How to Effectively Outline Your Past Experience & Education on Your Resume

Developing a resume is one of the first steps taken towards finding a job. Writing a resume can be very challenging and might require a lot of research and proofreading. Here are tips to help you significantly improve your chances of landing that interview.

  1.   Use a Proper Yet Engaging Format

A prospective employer only spends about 10-20 seconds scanning over the 100+ resumes that come through their desk. This can be challenging if your resume format exhibits wordy paragraphs and lack of an easy to read layout.

Use a logical format and wide margins, allowing for plenty of white space. Be sure to utilize a clean and common font style and size and clear heading. Selectively apply bold and italic typeface that help guide the reader’s eye. Use bullets to call attention to important points and achievements.

  1.   Identify Accomplishments not Just Job Descriptions

Recruiters and hiring managers, especially in technical fields, look for candidates that can help them solve a problem or satisfy a need within their company. With that said, you can’t be a solution to their problems without stating how you solved similar problems in other companies and situations.

Rather than listing out a bunch of bullets that read like a job description, focus on what you did in the job. For example, if you are in sales, job duties may sound like:

  • Prospected and hunted for leads and new customers via cold calling, networking, and participation in industry conferences and trade shows.

A better example would be to list:

  • Secured a 35% increase in revenue year-over-year through regular contact with prospective clients, networking and delivering presentations at industry conferences and trade shows.

Include a one or two top-line job description first, then list your accomplishments. For each point ask yourself, “what was the benefit of having done what I did?” Accomplishments should be unique to you, not just a list of what someone else did. Avoid using the generic descriptions of the jobs you originally applied for or held.

  1.   Quantify Your Accomplishments

Making too many general claims and using too much industry jargon that does not market the candidate is a mistake made by most candidates when preparing their resume. A resume is a marketing document designed to sell your skills and strengths rather than just portray a list of jobs and duties previously done. Include and highlight specific achievements that present a comprehensive picture of your marketability.

Quantify your achievements whenever possible to demonstrate how what you did benefited the company, department or team.

  1.   Tailor Your Resume for the Industry

Unlike advertising and design professionals who have a creative license in designing their resume, other industries may not be impressed and could be turned off by distinctive resume designs. Err on the side of caution and utilize a conservative style. You can use a black and white style or add a little bit of color.

Your accomplishments, error-free writing, grammatically-correct, clean, crisp type, and paper will make the impression for you.

  1.   Replace your Objective” with a “Career Summary”

The use of an Objective Statement is now considered obsolete these days and should be replaced with a branding statement or career Summary. This is designed to give a brief overview of who you are and what you can bring to the table. Most objectives sound similar: Seeking a challenging, interesting position in X where I can use my skills of X, Y, and Z to contribute to the bottom line.

Catch the manager’s attention right away, remembering you have only a few seconds to make a good impression. Spend time developing a summary that immediately gets their attention, and accurately and powerfully describes you as a solution to their problems. Follow up your summary with a three-columned list of core competencies comprising 9-12 key skills or qualifications. This should help you see a significant increase in the attention your resume receives.

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