5 Tips For Writing a Killer Resume

by Brian Landi on August 24, 2010

With unemployment rates so high right now there are tons of people looking for jobs.  There are also highly qualified people losing their jobs due to downsizing.  These trends point to a number of things happening.  But the bottom line is that we are in the midst of a sea change and all of our employment situations could be called into question sooner rather than later.  So, now is a time better-than-any to make sure that you have a killer resume.

Here are 5 tips to make sure that yours is an eye-catcher and not a snoozer so you can reach your career goals.

1.  Keep It to One Page

I don’t care how many things you’ve accomplished in your lifetime, the most important things regarding your employability need to be articulated on one-page and no more.  HR people see hundreds of resumes.  If you don’t get to the point soon you are going to lose them.  You make their job easier by whittling it down to only the vital information.  Plus, the less you say about each position, the more mystery you create, and thus keep the person reading it interested in hearing more.  Be careful not to be too vague though.

2.  Use a 2-3 Sentence Summary Right Below the Header

In keeping with the theme of brevity, sum up what value you bring to the position succinctly.  This section is your “elevator speech”.  If you only have 15 seconds (about the time it takes to read 2-3 sentences) to convince an HR person of your value, what would you say?

3.  List Your Skills Pertaining to Technology

Don’t take for them granted.  The new world will be classified into two people, those who understand technology and those who don’t.  Don’t take the fact that you do for granted.  Although, you might think it commonplace to have a strong understanding of WordPress, Social Media, Office, or the Adobe Creative Suite, these are skills not all possess. And, you should be clear about your technological abilities as they can certainly be helpful in making you stand out.

Note: It is not  necessary to possess every single skill relating to technology.  However, the more adept you in those areas relating to your field of expertise the stronger a candidate it makes you.

4.  Keep It Simple and Professional

No frilly fonts.  No color.  A resume is about the information not the bells and whistles.  Don’t get me wrong, I have seen some very creative resumes. But, these are typically the products of extremely creative professionals and utilized as a showcase of their skill.  If you do not have this ability do not try to get fancy.  It will look lame and unprofessional.  Times, Arial, or Helvetica fonts in black and white is the way to go.

5.  Keep It Updated On Major Job Seeker Sites

Even if you are not “in the market” for a job, (hint: you should always be in the market for your next opportunity), you should keep your resume updated on the main job search sites.  The top three in my opinion are Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, and LinkedIn.com in no particular order.  If you think that doing so might put your current job in jeopardy use a pseudonym.  Be aware this practice will most likely not work on LinkedIn as this site also serves a networking function thus requiring more than a simple resume.

Summary

Simplicity is the key.

Don’t dumb it down but make it clear and to the point.

Get them interested but don’t tell them enough for them to make their decision their on the spot.  Also, don’t be afraid to follow up periodically.  See my post on Polite, Professional Persistence for more info.

What killer resume writing techniques do you utilize?

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