Resume Help

Make Your Resume Stand Out

Resume Help

Having the right information and style on your resume will directly determine your success in finding a job. Without it, youre just wasting the employers time and yours.

Resume Guide
Improve Your Resume: Employers can use technology to scan your resume for keywords. It is important that your resume will catch the "eyes" of that technology so that you are seen.
Use the tool below to scan your resume and see how you can improve it.

Clear Direction: Know what the employer wants and make sure your resume speaks to it. The more information you provide that fits the employers needs, the more interested theyll be to read. Also, try to anticipate what theyre thinking. Youll surely impress if you talk about things they want before they even want them.
Specific Info: When its appropriate, be painfully specific. Info that might seem trivial to you can be gold to an employer. Info like the number of people you managed and qualitative terms will paint a more detailed picture of your experience
Buzzwords: Youve walked the walk, now talk the talk. Show how much knowledge youve gained during your experience by including relevant terms and names, software programs and even industry slang.
Name Dropping: A good amount of success is due simply to who you know. So, use whoevers name and take advantage of their reputation and the fact that you associated with them. After all, if they thought you were valuable enough to work with then the employer should as well.
Prioritizing: An employers time is very important and limited, which means resumes are often just skimmed in search of the most important and intriguing information. So, make sure that info is at the top and stands out.

Paper Quality: The trick is to stand out. Using a high-quality paper can be a simple and effective way to do that. In a stack of resumes the one printed on nicer, more professional paper is king, and usually read.
Brevity: If an employer wants to read a novel theyll get one at the bookstore. Make sure your information is concise. Not only will the employer be able to digest your resume faster, theyll also be grateful for not taking up too much of their time.
Space: Be careful your resume doesnt look like one big paragraph block. Formatting some room to break things up and space things out will make it easier on the eye and easier to read.
Simplicity: Overkill can kill a resume. Dont use too many fonts, images, colors, etc. Dont be too abstract or creative. A resume should be clean and professional with a hint of elegance. Remember, its your experience and info thats truly on display.

  • Make sure your resume is easy to read and understand.
  • Keep the overall length of your resume short and sweet. One page is ideal.
  • Highlight all relevant accomplishments and the skills used to attain them.
  • Focus only on information thats relevant to your own career goals.
  • Neatness counts and presentation is everything. Pay close attention to spelling, grammar and punctuation and, if youre able, have your resume word processed and printed.

  • DONT include personal references on your resume. Employers that are seriously considering hiring you will ask for them at the appropriate time.
  • DONT use odd-sized paper or loud colors for your resume. Nice quality 8.5 x 11-inch white paper is ideal.
  • DONT include salary history, reasons for leaving previous jobs, or any undesirable information.
  • DONT include references to areas of your life that are not business related. If its not directly related to your experience or the job at hand, leave it out.
  • DONT become discouraged if your resume doesnt land you a job on its own. It never happens. Remember, its just a piece of paper that gives employers a brief overview of your experience. You still have to interview and thats where you can seal the deal.


Objective Statement

What do you want? What are your career goals? What kind of job are you looking for? Once you decide this itll set the tone for the rest of your resume. It will also give the employer a quick and clear idea of where you want to be.

A few tips to writing your Objective Statement:

  • Focus on how big of an asset you will be to an employer. Briefly describe whats in it for them if they hire you.

  • Dont be too vague or general.

  • Keep it concise and targeted so hiring managers can get the gist with a quick read.

  • If you have more than one career goal, create a different resume version for each objective.

Career Summary
Hiring managers are busy people and often inundated with hundreds of resumes. The best way to stand out in the job-seeker crowd is to create a career summary statement. Basically, its your career in a nutshell.

Take these four steps to create a winning career summary:

  1. Conduct Research on Your Ideal Job
    Closely targeting your profile to the employers needs will garner better results. Start by searching for your ideal job/position. Compare the ads and write a list of common job requirements and preferred qualifications.

  2. Assess Your Credentials
    What benefits do you offer? If you are lacking in one area, do you make up for it with other credentials?

  3. Add a Headline
    Hook the employer with a compelling headline. It should include your job target as well as the main benefit of hiring you.

  4. Keep it Short
    A 4-5 sentence paragraph is ideal.
Employment History
Just like your Objective Statement and Career Summary, your Employment History should be short and to the point. If a hiring manager can quickly and clearly determine your experience and credentials then youll have an edge over the competition.

Here are five ways you can jazz up your experience section to capture the attention of hiring managers:

  1. Ditch the Job Description
    Theyre usually boring and cold descriptions that dont make what youve done sound interesting at all.

