Friday, September 18, 2009

Resume Writing Tips That Pay (Part 1)

Many people are their own worst enemy when it comes to writing a good resume. It does not matter if they have a wonderful background, impeccable credentials or fabulous experience if their resume contains misused words, the wrong word tense or is not easily readable. Following is a series of resume writing tips from things I have seen on some people’s resumes that drive me “crazy:”

TIP: Do not be too focused on tasks and duties performed at work. Give yourself credit for accomplishment by including some achievements. Include such things as:
· Examples of how you performed the job better than others
· Some of the problems or challenges you faced and ways that you overcame them
· Results, results, and results
· Ways that the organization benefited from your performance
· Reference to awards, special recognition or promotions you received

TIP: An objective statement that is too wordy or non-specific. Many candidates lose their readers at the opening line. Statements like "A challenging position that enables me to contribute to organizational goals while offering an opportunity for growth and advancement" are cliché’, too generalized, and waste space. If you are on a career track, replace the objective with a statement stating what you do or something of your expertise.

Tip: A resume should be concise and written in a telegraphic style without using "I" or "me." Example: "Developed new products that added $5 million in sales and increased the company's gross margin by 15 percent." This style gets to the point quickly and communicates clearly.

Tip: Is it “percent” or “percentage?” Use the word "percent" with numbers, and use "percentage" without using a number. Examples: “Over 20 percent of our gross profit came from previous sales.” “A large percentage of Native Americans live in Alaska.”

Tip: Be careful in choosing the right word. Example: Some people write the word "balance" when they mean "remainder." "Balance" means "a degree of equality," e.g., “wanting to balance the checkbook.” "Remainder," or "what is leftover," is used in all other situations, e.g., “put the remainder of my food in the dog's bowl.”

Tip: The expression "a couple of" is usually plural in meaning. Example: “A couple of customers have reported a shortage in their orders.” However, when using the phrases "a couple of days" and "a couple of dollars," the verb used should be singular. When the phrase "a couple of" is used in conjunction with a period of time, amount of money, or quantity that represents a total amount, treat the expression as singular. Example: "All I need is a couple of days to complete this report."

Do not let such easily correctable items stand between you and your next career assignment. If word tense, grammar or the turn of a phrase is not your forte’, consider hiring a professional resume writer. Such people write resumes for a living and the good ones guarantee their work. Landing the job makes such a move well worth it.

No comments: