“How do I write an effective resume and how important is it?” I remember attending a meeting in which all the attendees were Career Coaches. The topic for the day was resume writing. When the facilitator asked how important we thought the resume was for a successful job search, I said something like, “you’ve got to have one but once you have a decent one, it really doesn’t matter all that much.” He looked horrified and to say that he disagreed with me would be an understatement. Perhaps you do too. Of course, we ought to have a strong resume as it is still a working tool of a job search, but once it is good, it is good enough.

How many of you have crafted what you’ve been told is an excellent resume only to wonder why no one is reaching out to you to schedule an interview? You are perfectly qualified; in fact, an excellent candidate for the position and still, no response. If you are trying to change careers, the chances of getting a response are even slimmer, even with a masterfully written resume and cover letter. I’ll address this in another post.

So, given we still need to have an effective resume, here are things to consider:

  1. Formatting: White space guides your eye. Too much text, no bullets, little formatting and it is difficult to quickly discern whether you are a good candidate for the position. Please, no smaller than 10-point type and use a table and/or bullets to highlight key words and accomplishments.
  2. The summary is key. If you are going to customize your resume for a role, here is where to do so. One recommended format is this: In 3 or 4 sentences, describe who you are as a professional followed by your key competencies which can be highlighted using a table. You can change the key competencies to match the competencies required for the role. It goes without saying that you must have these skills, and they must be substantiated in the body of the resume. Your summary will be strong if the competencies you highlight are those you see in the job description or posting.
  3. Accomplishments please! For many, a resume showcases a list of tasks or responsibilities. Summarize the responsibilities/scope of each role in several sentences and follow this with accomplishments. Here is one way to help you think of your accomplishments: for each task, ask, “as a result of what I did, what impact did I have?” If you can quantify it, include it.

There is much more to a successful job search than having a stellar resume. If you are looking to move up, move over or move out, come check us out, www.careerrings.com. It is exciting to believe that you can start right where you are and branch off in any number of directions. As the work landscape changes, opportunities abound.


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