How to Write an Impressive Resume
Good resumes begin with solid credentials and an ability to demonstrate not only competence, but proficiency and resourcefulness. The best resume writing tips are often the most overlooked or misunderstood.
Resumes are not lists or descriptions of where a candidate has worked, but what the candidate did for the employer in betterment of the employer’s business. Most resumes are written by the candidate themselves and typically undermine the candidate’s true strengths and accomplishments.
List accomplishments, not responsibilities
From a potential employer’s point of view, they are not overly concerned what your previous job entitled but how you performed.
For instance, did you save the company money? Did you bring in new business? Did you meet or surpass customer/client expectations? Did you save clients/customers money? Did you successfully retain customers/clients? Did you reduce shrink or increase sales?
List your accomplishments prominently and emphasis your ability to consistently produce results. Do not string a list of responsibilities together because responsibilities don’t show action or competence.
Title your resume professionally
As a business consultant and resume writer, I have often seen resumes saved with file names such as “Jenny’s resume” or “John’s new resume”. Reading the resume, an employer finds that “John” is a Certified Financial Planner and “Jenny” holds a Master’s Degree in Marketing. A resume should be saved with a person’s professional name and certification or degree (e.g. John S Thompson, CFP, Jennifer M Smith, MA).
A candidate’s cover letter should also be named properly and can include the term “cover letter” but should not be named generically.
Word and format your resume properly
A candidate’s resume that states generic qualifications (i.e. “manage others well”, “loyal employee with long term goals”) only serve to frustrate potential employers. How many others did the candidate manage? What goals have been accomplished? The best resumes contain bullet point lists of numbers and percentages that demonstrate and detail a candidate’s past successes.
The format should be prioritized to the candidate’s experience and education. If the candidate is a new college graduate, the resume should focus on education and exclude part-time jobs or any other jobs not relevant to their career going forward. For those candidates with years of experience, focus should be on career experience.
Avoid phrases such as “My objective is to find a productive career in the field of merchandising” or mission statements, such statements belong in a cover letter and not on a candidate’s resume.