Monday, November 8, 2010

Author a Best Selling Resume

The interviewer sits down at the end of a busy day to review a stack of resumes. Other priorities are set aside as she begins to hone-in on the task at hand. Given the pace of work and busy schedules, which resumes are likely to arrest her attention? Successful resumes are written using a good mix of descriptive, action-oriented words to capture and hold interest. Let us look at how it is done.

Think of a good article or novel you recently read. What did the author do to make it interesting, add color, and paint a word picture? A resume is not a novel, but you can take some hints from the world of literature. What if an organization currently employed three people doing the same job: one may be brilliant, one so-so, and the other totally incompetent. If each of them listed their job responsibilities on their resumes, how does the interviewer tell the difference between them?

You can bring verve and color to a resume by focusing attention on your ability to take initiative, be creative, lead a team, or solve problems. Which of these reads better: "Supported customers selling our products" -or- "Coached and advised client staff concerning the best hardware and software solutions"? One of the statements has a different connotation and is more authoritative. It is considered advisable to use action verbs to begin each line of achievement/responsibility. Words like "administered," "designed," "negotiated," go far in breathing life into a dull resume. But remember, too much of a good thing is still too much. Once again, refer to the novel, and see how the author uses enough descriptive words to add life, but not so many that they get lost in a sea of adjectives.

Call attention to needs of the employer. Force yourself to limit use of the word "I" or, even worse, referring to yourself in the "third person" (e.g., "'the candidate' led the organization in sales three successive years"). Your name is atop the resume and the employer knows to whom accomplishments refer. The resume should be all about the employer and how your skills and accomplishments can help them.

Often, if a resume is descriptive it may not be persuasive enough about personal qualifications. Breathe life into your resume by blending numbers and metrics appropriately to quantify a word picture. Do not be too free-floating and have the resume read like a set of statements about abilities that are not linked to verifiable sources of confirmation.

Therefore, help the busy job interviewer to select you for the job by writing an interesting resume. It is like authoring a good story, the story of a great employer and why they need YOU to solve their problems and lead their people.

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