Writing a Resume
Here are three principles to keep in mind when writing a resume:
The purpose of a resume is not to get a job; it is to get an interview.
Your resume needs to impress the potential employers so much that they want to have an interview with you to learn more about your qualifications for the job. How you present your resume will either capture your potential employers' attention, or make them toss your resume away.
Hiring managers do not read resumes; they scan them.
Most hiring managers scan resumes in 10 seconds, so your resume must be written in the way to slow the scan.
Highlight your achievements, not your duties.
Keep your duty summaries concise and concentrate on the results that came out of your everyday work.
Your potential employers are looking for achievers, candidates who go above and beyond their job duties. Your resume is not only a summary of your experiences and skills, but it is also a tool to sell yourself to your potential employers, and convince them that you are the best candidate among all other candidates for the position you are applying for. To do a great job selling yourself, the most important thing to put on your resume is a review of achievements throughout your work history.
It's surprising how many people can't describe their achievements well. Whether it's in a resume or in a job interview, your ability to describe your achievements is a critical factor for success.
Replace the "Objective" with a "Career Summary"
Too many candidates write "Objectives" that focus on what they want their next jobs to do for them. Most Objectives sound similar: seeking a challenging and interesting position in X where I can use my skills of X, Y, and Z to contribute to the bottom-line. The fact is that most employers don't care what you want. It's all about the employer: what can you do for them? So, your statement must focus on what the hiring managers can gain by hiring you.
A Career Summary is designed to give a brief overview of who you are and what you do. Summarize the most important and relevant items in your professional history concisely in a brief statement.
Use Action Words
Using action words like "achieved", "convinced", "created", "designed", "developed", "generated", "established", "expanded", "improved", "increased", "initiated", "invented", "negotiated", "reduced", and "resolved" will cause your resume to stand out.
Describe achievements in numbers, dollars, or percentages
Managers love to see numbers, so try to translate your achievements into numbers. Be sure to give concrete, measurable examples when you describe your attributes.
Highlight your strengths
Highlight your strengths, and what is most relevant to the potential employer. Put the strongest and most relevant points first.
Match their need
Review the job description of the position you are applying for. Use the keywords listed in the job description, and match them to the bullet points in your resume. Using a custom resume instead of a generic one will increase your chances of an interview.
Define an Achievement
An achievement means that a particular objective has been reached. When describing your achievements, explain what the objective was and your method of reaching it.
12 Achievements Employers Want To See
- Sales: Made quota; closed large deals
- Marketing: Successful Products; Product Launches
- Business Development: Successful OEM, or SI business resulting in real revenues; culminating in a trade sale
- Increased revenues or profit; Large deals; percent of quota
- Saved money or reduced cost
- Increased efficiencies, productivity, or the accuracy of results
- Completed projects faster
- Cut overhead
- Created new products / new lines that were successful
- Improved a record keeping process
- Effective budgeting
- Successful advertising campaign
For Engineers: How to describe your achievements
- Show how your performance benefited the company
- Highlight what you did that improved efficiency and speed, generated revenue or reduced cost.
- Focus on your most impressive technical projects / achievements
- Include technical details of your work
- Showcase your work using facts, not adjectives
- Include all relevant impressive details (awards, favorite projects)
- Include a measurable / quantifiable result or benefit
Instead of duties, think about why you are the best person for this job. Just because you did the same functions does not make you the best candidate for the job.
Here are some questions to answer when writing your achievements:
- What are you most proud of from your experience? What do you want the hiring manager to know about your contribution to the success of the project?
- Have you developed an innovative product that set your organization apart from its competitors?
- Have you delivered a project on time and on budget?
- Have you won any awards?
- Did you revamp company processes, or do things in a more efficient way?
- Did this generate cost savings, or speed up development time?
The sort of information is what will get your resume moved to the top of the pile.