Your resume, also called your Curriculum Vitae, is a master summary of what you’ve accomplished in life and should be crafted to stand out. This doesn’t mean to print it on legal paper so it pokes out of the letter sized stack of resumes (although it might work), but rather to write a carefully crafted document that showcases your strengths and talents, showing exactly what hiring managers and recruiters want to see, and perhaps a little more. This means shaping and polishing your keywords, applying the right verbs, presenting statistics, and providing perhaps a bit of humor, something for them to remember your resume by. Your resume should also be created in the form of an oral resume, known as an Elevator Speech, ready at any moment to share with others the sum of who you are.
See two good samples of real resumes:
Standing out of the crowd is your best chance in today’s world. Hiring Managers and Recruiters now have access to Monster Jobs, Career Builder, and other resume sites. When they receive resumes, they are literally flooded. Sometimes they don’t even read through them but rather search with keywords, then refine some more, effectively knocking 50%-60% of the applicants right back where they came from. To get the job you want, make sure you do the job right, then you can use some guerilla tactics to get it in front of the right people. Make sure to put the time in to do it right, you don’t want the recruiter remembering you for the wrong reason.
The Order of Your Resume
The top is simple, name, contact information, and maybe a brief title of what you consider yourself – i.e. Marketing Professional. This shows them right up front you consider yourself a professional. When writing your resume, avoid organizing your work experience, achievements, or school experience in creative ways, i.e. previous titles, alphabetical order, etc. Most employers will look for gaps in your employment history, and thus question you about it. Creatively organizing your experiences will make it hard for them to find and it might look like you’re hiding something. Keep it traditional with the most recent on top and the rest following in chronological order. If there is a gap, this is where you may have to be creative. The most common categorical flow of a resume is the following: Name, Experience, Education, Extra Curricular.
Writing Your Job Responsibilities
This is your area to shine. Your title might have only been "Clerk" but you probably had responsibilities that were vital to your company. Also, don’t fall into the trap of listing every responsibility you had, but rather list those that were most meaningful to your next position. This includes an explanation, using the cause and effect rule to highlight accomplishments and showcase your results. For instance, cause: "Managed Print Creative" and effect: "Directed creative for entire print team of 12 designers, while increasing productivity and reducing staff by 10%". For more, see the resume samples.
Use discretion when quantifying accomplishments using numbers. The above example had only 12 designers, which is a relatively small number if applying to huge creative firm. If your statement read "Directed creative for 12 designers" it might seem small to your potential employer. Make it relative, if a small number should be impressive, put it in context. I.e., "Directed entire team of 12 designers".
Resume Words – Buzzwords and Keywords
Here is the important part of a good resume; Words. Words can be powerful, but also powerless. Make sure your resume is the dominant resume in the stack by choosing your words carefully. Use adjectives (descriptive words), to illustrate your strengths and abilities. Buzzwords and Keywords are often action verbs related to your industry that describe your achievements: Increased, Improved, Published etc. Use them. Remember, those that do the hiring, might be searching using keywords, make sure you’re left in the group he or she reads through. Other powerful words can also be nouns: Harvard Law, Multinational Marketing, or Washington DC. These are strong words that make
To demonstrate, consider the following keywords (cause) and their possible application (effect) for what might apply to management and consulting positions:
Business Development: Initiated and installed marketing and business development programs throughout Canada, Latin America and the U.S.
Cost Reduction: Designed and developed innovative process improvements that reduced costs by over $2,000,000 in first quarter.
Crisis Communications: Successfully directed high-profile crisis communication campaign due to management fall-out.
This is what employers want to see. This is a scary situation for them as this could be a costly mistake. They want to know what they’re going to get for the money they are paying for this position. Let them know! Turn everything into an achievement and show them – this is what I can do for you!
Break the Rules to Make Your Resume Stand Out
Keep it short: There is a written and unwritten rule, keep it to a single page. But because it can be hard to stand out in the stack, break the rule here. Some people will see this as not reading directions, but a staple in a 2-3 page resume will grab notice, and if you’ve got compelling information in there, they’re likely to forgive you.
Send them a PDF: It is very rare that employers receive a PDF that 90% will actually call you back, to inform you they need you to send them a different format. At this point you’ve made contact. You’re ahead of everyone else. Use this chance to find out how many candidates you’re up against, who you’re going to interview with, etc. Ask questions and you’ll be more prepared.
Develop a website to showcase yourself. Employers love many things, and creativity is one of them. It shows them you can think on your feet, contribute to the company, and you want the job! Don’t be afraid, it might take a bit more time but you’re the one getting the job!
Resume Examples that Stand Out
Here are some resume examples of absolutely stellar resumes that are good at commanding attention and getting jobs. These example resumes should show you good formatting options and styles, as well as manners of expression. Reference these when beginning to write your own.