Resume Writing Tips

Resume writing tips can help you do a better job of crafting the types of resumes that get you the interview. Here are a few tips for writing the best possible resume that you can.

Craft Different Resumes for Different Positions

While it doesn’t sound like much fun, it’s impossible to escape the fact that there is no “one-size fits all” resume that will be equally effective for every position that you’re applying for. It’s a good idea to craft different resumes that focus on different positions. In some cases the difference is a difference of emphasis, in others you’ll be tweaking the job title. You’ll nearly always need to rewrite the resume objective statement.

Craft a Strong Resume Objective Statement

Make sure the resume objective statement reflects the exact position you are applying for as well as the specific strengths that you will use to benefit the company and to solve the problems indicated by the existence of the job position. No company hires anyone or spends money on anyone unless they have a specific need, so demonstrate how you will fill the need from your very first opening sentence.

Don’t Overlook Vital Experiences

Don’t make the mistake of believing that only paid, full-time work experience counts. Volunteer experience, community organization experience, work done for clubs, part-time work, self-employment work, contract work, temporary work and even odd jobs can all count as work experience, if you take the time to market these diverse experiences properly. You don’t have to be misleading about what you did, but the circumstances are not nearly as important as your ability to get the job done.

Emphasize Both Soft Skills and Hard Skills While Outlining Achievements

Typically, employers are looking for two types of skills. “Hard” skills reflect your specific training and expertise. For example, “drafting,” “computer programming,” the ability to speak French and the ability to type at 90 words per minute are all “hard” skills, and your resume should of course reflect whatever hard skills are required by the position, information you can typically find in the job posting. The ability to communicate with others, be a team player, be a leader, solve problems, demonstrate creativity, be accountable and countless other positive qualities are all “soft” skills. When you outline your achievements you should discuss the achievements, but you should weave your skills into those achievements as well: the skills are what made your successes possible. Skills are what make it possible to brand you and make you stand out in the reader’s mind.

Paint a Picture

Your achievements should help your potential employer get a good picture of who you are and what makes you special. You need to paint a picture of the kind of employee you are and what you bring to the table. You do this by using active, descriptive language. You can also use hard numbers wherever possible (you managed a team of 8, you handled a $3 billion budget, you were the #4 salesman in your sales team of 16). Focusing on the “problem, solution, result” framework for cataloging achievements is also very effective as it helps demonstrate how you approach challenges and your ability to overcome them.

Use References Wisely

Use resume references wisely. You usually really should only include them if you need to strengthen periods of self-employment or if you have no work experience at all. Otherwise your work experience will generally speak for itself. Take the time to get permission for each reference and make sure they are all formatted correctly.

Remember to Brand Yourself

If you let yourself be seen as a commodity then everything about the hiring decision will all boil down to who the employer thinks he can pay the least. If you present yourself as a memorable brand you’re much more likely to get the interview, and you’re much more likely to get hired. Price is then a matter of budget and negotiation. Brand yourself by playing to your strengths: are you an efficient team player with a no-nonsense work ethic, a creative problem solver with a flair for negotiation or a principled hard worker with rock-solid reliability? Each brand is positive, but each brand is also unique. Your resume should reflect whatever brand you choose, strengthening it and reinforcing it until the picture it creates becomes both unforgettable and irresistible.