TEN RESUME TIPS . . . TO HELP YOU STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD

A carefully crafted resume is as important to landing your next job as a well- planned meal is to a successful party. One flub and the hiring manager will put a check next to your name! (at least in his or her mind)

Therefore, take your time. Think about your employment history. Make a list of the information you want to include so that your name and experience will rise to the top of the ‘pile’ of resumes the hiring manager receives every week. Focus on the responsibilities you’ve had that relate to the position you’re now applying for.

The ten resume tips listed here will help you do just that. Read them over and apply these principles to your resume to help yours stand out from the crowd.

Resume Tip #1: Include Job Titles and Headings

Did you know you have about five seconds to attract an employer’s attention with your resume? To make the most of this time, be sure to include headings that match and relate to the job you’re seeking. Example: Managed Record keeping Department instead of Worked in Records.

Perhaps you were an administrative assistant to the president of a computer company and were personally responsible for handling correspondence and customer service to over 500 clients. Which sounds more impressive? Administrative Assistant or Administrative Assistant to President/Managed Correspondence and Service to 500 Clients.

You want your resume to stand out, to command a thorough reading, and to motivate the hiring manager to phone you for an interview, so give it your best shot.

Resume Tip #2: Highlight the Most Important Information

Consider the job you’re applying for. What are the key points you should include so it will be clear that you’re the one to fill the position? For example, if you want to be hired as a bookkeeper, will it matter that you sold women’s shoes while working your way through college? Probably not, so don’t include that. But it will make an impression if you were the treasurer of a local community organization, so add that, even if it wasn’t a paid position.

If your employment history is short (less than ten years, for example) or if you’re a fairly new college or trade school graduate, don’t let that intimidate you. Focus on the jobs you held that are related to the one for which you’re applying. Hiring managers want people who are capable and educated in the profession they are seeking to fill. If you have what it takes in terms of talent and experience, even if some of it was through volunteer service, be sure to list it.

Resume Tip #3: Be specific when writing content.

Avoid generalizations such as helped manage office records, drove a delivery truck for thirteen years, set up appointments for patients, staged homes for sale for real estate office. This wording is clear but not specific. By focusing your writing on exact details, you’ll capture the hiring manager’s attention and pique his or her interest in meeting you in person to discuss how you can fill the position now open.

Consider how to replace generalizations with specifics. Here are some
examples to guide you:

  • Managed office records for ABC Computer Company for five years.
  • Drove lead truck for the Northwest Division of XYZ Wholesale Foods, clocking 20,000 miles per year over a five-year period.
  • Handled all patient appointments, billing, and service calls for Dr. Jackson Billingsley, dentist, for eight years.
  • ‘Staged’ over 100 for-sale homes per year for Cloud Nine Realty Company from 2005-2009, using my award-winning decorating skills and knowledge of real estate sales.

Hiring managers are looking for people who communicate in specific terms with clarity and purpose.

Resume Tip #4: Use power words.

Vivid action verbs are the ticket to a powerful resume. Words such as condensed, executed, terminated, determined, revised, promoted, approved, confirmed, and others like them are the winners.

Notice how they exude strength and conviction when read or stated aloud. You know something occurred. Something positive happened. Something important was accomplished. This is what hiring managers are looking for––evidence that you made strides in your previous employment and will bring that excellence to the new position if you are hired.

Before sending off your resume, check it for powerhouse verbs and where you find a weak one such as helped, replace it with assisted, or use directed employees instead of gave directions. You get the idea. For a list of great action verbs, check this web site: Resume Power Verbs

Resume Tip #5: Incorporate key words and phrases.

When you see an ad for a job, study it for key words and phrases, not just for general content. For example: Looking for experienced sales manager to oversee existing sales personnel, train and coach new hires, and report monthly sales statistics to management.

What are some of the key words and phrases to note? experienced, oversee sales personnel, train, coach, report to management. Keep them in mind when drafting your resume. Respond to them. For instance, if you wanted this particular job, you’d do well to include in your resume references to your work in sales. Did you train or coach new salesmen and women? Were you responsible for meeting with management each month to report and talk about sales statistics?

The more you tailor your resume to the needs of the hiring manager as expressed in the ad for the job, the closer you’ll be to landing the position.

