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How to Design a Stellar Resume

Some employers are so inundated with resumes that it could take weeks to review them to identify qualified candidates. In today’s competitive marketplace, your resume must stand out to grab the attention of the decision maker and create a strong impression. The best way to prepare a dynamite resume is not to change the facts, but to present them in the best format.

Example Resume: click here.

Ten Keys to a Stellar Resume

  1. Position titles and job descriptions

    Provide the titles for each position you have held and a detailed explanation of your daily responsibilities and measurable results.  Your resume should tell the reader exactly what you do.  (Certain titles such as operations manager, analyst, and consultant are especially vague.)

  2. Clarity of dates and locations

    Document your career history accurately.  Do not leave the reader wondering where you were employed or for how long you were there. If you have had overlapping jobs, separate them on paper, or eliminate one, to avoid confusion. Explain large gaps.

  3. Detail

    If needed, clearly state some of the more technical or involved aspects of your work or education.

  4. Proportion

    Give appropriate attention to jobs and/or educational credentials according to their length or significance.  For example, if you want to be considered for a position in quality control, do not write one paragraph describing your current responsibilities in the lab, followed by two paragraphs about your college internship at your hometown bank.

  5. Relevancy

    Limit your resume to that which is job-related and/or clearly demonstrates a pattern of success. Concentrate on topics that address the needs of the employer.

  6. Explicitness

    Do not assume that the resume reader knows, for example, that an “M.M.” is a Master of Music degree or that your current employer, Chep, manufactures pallets.

  7. Length

    Write only a page or two.  Strong content does not need more than two pages.

  8. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation

    Never send out a resume with errors.  Always proofread the resume.

  9. Readability and Overall appearance

    Organize your thoughts in a clear, concise format. Avoid a writing style that is fragmented or long-winded. Select a proper format, font style, and light colored stationery (preferably white). Resume readers are accustomed to a predictable format. If you deviate too much or if your resume takes too much effort to read, it may end up in the trash, even if you have the ideal background.

  10. Chronology

    The best format in which to organize your resume is in reverse chronological order. That is, your most recent position should be listed first and your previous positions should follow in sequential order.

Write several drafts and always proofread for errors. If you have a trusted colleague, seek his/her feedback. A simple critique can save you a great deal of time and money.

Building a Stronger Resume

Build a stronger case for your candidacy by highlighting the following areas of interest:

  1. Professional achievements interesting to your reader

    If you have hot fill, baking, or carbonated experience, state this in the resume. If you have won awards or reached certain goals, let the reader know. Also, state the number of people you supervise and what their titles are.

  2. Educational accomplishments

    List your degree(s) and/or relevant course work and specialized training. Mention special honors, scholarships, or awards you may have earned, such as Dean’s List, Cum Laude, or Phi Beta Kappa.

  3. Additional areas of competency

    These areas could include computer software fluency, dollar value of raw materials purchased per month, or any specialized training.

  4. Relevant professional designations

    If you’re licensed or certified in your profession or belong to a trade organization, state this in the resume. Examples: HACCP, CPIM, APICS, etc.

  5. Success indicators

    You should include anything that distinguishes you as a leader and achiever. Milestones such as Eagle Scout, class president, scholarship recipient, or valedictorian identify you as a potential winner. If you worked to put yourself through school, you can consider that a success indicator. Mention it in your resume.

  6. Related experience

    In today’s diverse work environment, it is important to list your fluency in foreign languages. If you worked as a co-op student in the industry you’re currently in, let the reader know.

  7. Military history

    If you served in the military, describe your length and branch of service, rank, special training, medals, discharge and status.

  8. Citizenship

    Mention your citizenship if your industry requires it.  Dual citizenship should also be mentioned.

The following areas should be omitted, or at least minimized:

  1. Salary history or salary requirements

    Do not mention this in the resume.

  2. References

    If you have superb or well-known professional references, you may list them. Otherwise, “References: Available upon Request” is sufficient. Avoid personal references like your minister or attorney.

  3. Personal Information

    Omit items other than the absolute essentials such as, “Married, three children, willing to relocate, excellent health.” Listing your Masonic affiliation, NRA membership, or political involvement may cause the employer to believe that these activities could interfere with your work.  Never include a photograph with any correspondence.

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