5 Resume Writing Tips for Right Now (and always, actually)

By: Don Oehlert
Managing Partner, eCareerCoaching.com

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We’ve all heard the “resume old saws”: no typos! No misspellings! Consistent use of commas, periods, and semi-colons! (Actually, no use of exclamation points, please).

There are many of this sort. There are also a bunch of tips on what you should do.

In the first place, if you are going for a professional position (vs just a job), then you need to keep these 5 tips in mind.

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  1. A resume screener will give you between 7 and 90 seconds to review your resume, depending on the content.

    If they don’t like what they see, then you get 4-7 seconds. If they do like what they see, you get up to 90 seconds.

    What does this mean for you? Well, you need to make sure you have something that grabs attention right up front. A huge success. An enormous savings program you implemented. A sales campaign that blew the doors off the place. Whatever – just make it big, and put it up front.

    Consider this. How many “experienced, driven, creative, dedicated ________ professionals” are there out there, going for this exact same position you are? Do you think any of them would admit to anything less in their resume?

    Probably not. Find something else to shout about, or find a different way to shout the same thing. Make it unique, so you stand out.
  2. Let’s say your resume is bland, or the text is not aligned correctly, or contains other egregious issues, especially up front.

    Do you think you’ll get beyond that first impression stage lasting 4-7 seconds? Again, probably not. Find something to shout about, and do it in a unique way that isn’t too far out of professional standards.
  3. Are the different sections of your resume clear?

    Does your “Professional Experience” section crash into your “Education” section?

    Is it clear where you worked and what your title was for each position you held? Can you show a logical progression of positions, helping the reader see why this position is the next most-logical step in your career progression?
  4. Are your unique accomplishments easy to find in your resume?

    For some resume reviewers, it can seem as though they are looking for a specific tree in the forest, but your resume doesn’t show them where the correct tree is. Are your unique accomplishments easy to find? Are they easy to understand? Do they show a vivid business premise? Are they something that would excite the hiring authority?

    Do they fall into the category of “this is what I was born to do?”
  5. Are your accomplishments relevant to this position?

    If you have a long, successful career making widgets, but this new company makes fire extinguishers, you need to show how your unique experience will help them sell more fire extinguishers. Or make better ones because of you. Or make them less expensively than they used to because of your abilities to make things less expensively overall, so you can spot operations inefficiencies? What is your unique value add? What are you success stories, and how do they relate to the current open position?

In other words, it’s on you to prove that how you do what you can do is better for this company – right now.


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