Candidate Resources

Crafting a winning resume

The traditional resume has not gone away, these days it is imperative that you have one that is polished, up to date and on-point for the position you seek.

What has gone away is the short, tired templated versions used for many years. Today's resume must be eye-catching, clean but also easily interpreted by online software. If you aren't sure if yours is adequate, it probably isn't. Take a few minutes and review our suggestions.

Be targeted and personalized
Now more than ever it is critical that you leverage your social and professional network. In your cover letter, be sure to mention any contacts you have within the organization or the names of influential people or consultants who have referred you. If your resume is too generic for the position use the cover letter to tie your skills to the specific job. Never use a generic cover letter. If you are considering multiple positions create multiple resumes that are appropriate for each.
Clearly demonstrate your value
If you are responding to a specific job advertisement, review the description of the role, responsibilities, and qualifications, and carefully craft your cover letter and your resume to highlight the salient points in your experience and skill set that speak to the needs of the employer. Despite popular opinion, the resume is 'Not Actually About You' - it is about what you can offer the employer.
Quantify your experience wherever possible
Employers need to understand what you've done and accomplished: Be Specific: All your accomplishments must be: quantitative or numerical in description. For example: 1. Increased account sales 12% annually. 2. Reduced turnover by 3% while increasing quality 3. Negotiated largest national accounts deal in company history, resulting in an increase of 4.1 million dollars in new revenue 4
Be honest but don't sell yourself short
This is by far the biggest mistake of all resumes, technical and otherwise. Your experiences are worthy for review by hiring managers. Treat your resume as an advertisement for you. Be sure to thoroughly "sell" yourself by highlighting all of your strengths. Do not oversell or keep rehashing past glory. Do point out every relevant strength with examples or back-up when possible. A potential employer may not know what a "Diamond Award Winner" is but could certainly understand that you were selected over 400 other employees as the number one account manager for new business accounts.
Be Concise
As a rule of thumb, resumes reflecting five years or less experience should fit on one page. More extensive experience can justify usage of a second page. Consider two pages (about 15 years or more experience) an absolute limit. Avoid lengthy job descriptions. Remember, potential employers are more concerned with your accomplishments and achievements than lengthy paragraphs about what you did.
Omit Needless Items
Leave all these things off your resume: social security number, marital status, health, citizenship, age, scholarships, irrelevant awards, irrelevant associations and memberships, irrelevant publications, irrelevant recreational activities, a second mailing address ("permanent address" is confusing and never used), travel history, previous pay rates, previous supervisor names, reasons for leaving previous jobs, and components of your name which you really never use (i.e. middle names).
Have it reviewed
Pick someone who is attentive to details, can effectively critique your writing, and will give an honest and objective opinion to look it over. Seriously consider their advice. Get a third and fourth opinion if you can. Then see if it matches up well for the jobs you are targeting. Finally check it against your online LinkedIn profile - - employers will verify and always look for discrepancies.
Proofread for errors
Be sure to catch all spelling errors, grammatical weaknesses, unusual punctuation, and inconsistent capitalization. Proofread it numerous times over at least two days to allow a fresh eye to catch any hidden mistakes.
Send in an accepted format
Most resumes are emailed these days, keep the design professional, clean and reflective of your background. Save in a PC friendly, MS Word (.doc) or Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. If you can't do it ask a friend to convert it and send it back to you. These are currently the only 2 standards in the industry.

Despite popular opinion, the resume is 'Not Actually About You'  
it is about what you can offer the employer.

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