Resume Tip #6: Anticipate and address employer’s unspoken needs.

Do you want to beat the competition in this tough job market? Then you need to be a sleuth. That’s right. It requires some detective work, meaning anticipating the employer’s hidden requirements. For example, sales people generally need to have a cooperative relationship with the accounting personnel, as the two must work together in order to insure accurate reporting of sales figures. A sales manager would also be in close communication with the public relations department and publicity staff—the employees who are responsible for advertising the company’s products and services.

Therefore, if you’re able to state with confidence and accuracy your ability to work compatibly with people in various related departments, the better your chance of getting the job. And if you can show how these relationships increased the company’s revenue, perhaps through the placement of an ad or by means of a special sales promotion or demonstration for potential customers, then you show yourself to be an invaluable asset to any company.

Resume Tip #7: Emphasize the benefit of your skills.

It’s important to list your skills and abilities, but it’s even better to display how they have helped grow the organization you currently work for. Mention details that display how your actions produced more income, increased sales, and expanded the company’s presence in the industry to which it belongs. That’s what hiring managers need and want to see.

For example, perhaps you were promoted to buyer of women’s sportswear at ABC Department Store. You had a talent for recognizing trends and styles, sizes, and what appealed to your customer base. Well and good. But—how did those traits improve or benefit the store?

If you can show that since you became the buyer, sales in your department increased the first year by 30% and therefore impacted sales for the entire store by such and such a figure, so much the better. Hiring managers are looking for people who can boost the bottom line.

Resume Tip #8: Create a professional image.

Are you ready to move out of your entry-level job as a word processor that pays $12 an hour and replace it with a salaried position as an Executive Administrative Assistant? If so, make sure your resume reflects that added sophistication. Reach for what you want by demonstrating the traits the job requires—traits that will draw the salary you need, want, and are qualified to accept.

State your objective using strong, vivid language that commands attention:
Seeking a position as an Administrative Assistant making use of my experience: Assisting the Vice President of ABC Insurance Company, a Blue Chip organization in New York City, with client correspondence involving claims
in excess of $200,000 monthly.

However, if you’re not ready to receive a comfortable salary and company benefits, then write something like this: Seeking a job as an assistant in the administration department. Excellent word processing skills.

Resume Tip #9: Prioritize your content.

If you want to accomplish some tasks next weekend, chances are you will put them on a list in their order of importance to you. If you don’t prioritize them, chances are they may or not be completed, and some of them, perhaps the ones that matter most, won’t get finished at all.

The same holds true for your resume. List those jobs that are most relevant to the position you’re interested in and do so in their order of importance.

Example:

  • Managed the front desk and staff of Inn-by-the-Sea Hotel during 2008 and 2009 and reported all activity to the Hotel Manager every Monday morning.
  • Served as part-time staff on weekends during 2007-2008 at Ocean Street Motel, responsible for booking rooms and taking reservations for the cafe.
  • In this example, it’s clearly a priority to display the most important and most recent job first, followed by the less important and earlier related employment.

Resume Tip #10: Revise your resume for each potential employer.

It’s easy to take your resume for granted once you write it. You make a gazillion copies and then send or pass them out to potential employers, hiring managers, and friends and colleagues who might know of someone who can help you land the job you want.

However, it’s best not to get too satisfied. It’s worth it to take time to ‘tweak’ your resume for each new contact, making sure that what you’ve written is as relevant to the new position as it can be. Watch the number of interviews increase when you make even small changes. For example, suppose you’ve been an athletic coach at a community recreation facility but are now applying for the job of Sports Consultant (a notch above the position you’ve held) at a recreation facility in another city. You’ve set up your resume to focus on your coaching and consulting skills.

However, before receiving a response on that job, you noticed an ad for a position of Facility Manager—a broader, more encompassing position than either of the other two. To compete for this job, you’ll probably want to tweak your resume so it is more compatible with the tasks required for a general manager of a recreation facility. Therefore, list your management abilities and experience in such a way that they relate to the position you want to fill.

Example:

  • Supervised all facility activities in manager’s absence.
  • Managed a girls’ baseball and basketball team.
  • Trained new coaches and oversaw player sign-ups.