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How to write an effective resume

|Mar 18|magazine8 min read

Having a strong resume is extremely important. There is not such thing as a second first impression, and often your resume is all you have to make an initial impact. Ford Myers, career coach, speaker and author of Get The Job You Want, Even When No One's Hiring, shares his top five tips for spring cleaning your resume. 

TOP TIPS FOR WRITING A SUCCESSFUL AND EFFECTIVE RESUME

BE BRIEF

Less is always more. Of the five main sections of a resume - Personal Information, Career Summary, Professional Experience, Education and Affiliations or Professional Development - the Career Summary is where brevity counts most.

"The Summary is a brief statement of who you are, where you're 'coming from,' and what skills and expertise you have to contribute to an organization. All you'll need to grab the reader's attention are five or six lines of text highlighting the benefits and contributions you offer as a professional," states Myers.

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BE SPECIFIC

Resumes that get noticed focus on specific results. Quantify everything you can, including retention rates, sales numbers, profit margins, increases and decreases, performance quotas, time frames, numbers of people or projects, and so on. Whenever possible, use percentages, dollars and hard numbers.

"Although individuals should be as specific as possible throughout the entire resume, this quantification tip should be exercised most in the 'Professional Experience' section. Here is where your past jobs, roles, responsibilities, and accomplishments are listed. It's also where most employers and recruiters focus 90 percent of their attention. The information you present here, and how you present it, can decide the fate of your candidacy within about 10 seconds of scanning time," explains Myers.

BE ACTIVE

Myers urges resume writers to use strong action verbs at the beginning of every sentence and phrase. Words such as create, launch, initiate, devise and conduct have a lot more impact than a vague phrase such as responsible for.

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BE SELECTIVE

Focus on information that is truly relevant to your career path and edit out the rest. "There is no need to focus on your after-school job or high school achievements if they are not relevant to the career you are looking for or if they are in your distant past," says Myers.

BE HONEST

Myers warns job seekers to never lie on a resume, "If you lie, you will always lose in the long run. Your resume is a living document that will be edited and updated through the course of your job search and your entire career," adds Myers. "Taking a good look at it this spring, as well as the start of every season, will help you put your best foot forward."