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Resume Writing: Your Resume Your Voice

Posted On11/24/2015

ContributorShirin Miller

How do you get the job you’ve always wanted? By grabbing the attention of prospective employers!

Before you begin writing your resume, answer these questions. What job are you interested in? What skill sets are needed to do that job well? Once you clearly define this, you can craft your resume to fit this goal.

Here are some strategies you can follow to execute an effective resume and get the job you have always wanted:

  1. Choose your style—chronological or functional:
    1. Chronological: Organize your work history by date. This approach is best to use when emphasizing experiences that directly apply to a specific position. The majority of employers prefer the chronological resume.
    2. Functional:  This works best if you have little or no past experience in an industry or you are changing careers. It presents your abilities in categories that showcase the particular skills the job requires. It will emphasize two to four applicable categories of skills/strengths such as Leadership and Teamwork and Planning and Analysis. Incorporate your categories into your objective or summary at the top of the resume. Be cautious when using this type of resume, as it can be much less preferred than the chronological format.
  2. Bullets: Using bullets in the body of a resume with concise sentences gives your resume a focal point; it helps the reader quickly find key phrases they’re looking for. Bulleting information will help the reader view your accomplishments at a glance. Don’t worry about the particulars; you’ll go into the details during the interview. Since recruiters and hiring managers sort through hundreds of resumes to fill one position, bullets offer them the opportunity to quickly see if your resume should make the first cut.
  3. Use action words: Words like accomplished, managed, developed, launched, implemented, and presented will make your resume stand out. Some companies scan resumes electronically to pick up on key action words and pull those candidates that meet certain criteria. Talent screening software is searching for one thing: action keywords that have been picked by the hiring manager and relate to the position.
  4. Add character: Use percentages, numbers, and dollar totals — they stand out in the body of a resume. Here are two examples of a job duty described with characters and without. (Notice that being specific does not mean being long-winded!)

Example 1:
Ineffective: Account manager for staffing agency.
Effective: Managed 10 strategic accounts billing an excess of $1.5M annually.

Example 2:
Ineffective: Sold Sonoma County wines to clients located in the Midwest.
Effective: Increased sales by 21% in a 7-state territory.