  2. Prove Your Value
    Emphasize your accomplishments and provide proof of your potential value.

  3. Quantify Results
    Wherever possible, include measurable results of your work.

  4. Use Power Words
    Write with passion because you want the employer to read it with such. The quality of your writing can also determine your chances for an interview. Avoid dull or stale phrases such as "responsible for" and "duties include."

  5. Be Honest
    Studies indicate that job seekers often lie about their work experiences on their resumes. Lying could end up making you look foolish and ultimately losing you the job. Honesty is always the best policy.
Your Education is just as important as your Employment History. Make sure you list all degrees, certifications and anything else that proves your relevant knowledge.

  1. Placement
    Depending on what youre trying to emphasize, people with less than 5 years should put education before experience and people with more than 5 years, vice versa.

  2. The GPA
    If you are a student or recent graduate, list your GPA if it is 3.0 or higher. Consider including a lower GPA if you are in a very challenging program. Add your major GPA if its higher than your overall GPA. If your school doesnt use the standard 4.0 scale, avoid confusion by listing the scale (e.g. GPA: 4.1/4.5). As your career progresses, college GPA becomes less important and can be removed.

  3. Honors
    Include academic honors to show you excelled in your program. For example:
    Ace College -- Springfield, IllinoisBA in Accounting (cum laude), June 2000- Delta Gamma Delta Honor Society, Deans List, GPA: 3.9

  4. New Grads
    Students and new grads with little related work experience may use the education section as the centerpiece of their resumes, showcasing academic achievements, extracurricular activities, special projects and related courses.

    For example:
    ABC College -- Brooklyn, New York
    BA in Communications, concentration in advertising, anticipated graduation December 2001
    Senior Project: Currently completing mock advertising campaign for Coca-Cola (billboard/print/TV/radio ads, direct-mail campaign and press releases).
    Related Coursework: Advertising, Advertising Writing, Direct Mail and Telemarketing, Media Plans in Advertising, Marketing and Advertising, Public Relations, Broadcasting

  5. Degree Incomplete
    If you abandoned an educational program, list the number of credits completed or the type of study undertaken.

    For example:
  6. College of Staten Island -- Staten Island, New York
    Completed 90 credits toward a BA in political science, 1981 to 1984

  7. Experienced Job Seekers
    If you are focusing more on experience than education, list the basic facts regarding your degree, including institution name, location, degree, major and date.

    For example:
    New Jersey College -- Newark, New Jersey
    BS in Economics, Minor in Psychology, June 1983

  8. High School Information
    Include your high school or GED information if you dont have any college credits. If you have college credits, remove references to high school.

  9. Lack of Educational Credentials
    If youre concerned that your education wont measure up to HR requirements, dont despair. In the absence of a degree you can include participating in ongoing training and list your related courses, seminars, conferences and training in the Education section (create a list called "Professional Development"). Your training might be so impressive that a lack of a formal degree is overlooked.
Your skills can be the extra edge that lands you the job over your competition. Tailor them to the job youre applying for. The best way to get started is to review several postings for your target job. Look at the ideal requirements in the ads and write a list of frequently repeated skills. Then create a list of your matching skills that you can incorporate in your resume.

Three Types of Skills
  • Job-Related: Skills relevant to a specific job.
  • Transferable: Skills learned in one field/job that are applicable to different fields/jobs.
  • Adaptive: Skills that are subjective and intangible (i.e. personality traits that determine your work style).

Adding Your Skills
When listing your skills, indicate your level of expertise and years of experience. Be honest though, because once you get the interview or job you may need to prove your claims.

Heres a guideline for rating your skill level:
  • Beginner: A novice understanding of the skill. You have exposure to the skill and understand its basic concepts but lack experience.

  • Intermediate: Between a beginner and an expert. You have experience with and can carry out the skill but dont understand its advanced concepts.

  • Expert: A highly developed skill level. You have solid experience and training with the skill and understand advanced concepts. You demonstrate proficiency and superior skill level.

How Many Skills to List
Employers quickly scan resumes, so long lists are not likely to get read. Instead, select 10 to 15 of your strongest, most desirable skills. A short, targeted skills list will be more effective than one thats long and overwhelming.

Additional Information
You can take your resume to the next level by adding additional information that supports and reinforces your qualifications.

Here are some examples:
  • Honors & Awards
  • Testimonials
  • Publications
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Volunteerism
  • Affiliations
  • Hobbies