Home > Uncategorized > Tips For A Great Resume

Tips For A Great Resume

In this new day and age, here are some basic resume tips, as I’ve been asked to review several lately.  I’m actually still astonished that anybody looks at a resume.  By the time I’ve decided to check out a candidate, I’ve reviewed their LinkedIn, Twitter and their blog.  If they don’t have any of that, they are about 2 days behind other candidates.

1.  FORMAT:  Keep the layout simple.  Use a white background and no cute images.  Most resumes these days are getting scanned into resume databases.  When you add images, text boxes or cute backgrounds, you are damaging the format that your reader will eventually see.

2.  SPELLCHECK:  That little red underliny thing is telling you that you may have misspelled a word.  Use it. I’d say 40% of all resumes I see have simple spelling errors.  This blog post probably has one also.

3.  USE YOUR VOICE:  I might stab myself  if I have to read, “An enthusiastic leader with x years of management experience looking for a progressive organization.”  SAY something.    Here’s my opening SUMMARY of my resume:


Aggressive Senior Marketer and Recruiter with 15+ years experience in technology, sales, healthcare and general executive level recruiting.   Ready to join an entrepreneurially-minded organization that is looking for a multi-tasking, business-centric, social media animal.   Highlights:

  • Versatility to work with clients at multiple levels of management.
  • Strong writer, message architect and copywrighter.
  • Strong candidate hunter and Web/Recruiting 2.0 champion.
  • Skilled at direct recruiting, networking, advanced Internet sourcing, employee referral management and trade show effectiveness.
  • Sharp technical screener and behavioral interviewer.
  • Effective negotiator and closer.

4.  LENGTH:  I know people say to have a one page resume.  I’ve been reviewing resumes since 1993 and have to say that I am skpetical when there is only one page.  Two pages is perfect.  Three pages in the technology field is not out of line.

5.  SOCIAL MEDIA:  Show that you’re present in the social media world, if you are.  Add your LinkedIn URL, your Twitter handle or your Blog.    More and more, organizations like to get a feel of a person BEFORE they contact you.  They like to see who you are, what you stand for and who you network with.  (P.S.  If you haven’t been inviting connections on LinkedIn, start today.  Don’t wait until you NEED your network to build it.)

6.  FONTS:  Yes, it matters.  Cute fonts say, “I’m 16 years old and am a lifeguard.”  Times Roman says, “I’m too lazy to find a font that I like, so I’m going with this one.”  Find something easy on the eyes.  Calibir,  Arial and Gill Sans MT are all easy on the eyes.  Also, remember that your resume will most likely be inhaled into a database and “read” electronically.  Don’t get too cute.

7.  WORDS:  Your word choice needs to show that you are ACTION oriented. 

Rather Than Try
Achieved quota Knocked the quota out of the territory
Research and keep up with OSHA requirements Drove OSHA compliance awareness
Proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook experience with Access Avid software user.  Developed proposals (MS Word), budgets (MS Excel), team  presentations (MS PowerPoint) and customer databases (MS Access).
Responsible for release schedule Managed communication and coordination of releases

8.  The BLINK TEST:  This sounds crazy, but give your resume to a friend for 5-6 seconds and take it away.  Ask them what they remember.  You want them to remember something about what you DO and something about HOW you do it.  (Skill AND flavor.)

More later, but the key is to be purposeful in all choices on your resume.  It makes a quick first impression.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. March 24, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Some great points. I found LinkedIN has a great resume generator that will compile your profile into a clear, professional looking resume, including the recommendations.

    Regarding your Summary comments, I don’t see much difference between the one you savaged and your own. “Aggressive Senior Marketer and Recruiter” may be more specific than “An enthusiastic leader” but they were both generic buzz-word rich. And “social media animal” isn’t gimmicky? That would land you in the amusing stack before it would land you in the possible candidate stack.

  2. March 24, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    @BobGrins, Thanks for commenting. I didn’t even KNOW about the LinkedIn generator. Good info.

    Let me tell you that I read probably 1000 resumes a month. I would WAY prefer to talk to the “Social Media Animal” than the “Enthusiastic leader.” I see 869 “enthusiastic leaders” per month.

    To your point, however, you need to figure out how to stand out, appropriate for your industry. Still, I think the world is becoming more interested in the PERSON. Just be careful to not to go camouflage on me!

  3. March 24, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    You’re right, it’s about “why would I want to talk to this person?” The problem is creating an accomplishment resume that the manager wants while still providing the basic chronology of employment that HR requires to get through the gate. Actions taken, versus positions held, holds more value.

    If that doesn’t work, you can always say you:

    Empowered stakeholder synergy by facilitating dynamic engagements
    Facilitated empowered dynamics by synergizing stakeholder engagement
    Engaged dynamic stakeholders by facilitating empowered synergies

  4. March 24, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    LOVE it!!!

  5. March 30, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    It is easy to become overwhelmed and intimidated when it comes to job searching, especially at an Executive level. I am going to use these resume tips this week to refine and clean up my resume and job search. Hopefully this will help speed the job search back up. While searching for news and advice I came across an Executive Recruiting Blog that has some great advice especially on interviewing mistakes to avoid so I thought I would share!

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