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Four Tips from Master Resume Writers

Posted on the 03 June 2011 by Candacemoody @candacemoody

I recently attended a webinar delivered by Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark, two  career coaches with impressive credentials.   They delivered a class for other career coaches on the finer points of writing resumes.  Even after more than 16 years of experience in writing resumes, I learned a lot.  Here are some ideas I think every jobseeker should incorporate into a resume.

  1. Go light on job duties in your resume. Yes – I said it – don’t spend much time listing your duties.  The way Enelow and Kursmark stated it was: “An accountant is an accountant is an accountant.”  Give the recruiters credit for understanding the duties of a job they’re hiring for.  Your job is not to tell them what you did, but to distinguish how well you did it. Your resume should become a portfolio of your unique combination of skills and accomplishments.  Spend more time on the context of your previous jobs: how intense was the workload, how complex was the work, how you achieved results and were promoted or recognized for your efforts.
  2. Use a summary instead of an objective 95 per cent of the time. An objective states what you’re looking for.  A summary of your skills, experience and expertise shows  that you’re focused on what the employer is looking for.  Having said that, Enelow and Kursmark say that the objective (what you’re looking for) drives the resume.  By that, they mean that if you’re staying in the same career, you’ll write a specific kind of resume.  If you’re transitioning to another field, your resume will be different.  You may not put your objective on the top of the page, but it will dictate form and function of the document.
  3. Load your resume with key words. I love this tip, because it relates to my marketing background.  SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is defined as is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.  Your resume needs it as much as a website.  Every online recruiting system seeks out talent through key word searches.  Your resume should have bulleted lists of the systems, tools, projects and skills you have so recruiters can find you through searching for skills. How does your resume look when you scan for key phrases?
  4. Include live links. This is a new recommendation, but one I like.  Of course, it only works in electronic versions of your resume, but adding live links to your email address, your LinkedIn profile (where they can see your recommendations), or your online portfolio of work can make it very easy for a recruiter to click through to see more or send you an email.  It’s such a new idea that it might be irresistible for a recruiter to click on the link.  (It goes without saying that the quality of the content on the other side should be top notch.)

It’s always a good idea to review your resume and touch up content every few months.  Try these tips and see if your resume gets more action.  Let me know what your results are!

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