June 25, 2004, Newsletter Issue #23: No Snoozer Resumes!

Tip of the Week

Look at your resume. Be honest. Is it exciting? Does it entice the reader? Does it SELL them on what you can do? Or are you basically regurgitating your job description?

If you have bulleted accomplishments (and you should, no paragraphs!), how many of them begin with words such as:

--responsible for
--managed
--assisted in
--maintained
--in charge of

These sound static, boring, status quo. They do not speak of a problem solver, a person who is capable of initiative, or even implementing solutions directed by others.

Use dynamic words! Action words! Show vitality and life and capability! Make yourself stand out!

The words above are more appropriate for the job description, and I`ll discuss that in a later newsletter.

Bulleted accomplishments - the operative word being "accomplishments" - are to show NOT what you DID, but HOW you did it BETTER or DIFFERENTLY than others who did or do the same thing.

Here the refrain is similar to the one of the last three weeks: BE SPECIFIC. Here are a few examples:

--change "Responsible for relocating corporate office to new location in smooth and timely manner" to "Spearheaded relocation of corporate office; 25-person office relocated 100 miles within 3 days - all systems up and operating with no downtime or customer loss of service."

--change "In charge of annual fund raising campaign" to "Raised $250,000 in annual fund raiser, exceeded goal by 35%."

--change "In charge of negotiating purchasing contracts for all company departments" to "Saved company $20K annually by negotiating new contracts with manufacturing service vendors." (Your job description will cover the first sentence - again, more on that in a later newsletter.)

It is often difficult to edit your career for relevancy, space and brevity. But it is better to have fewer accomplishments that are dynamic and specific, than it is to cram everything in that you can think of - but have them too generic and mundane.

Your resume, together with your cover letter, is what makes people look twice at you. Even if you are an ideal fit for the position, submitting a poorly written and badly formatted resume puts you at a strong risk for being overlooked.

I`ve interviewed some incredibly dynamic and accomplished people who are gregarious, articulate, and present themselves very well. And their resumes were terrible! Barely a HINT of their personality or capability.

Your resume, like your cover letter, is a sales tool. Not only does it need to be individualized to the company, but it needs to adequately reflect who you are, how you are different from others like you, and why YOU should be there instead of the others who are applying.

Finding your perfect job means putting a lot of work in on the front end. Yes, it`s an odious task to write a resume. It taxes your brain and finally you just put down whatever you can think of - at least it`s on paper and DONE.

But taking the lame way out isn`t taking control of your career, and it doesn`t put you any closer to finding your perfect job.

If you want a chance to get in the door, one of the things you must do (through the wording - not the paper and font choice!) is to make sure your resume reflects your individuality and who you are.

Help people to see that by being specific about what you have done, by using words that demonstrate your ability to make things happen, and writing in sentence fragments so that the information is easily scanned and absorbed.

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