the most challenging initiatives. This creates a theme, so your opening essentially says “Here is what I am best at” and when you write the rest of the resume, you are saying “Here is proof that I am good” by showcasing the results you have achieved.

3. Use the Resume Writing Harvard Format

Recent studies show that employers spend about 6.7 seconds on the resume. For maximum impact, you should use the Harvard format which means that your roles and responsibilities are in paragraph form and your achievements are in bullets so they stand out.

Note too that in this day and age, the notion of a one-page resume is a myth and what is most important is that the resume has a compelling story and is easy to read.

Remember too that your resume is an advertisement for your skills and is not necessarily a legal document designed to indicate everything you’ve ever done. Your purpose in the resume is simply to get them to want to call you for an interview. So you do not have to showcase your entire career. Stop writing the resume when prior jobs are no longer relevant or start to age you.

4. Support Your Theme with Strong Accomplishment Statements

Now that you have written a resume that establishes a theme, you now have to prove it by showcasing your accomplishments. Make sure your accomplishments are directly relevant to the position you’re seeking and support your theme or brand.

So if you are looking for a sales role and you created a database that streamlined the process of ordering office supplies, although that’s very nice it’s not something you should have on your resume. As much as possible try to quantify your accomplishments and indicate your performance against goals.

For example, when writing a resume for a sales executive, stating that you “increased revenues $3 million year-over-year” is very nice but it really doesn’t describe your accomplishments. Saying that you “delivered 155% of quota representing a $4 million increase in year-over-year revenues” is a much stronger statement.

5. LinkedIn

Recent studies indicate that more than 85% of employers and virtually all recruiters will look for you on LinkedIn before calling you. So make sure that you have your LinkedIn ID on your resume and that your profile is supportive of your overall theme.

Note that if your LinkedIn ID has /pub/ in it with a host of numbers at the end, then you have a temporary ID and you should secure a more appropriate ID by editing your LinkedIn profile and skipping down to the PUBLIC PROFILE edit button in LinkedIn. This is very easy to do and you should try to secure your name.

Also the LinkedIn Profile should not be your full resume, just enough pieces to whet a potential employer’s appetite for more information and to get them to contact you.

Follow these resume rules and you will see a marked difference in the way your resume produces results.

Don Goodman

Want to learn more about this career professional? Check out a full list of career articles, contact information, and biographical info by visiting his Career Experts member profile. LEARN MORE

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