6 Tips for Writing an Effective Resume

January 21, 2014

ID-100128875For each job opening, most businesses receive hundreds of resumes. And with so many resumes to review, most employers limit how long they will review your resume—assuming, of course, that your resume makes it past an automated selection system based on keywords.

However, there are things you can do to increase the visibility of your resume while still retaining professionalism. To help your resume get noticed, either as an external candidate or an internal one, your friends at Dale Carnegie Training have listed six simple steps to help you construct a professional and eye-catching resume.

1. Clearly List Your Strengths — Listing relevant work experience is an obvious must, but clearly listing specific skill sets, names of projects managed and unique or innovative roles can bolster your resume’s chance of success. Remain concise yet detailed when including your strengths and experiences. What are the most relevant skills or responsibilities from each job?

2. Use Specific Keywords — Identify and list specific matching keywords. Assuming you match the job description, your previous job experience and education level should match the keywords listed in the job description. If the description requests a candidate who is a CPA with five years’ accounting experience, you will benefit by including this relevant experience on your resume.

3. Use Bullet Points and Fascinations — When potential employers first receive your resume, they scan it for specific information. With hundreds of resumes to sift through, they are less likely to find your matching or relevant skills if they are buried within paragraphs or other large bodies of text. Instead, use bullet points to highlight each position and skill. Use “fascinations” to highlight specific goals reached. Bold headlines are also helpful in pointing potential employers to your highlighted skills. Your resume is also an asset: use it to demonstrate your organizational skills by listing everything clearly.

4. Tell the Truth — Do not lie about your prior work experience, education, awards or accomplishments. Plus, background checks are very inexpensive to do on someone; therefore, there is a good chance they will catch any lies. Stay honest to ensure the best fit.

5. Double Check for Typos — Misspelled words and poor grammar are the #1 resume killers and they will land your resume in the rejection pile, especially if you are applying for jobs that require strong written communication skills. To avoid sending out a resume filled with errors, proofread it; then ask at least two others to proof it as well. If possible, ask for help from a friend or family member with strong English skills and a management background.

6. Slant Your Resume Toward the Job — When it comes to writing cover letters and resumes, you should tailor each document according to the needs of the potential employer. For example, if you’re a retail manager looking to transition to an office management position, your cover letter and resume should highlight your management responsibilities and skills over other extraneous job duties. Tailoring your resume and cover letter to each job is time-consuming but effective and eye-catching, and as long as you stay honest about what you’ve done, it’s also ethical.

Remember—by using honesty, integrity, patience and professionalism, you can create a resume potential employers will notice. Furthermore, targeting your resumes and including keywords can help you narrow your job search and recall what you enjoyed or disliked about previous positions. While your chances of gaining employment improve if you apply to dozens of jobs at a time, nothing is as effective as a clean, targeted resume aimed at a job that seems to be the right fit.


This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in PhiladelphiaWe’d love to connect with you on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles
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