Tips To A Powerful Resume

A new resume can jump-start your career. Your network contacts may ask for a resume and some industries absolutely, positively demand a resume as the price of admission.

  • Your resume is a sales tool. It is not a place for therapeutic self-disclosure or true confessions. Be honest but present your accomplishments in the most positive way.
  • Leave tricky questions for the interview. ("Why did you have five jobs in ten years?" "Why are you applying for an entry position after you've been running the show?") Practice interview responses with a support group, friend or career coach.
  • If chronology works against you, opt for a sales pitch letter or use your network to get past the screener. If you can't avoid a resume, some experts will advise a functional resume. However, once you show up for an interview, expect to be asked for a chronological review.
  • Focus on accomplishments. "Supervised ten people on a project that finished three weeks before deadline and saved megabucks.“
  • Exploring multiple jobs? Tailor your resume to each position and each field. Show that you understand your target firm's problems -- and are uniquely equipped to solve them.
  • Do not let anyone write your resume for you. Accept suggestions and feedback but the final product should be in your own words.
  • Use your network to review the final product. Ask at least six people in your field for candid feedback. Learn more about networking.

Using Power Words

Interest the HR Representative in your resume by showing your depth of vocabulary with the use of power words. Your knowledge of the English language should reflect the type of position you are applying for. A strong phrased resume will stand out from other resumes.

Describe your past accomplishments by using power words that denote quality.
These include first-rate, unparalleled, unique, terrific, excellent, authentic, superior, and outstanding.

Provide a visual feature of your work. When talking about reports, presentations, and speaking qualities use words that denote interest including absorbing, entertaining, informative, enlightening, interestingfascinating, revealing, exciting, or illustrated.

Show how your technical skills have produced interest in product and services for past employment. Use power words such as articulate, appealing, fascinating, dynamic, captivating, colorful, or classic.

Use the category of community involvement to take advantage of power words such as helpful, reliable, handy, practical and powerful.

Use the power of action verbs to describe your career achievements. Successful, lifetime, absolutely, quickaccentuated, commanded, consulted, and enriched provide good active wording to enrich any achievement.

Refer to your interest in the position you are applying for with resume power words. These words will stand out as the scanning software goes through the hundreds of resumes for the one position. Persuasive words can be combined into strong phrase resume power words such as remarkably qualified, proven success, or enjoy challenge.

Avoid Resume Mistakes

  • Resume lacks focus. A sharp focus is an extremely important resume element. Given that employers screen resumes for between 2.5 and 20 seconds, a resume should show the employer at a glance what you want to do and what you're good at.
  • Resume is duties-driven instead of accomplishments-driven. Resumes should consist primarily of high-impact accomplishments statements that sell the job-seeker's qualifications as the best candidate. Never use expressions such as "Duties included“, "Responsibilities included" or "Responsible for.”
  • Resume items are listed in an order that doesn't consider the reader's interest.
  • Resume exposes the job-seeker to age discrimination by going too far back into the job-seeker's job history. The rule of thumb for someone at the senior level is to list about 15 years worth of jobs. Age discrimination, unfortunately, is a reality, and even more likely, employers may think you're too expensive if you list too much experience on your resume. Similarly, don't provide the date of your college graduation if it was more than about 10 years ago.
  • Resume buries important skills, especially computer skills, at the bottom. There are few jobs today for which computer skills are not important. Yet many job-seekers, even those in technology fields, tend to tack a "Computer Skills" section to the end of their resumes. If computer skills are relevant to your field, list them in your Summary or Profile section.
  • Resume is not bulleted. Use a bulleted style to make your resume more reader-friendly. In the above-cited study by Career Masters Institute, use of bullets was the 2nd-highest ranked preference by employers, and density of type (paragraphs rather than bullet points) was ranked highly as a factor that would inspire employers to discard a resume.
  • Resume uses a cookie-cutter design based on an overused resume template.
  • Resume lacks keywords.
  • References are listed directly on your resume. Never listed specific references directly on your resume. List them on a separate sheet, and even then, submit them only when specifically requested by an employer.
  • Resume's appearance becomes skewed when sent as an e-mail attachment and/or resume is not available in other electronic formats.