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Writing the Right Resume

Susan Burden

by
Susan Burden, Vice President

How can candidates looking to market themselves stand out above the rest? An industry recruiter gives a few answers.

I often say to my colleagues that there are many types of people in the world and in one day as recruiters we get to speak to all of them. Reflective of this, the resumes that cross my desk are also varied. So how can candidates looking to market themselves stand out above the rest?

Resume writing is a skill that is often not acquired by some authority, yet as adults we all have a resume writing style. In most cases, it is a "fly by the seat of the pants" philosophy when it comes to creating one. You would be surprised how at times senior level candidates provide us with a resume of their qualifications that they might veto if they were in a hiring capacity. I see resumes with spelling errors, confusing progression of dates and sometimes with no information regarding what the individual really has accomplished thus far in his/her career.

With this in mind, there is still hope. With a background in Human Resources, I have always advised people to keep a current resume, even when they are not trying to market themselves. This is the best time to gather your thoughts and create a summary of accomplishments. I also suggest that you critique your own resume with one question in mind: "If you were the hiring manager, would you want to interview this candidate?"

There are many resume writing services offered these days, but for those who still want to do it on their own, here are some tips:

  • A standard chronological format is always appealing.
  • Do not worry about keeping your resume to one page. If it takes more than one page to summarize your accomplishments, then use a second. However, it is recommended that you keep it brief and to the point.
  • Remember, those extra bells and whistles never substitute for a truthful accounting of your experience and knowledge.
  • Do not assume that the recruiter or hiring manager is aware of what your current company does. Even with a big name company, it is good to add a brief description, such as "commercial collection agency". This provides the recruiter with information they need to channel your resume to the appropriate person or company.
  • The more key points and accomplishments you provide, the more the reader will want to set up an interview.
  • Most important, make sure you spell check and proof read your resume. If you are detail oriented, do not write "detial orented". A quality resume is clear, concise, and without error. This is the first step to catching the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager. After that, you can close with a great interview.

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