Tuesday, October 13, 2009

12 Tips: How to Write a Resume for Success

A good resume is one of the most important things you can have to advance your job search and lead to career success. Here's how to write that knock-out resume you need, especially in a recession where competition is so intense. Continue reading...

8 comments:

Ronnie Ann said...

Terrific post. I can't emphasize this part enough "After everything is written, check to see that the material is prioritized to give the highest impact." I've worked with folks who finally get interviews only after making sure the "lead" is no longer buried.

Thanks for sharing this with all of us. Please believe her! These things really matter. Your resume can look good and still be a dud.

Ronnie Ann said...

Oh...just one slightly different perspective about objective. I see why you suggest including an objective (and wholeheartedly concur with the demise of "seeking challenging position utilizing valuable skills"), but I consult to a large organization with many job postings and resumes are frequently sent to departments using an internal database keyword search. When the new department sees the objective of a specific other job (the original job submitted for), it can in fact be a turnoff even if the person might want this other job. Sometimes they aren't even given the chance to apply because of the too-specific objective. Unfair? Sure. But just wanted to share a different reality.

Because of this, I usually suggest using the cover letter to fulfill that purpose and letting the resume go objective free, especially if the person wants to cast a wider net. But this may be a situation by situation call. I know there are many opinions about this. Wonder what others think?

Susan Ireland said...

Ronnie Ann, thanks for that insider's perspective. Here are two ideas for giving your resume "focus" without having a job objective statement.

1. Put a professional title at the beginning of your resume just under your heading. Make that title general enough to include the all types of jobs you might qualify for and would like to hold. For example, "Adminstrative Support" or "IT Professional."

2. Start the first bullet point statement of your Summary section with a professional title that indicates the area of work you seek. For example, "Project Manager with 14 years experience in financial management." In this case, you don't need a job objective statement or a professional title.

Ronnie Ann, how would it fly if a job seeker sent a resume to your organization, using one of these two suggestions?

Ronnie Ann said...

I think either would work fine Susan. I like that this allows a person to be open to consideration for a range of jobs, but still minimizes the chance of getting called for jobs that have nothing to do with what they're looking for. Of course, the cover letter would do the rest of the job, narrowing the focus (and highlighted skills) even more to the position being applied for.

Nice solution!

Susan Ireland said...

Thank you, Ronnie Ann. Next time I give advice on job objectives, I'll include this option.

Job Loungers, Ronnie Ann has her own great blog at workcoachcafe.com. For easy access: just click the WorkCoachCafe link in my nav bar.

CorDell Larkin said...

Susan, I have to disagree with the suggestion of including an "objective" statement at the top of your resume.

I'm a talent management expert with over a decade of experience helping companies recruit, assess and develop leaders. I have conducted over 150 executive searches and first and foremost I care about what you have done (the results you have produced). Only after I see that you have produced results that are inline with what my customer wants to produce do I care about what you want to do.

Here is what I recommend people do with the top 1/2 of the first page of their resume.

First, put the title of the position you want or the job family you are interested in. For most people this is easily accomplished by changing the words "Professional Summary/Executive Summary/Career Objective" to something like "Vice President / Director of Sales" or "Chief Information / Technology Officer".

Second, prove to me that you are qualified for this job by telling me about your top 3-4 accomplishments. The best way to do this is to show the quantifiable results (preferably results that are above average) that you have produced. For instance, if your title was Vice President / Director of Sales your following paragraph could read something like "Software sales expert with a track record for significantly increasing sales and profits. Accomplishments include increasing sales 25% or more for three consecutive years for a $500 million enterprise software company, increasing number of multi-million dollar accounts 105% over two year period for a $20 million dollar content management software company, and increasing profits from major accounts an average of 20% a year for three consecutive years for a $300 million supply chain software company." This would make me want to read the rest of the resume, which is exactly what the top 1/2 of the resume should do.

For more of my resume writing advice see my Blog post at http://wp.me/pCoHk-3.

For more information about CorDell & Company’s Career Coaching Services visit http://www.cordellandcompany.com/jobseekers.html or send an email to cordell DOT larkin AT cordellandcompany DOT com.

Susan Ireland said...

Thank you, CorDell,
I like the idea of prioritizing information so the most important and relevant qualifications appear in the top half of the first page. It's similar to how we create webpages, putting the best stuff "above the fold" because that's sometimes the only part a reader will scan. If we don't grab his or her attention in those first few inches, we've lost them.

the medical sales recruiter said...

Susan:
I can only speak to my candidate/client needs. Our candidates are usually sales, sales management, marketing or technical support. I think for anyone of these an objective is absolutely necessary. For example: If I receive the resume of a sales candidate with tons of other than medical experience and they don't mention the desire to transition into medical or healthcare sales as an objective in their resume, I might assume that they just didn't pay much attention to the type of recruiter that I am....or that they didn't take the time to at least customize that part of their resume for this industry. Either scenario is a negative for the job seeker.
Maybe when candidates have a less narrowed search the objective could be a negative. But for me and mine, we want an objective.

PS - don't be too specific though. What do I mean?
Just put:
Seeking sales opportunity within medical or health care arena.

Don't say - Seeking sales opportunity within medical device organization. That is too specific.