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"What Will Get My Resume Read?"

What will get your resume read?  What are some key things that it may be missing, or "missing the boat" on that are contributing to a lack of interest by hiring managers and few call backs from recruiters?

Here are some questions from active job seekers that may also be questions that are on your mind.  What they boil down to is this:  What will get your resume read?   Translated, this question really boils down to this one:  What makes a resume effective?
A resume should tell the reader
if the job seeker is a possible fit
without too much work on the reader’s part.

A resume is effective if it is relevant to the job applied for.  To do this, a resume needs to focus on the applied-for job’s requirements, and show instances of the job seeker utilizing the required skills and knowledge with results, i.e., AccomplishmentStatements.  If it gains enough attention from the recruiter or hiring manager to get them to want to learn more about you, and results in an e-mail or call, it’s done its job.

However, saying that and doing that are 2 entirely different things.  Here are some of the job seekers’ questions that drill down to revealing HOW to produce a resume that gets read.

Question: “How do I make my resume ‘pop’?”
This was the most FAQ at a recent Resume Review, so if you’ve been wondering the same thing, you have lots of company.  What job seekers were really asking was how to make their resumes stand out, get noticed, get read, and get call backs. 

The Answer:  Show results.
Showing the results of your efforts in the jobs you’ve held is a major differentiation between resumes that read like job descriptions and those that “pop.”  Showing outcomes of duties you performed and tasks you did in your previous [and current if you are employed] positions distinguishes your resume from the masses. 

Showing outcomes to your tasks becomes an attention grabber.  Showing outcomes of your efforts is a way to “put your money where your mouth is.”  In interviews, employers hear continuously from candidates who say that they have the skills, knowledge, abilities, aptitudes and attitudes that the employer is looking for.  Showing outcomes or results offers substantiation to your claims of competency.  It offers proof that (1) you are what you say you are, and (2)  that you can do what you claim because you have done it before, and . . . .”Here are my results.”

So, the answer is to make your resume more than a “laundry list” of duties you performed.  Offering proof via showing the results of those duties, called Accomplishment Statements, is a way to not only get your resume to “pop” but get it read.

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Question:  “I’ve spoken with 10 different people and gotten 10 different answers about what my resume should look like.  Why is that?”

The Answer:  There’s no one way to write a resume.
Writing an effective, attention-getting resume is an art, not a science.  Just as there is no one way to perform any art, there is no singular way to write a resume. 

However, . . .  And it’s a BIG “however,. . . there are “tried and true” techniques, or guidelines, for producing a resume, that tell the story of your career in a succinct, orderly, and persuasive-enough way to get recruiters to read it, pass it along to hiring managers, and gain interviews.  These techniques include:
- Using an easy-to-read format that includes the following standard components:  career summary, professional experience, education & training, and professional associations
- A Chronological approach that makes it easy for the recruiter to gauge if you meet the job requirements
- Career or Professional Summary that makes the reader want to know more.  If this doesn’t grab their attention, they won’t read on further down the page
- Using Accomplishment Statements that show not only what you did but what you achieved.  This also “subtly” shows cause and effect thinking - a desirable attribute.
- Giving the reader - your customer - what they want.  An example:  Education generally goes on the 2nd page of an any experienced job seeker’s resume.  However, if an employer wants to see Education up front, put it up front on the front page. . . . . Remember, your  resume is nothing more than “your sales brochure,” designed to sell the prospect on the idea that you could be the one!  If you show enough of what they are looking for, they may be sufficiently interested to decide they want to learn more about you in an interview.

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Question:  “Should my Career Summary be a paragraph or a list of bullet points?  What goes into it?”

The Answer: Either a paragraph or a bulleted list works - your choice.  The Career Summary is your “L”vator speech.

The Career Summary is that paragraph or bulletized list that appears on the top half of the front page of your resume - right underneath your header.  It provides the reader with an Overview of you as a candidate.  It should tell the reader:
- What you do, i.e. your title: “I am a _____________.”
- The area of your expertise: Your track record
- Skills and strengths - And what you achieve because of them
- Unique attributes (degrees, certifications, experience, languages) relevant to the job you are pursuing

The key to producing a Career or Professional Summary that employers, recruiters, and network contacts will want to read is to make it:  (1) Relevant to the type of job you are seeking, as well as (2) Relevant to the employer’s interests and requirements

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Question:  “How do I show 20 (25, 30, 40 . . .) years of experience on 2 pages?”

The Answer:  You don’t.
I’m beginning to sound like a broken record here, I know, but . . . what you show is experience that is relevant to the type of job you are seeking, and the type of industry & employer you have targeted. 
(1) Select from your own comprehensive “laundry list” of duties those that are relevant to each position you apply for. 
(2) Be sure you have shown results for each of these duties, i.e., Accomplishment Statements.
(3) Tweak your Career Summary to overview those selected Accomplishment Statements.

A Bonus Question: What do you do with those early jobs that relate to the position you are applying for but go back more than 10 or 15 years? 
The Answer:  Include a category with these early and relevant jobs called “Other Relevant Experience.”  List jobs with title, and relevant Accomplishment Statements.  Leave off dates.

Remember, when you are looking for a job, you are in sales  – selling the most important product or service you will ever sell . . . .YOU!  You are selling your abilities as potential solutions to employers’ problems and needs.  By identifying what makes you desirable as a potential candidate, and showing this on your resume, you “up the odds” that your resume will be read and you’ll get a call back inviting you to tell the hiring prospect more about how you might be just who they are looking for.

Best of luck with your search,


 ____________________________________________________________________________                 AJC - for Your Career Path
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Nancy Gober
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