Tips from the New Resume Writing Book I’m In!

Resume from Modernize Your Resume Resume bookBuild a more compelling resume by using the tips below from Modernize Your Resume, a new book of advice illustrated with resumes from noted resume writers including myself.

This image of the page featuring my resume for “Steven Sanchez” isn’t large enough for you to read. That’s okay, because the lessons it demonstrates are clear even from a distance.

One lesson this resume teaches is that even a professional publishing company can make a mistake. If you look very closely at three columns near the top, you may notice that the indenting is uneven.

You can believe this sent me running to my file to see if I had made that mistake in the original. Nope, this error was introduced in the editing of the book. The moral of the story is: proofread, proofread, proofread!

Now here are some words of wisdom from the book’s authors, Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark.

Start with the Wow!

Figure out what’s most impressive about your experience and skills – your key selling points – and make sure they appear prominently near the top.

This resume (used by the kind permission of my client, whose real name isn’t Steven Sanchez), starts with a concise headline, subhead and summary that immediately communicate his key strengths and skills. I wrapped up the summary with an rave recommendation from his LinkedIn profile. Wow!

Improve Readability and Skimmability

Avoid large blocks of text, which are daunting to the eye. Here there is no paragraph longer than four lines. Each bullet item is surrounded by white space.

Here’s how to do this in Microsoft Word:

  1. Select Paragraph in the Format menu.
  2. Under Spacing fill in “5 pt” or “6 pt” in the After field.
  3. You can quickly copy that format to other bullets by using the Format Painter function.

Integrate Your Critical Keywords

This resume is loaded with the important keywords from his target job postings – keywords like buyer, strategy, negotiation, team leadership and management. I front-loaded a lot of those in the “competencies block” (the section with the checkmark bullets) but didn’t stop there, making sure they appeared throughout.

These three tips above are especially significant, but the book describes many other ways to ensure your resume looks contemporary, savvy and powerful. You can buy it from Emerald Career Publishing.

Get Help from a Certified Resume Writer

Even the best resume books can’t talk to you, look at your experience, and strategize for your unique situation. Contact me for resume coaching or writing, if you want to ensure your resume helps you get a great job, sooner!

Is Your Resume Too “Versatile”?

Often I hear from job seekers who need to get a job ASAP, have a wide range of skills, and thus are willing to work in various areas. “I could do either customer service, bookkeeping or event coordination,” they might say. “I want a resume that doesn’t narrow my options.”

Resume with Question MarkUnfortunately, an unfocused resume will do just that – narrow their options – by turning off prospective employers.

If an employer is hiring a Customer Service Rep in the Educational Software industry, their idea of the perfect candidate is someone who definitely wants to do customer service, has accomplishments  in this, and has a connection to educational software as well – someone whose resume fits that job opening with an audible “click!” Details about event coordination or bookkeeping will make them feel like the candidate is wasting their time.

You need to come across as excited about, and committed to, this particular job – not just taking “whatever” to get by for a while.

If you need more information about occupations or about your own career aptitudes, there are resources online that can help, such as America’s Career Infonet and O*Net.

If you still want to pursue two or three occupational options, prepare a winning resume for each. But be careful: Some job seekers have had both versions turn up on the same hiring manager’s desk – making a very inconsistent first impression!

Besides, if you have more than one or two target jobs, how much energy and commitment can you put into proactively pursuing each one? You may be tempted to rely too much on answering job postings as opposed to networking and informational interviews. And which goal will you emphasize in your profile on LinkedIn?

Focusing your goals isn’t easy, but it’s an important part of a job search. The research you put into it will pay off.