The Blog

Nine Resume Tips for Impressing Potential Employers

What is the first thing a hiring manager sees when looking for a new candidate? A resume. And what is the first thing that can get a candidate thrown out of the pool of potential job seekers? A resume! These 9 tips can help get your resume to the “Yes” pile every time.

Think of Your Resume as a Marketing Tool

View yourself as the product being marketed, with skills and qualities that must be clearly conveyed. The potential employer needs to have a clear mental picture of your abilities and experience.

Make Your Objective Crisp and Snappy

Make it obvious to the employer what you are offering with a short, concise objective that uses a job title or area and 2-3 skills that you want to highlight. If you have held many job titles, emphasize the ones that are relevant to the job you are applying for. For example: “OBJECTIVE: Senior Technical Writing position that would utilize my strong end-user and programmer-level documentation and toolsmith skills.”

Include a Skill Summary

Outline your skills and make sure they match your objective and the position you are going after.  It could be a paragraph of information or a bulleted list with the skills clearly organized to highlight your abilities from soup to nuts:

“Innovative Senior Technical Writer with strong project leadership skills who brings simplicity, order, and quality to large or small documentation projects. Hands-on experience leading all phases of documentation development efforts, including requirements definition, level-of-effort estimates, and design. Communicates complex concepts to technical and non-technical audiences through award-winning documentation. Handles politically difficult projects with balance and a sense of humor.”

Boast About Your Technical Knowledge

Include all of your software application expertise, training and certifications. If your education is related to the objective and experience, add it below this section; if not, it should be at the very bottom of the resume.  Mention additional training and certifications to display continuous learning.

Be Clear and Organized with the Experience Section

When describing your experience, include the name of the company, location and dates on the same line; no text should be bold. Under that, add your title in bold. Use bullets, avoid sentences when describing your work, and be sure to include appropriate action verbs like initiated, developed, maintained, managed, organized, led, etc.  The top of the list should contain relevant information that you want to utilize in your next position; downplay the things you want to move away from.

Entice with Your Accomplishments

It is important to include results. How did you save the company money, streamline processes or improve operations? Quantitative information such as dollar amounts and percentages are always helpful and can show a potential employer what you can do for them. Employers prefer the candidate who “increased revenue 150% in two years” to the one who simply “helped the company grow.”

Tweak Your Resume for Each Job

One resume will not be suitable for all jobs.  Cover letters are often disregarded, so your resume needs to stand out on its own.  Take the time to adjust your resume for every job, as each position has different requirements and may call for a new objective, a more detailed list of accomplishments, or more examples of duties that will be relevant to that position. Tailoring your resume allows you to emphasize the skills, talents and attributes that make you most qualified for the job.

Keep Your Resume Updated

Be ready for a call from a recruiter about that possible next career step.  Make regular updates and changes to your resume to reflect what is taking place in your professional life. Keeping your resume current helps you to reflect on your career and the important skills that you want to develop. In addition, it helps you articulate your strengths and why your experience is relevant.

Create a Good Cover Letter

Your resume needs a solid cover letter to go along with it, even if it gets disregarded in some cases. The cover letter should highlight the skills and experience that are relevant to each job. Try a bulleted list of points to help make your “marketing” more effective and easier to read.

Devote time to your resume.

The more you fine tune, hone, and make it absolutely specific to the jobs you are applying for, the greater your chances of landing an interview, and ultimately, a new job.