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Create a Winning Resume

Candidate Advice

I have had a lot of calls this month from candidates who are looking to make a move to a new company. People are concerned with layoffs, reorganizations, mergers, and the frustration with project delays. I have spoken to candidates who have been with companies for 10-20 years that say it is just the time to move on but what they are worried about is writing a resume. Even with all the technology out there,  people still have problems with putting together a good resume.  Here are some pointers:

  1. Start with your contact information
  2. Include your full name, phone number, email address and LinkedIn profile. When putting in your address – you do not need to put in a specific address, but the city and state should be included. Even if you work remotely, companies want to know if you are in their time zone or if you are close enough to come into the office for training.
  3. Customize each resume for each job application
  4. Tailor your resume for each job by highlighting the most relevant skills and experience.
  5. Use keywords from their job description to ensure your resume passes through applicant tracking systems (ATS) and catches the attention of the hiring managers.
  6. Highlight your work experience
  7. List your jobs in reverse chronological order meaning most recent at the top.

Include the company name, job title, dates of employment and bullet points detailing your achievements and responsibilities.

  • Use action verbs and qualify your accomplishments using hard numbers or percentages. (increased sales by 23%)
  • Focus on showcasing your impact and contributions to each role.

This is where you tell what you are proud of that you accomplished.  Tell them why a hiring manager should talk to you versus your co-worker, and what makes you stand out above the crowd.

  • Make sure you put down specific customers, industry, or projects you worked with.  (“Worked with Duke Energy to build a $100M project” sounds much better than “I worked in the utility market.” )   
  • Awards – If you won an award like the President’s award in 2012- explain what that means. ( “ I was in the top in sales out of 245 people in the USA.” ) 
  • Use clear and concise language
  • Keep your resume concise and focused,  aiming for no more that 1-2 pages.
  • Use bullet points to make your resume easy to scan and review quickly.
  • Be clear and professional in the language and avoid unnecessary jargon or using technical acronyms.
  • Proofread and Edit
  • Review your resume carefully for spelling, grammar, and formatting errors.
  • Ask a friend, mentor, or professional colleague to review your resume for feedback. (I had a friend read over this and I had 4 grammar issues and I see Manager and Manger misspelled all the time)

According to industry research the average recruiter spends 6-8 seconds looking at your resume before they decide whether you are a fit for their job opportunities. Make sure your accomplishments are at the top of your resume, making yourself stand out. Good hunting!