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The Resume 2012 Style

I am not a professional resume writer. However, I do know lots of great ones, and love engaging in discussions about this document. It is my belief that a resume should be used as a proposal, not spam. What I want to share with you are some of the basic guidelines (for you, the job seeker) based on conversations with recruiters, hiring managers and professional resume writers. (I very seldom write about this topic, because so many others do.)

According to TheLadder’s survey, recruiters look at your resume for SIX seconds!


The Objective is D E A D

This document is not about what your needs and wants are. It is about the intended audience. What does the company want? (They told you in their job posting.) Today’s resume may have the job posting title or occupation as a one-liner under your contact information. Or, it may be within the first few words of your summary of qualifications.

 Key Word Rich

Highlight, underline, whatever you need to do to the job description you are applying for. Identify the critical technical and job specific skills. Hard-worker, dedicated, detail-oriented are minimum job requirements or expected of every applicant. Tell a story instead!

Incorporate Stories to Make Your Point

Do not list job responsibilities under your jobs. People can or should be able to figure out what your daily activities may have been. Your job is to highlight the value you added to those places you worked.  Think in terms of accomplishments. Build STAR stories for each job requirement listed and then select the best of the best to include on your resume. Be sure they are measurable or quantifiable. Ask yourself the “so what” question after each bullet. Is it answered? Or you can try the PEPI test (no, not the PEPSI challenge!) How did what you did effect these areas:

Productivity, Efficiency, Profitability, Impact

Use a Conventional format

People reviewing resumes want to see your work listed in reverse chronological order. Give it to them that way, unless you have a VERY good reason not to.  If you are drastically changing careers or your last job has absolutely nothing to do with what you want to do next, then consider using a hybrid (also called combo-functional) resume.

References…no need to mention them

Everyone knows you will provide them when asked. Leave this line off your resume so you have extra space to talk about your accomplishments!

One Page?

Less is not more when it comes to talking about your relevant experience. If it takes two pages to present your qualifications, so be it. Recent college graduates may only have a single page. I hope you have had internships! Please! Real world experience is so valuable and desirable! If you have patents, publications or are in higher education, perhaps a third page may be necessary.

Interests, Schminterests

No one really cares that you enjoy knitting, wine tasting and training for marathons. That is, unless, you are applying for a job in one of those areas. Save the space for more meaningful, work-related information. Have you included professional memberships or volunteer activities?

And don’t just paste your resume on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social profile. It should be more insightful than your resume. It is a more complete look at what you’ve achieved and sheds light on what type of person you are at work, what your motivation is and can even include examples of your work and recommendations from peers or managers.

Are you looking for some good examples? Here are various resume writers I respect who share samples of their work!

Before and after examples by Miriam Salpeter of Keppie Careers

Samples by Karen Siwak of Resume Confidential

Samples by Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter of Career Trend.net

Samples from Lisa Rangel’s Chameleon Resumes

Samples by Louise Fletcher  of Blue Sky Resumes

Here is just one example for your to take a gander at!

Karen Siwak Resume Confidential sample

Every time you ask someone for feedback on your resume, you will get different ideas, suggestions and OPINIONS! Often, this is about personal preference. Gear it towards your audience and use the right key words!

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • erichlagasse August 2, 2012, 11:27 am

    These tips about developing a resume are to the point and easy to follow. We recently posted an article that discusses the benefits of sending a value proposition letter http://academy.justjobs.com/the-value-proposition-letter/ along with your resume. I hope you find the article useful. – Erich

  • Dorothy Dalton August 2, 2012, 4:12 pm

    Hannah great advice. There is one point I would diverge on and that is including hobbies and interests on a CV. I always look and  know it can make a difference.  

    • careersherpa August 2, 2012, 5:49 pm

       @Dorothy Dalton Dorothy, I have also heard stories of how interests have made a difference. It is always a personal call…the meat of the resume is in its demonstration of skills first and foremost in my mind. Anything else should be salt and pepper!

  • Acquirent August 3, 2012, 11:05 am

    @careersherpa Your words, not mine 🙂 Love your posts. Do you ever consider guest blogging?

    • Acquirent August 3, 2012, 1:15 pm

      @careersherpa Contribute. Good to know! Can I e-mail you about possibly featuring you on our blog?

      • careersherpa August 3, 2012, 4:02 pm

        @Acquirent DM me!

  • RelaunchUSA August 14, 2012, 11:35 am

    @careersherpa Great post- exactly the things we counsel our clients on all the time!

  • medical assistant resume sample September 17, 2012, 3:35 am

    I think font size also matter in the resume format. Because a different font sizes could easily make your resume more  attractive..So don’t forget this tip next time…

  • Jose Sanchez January 29, 2013, 7:06 am

    In fact, the resume objective, rather than disappear, is becoming what some call “resume summary”, more focused to the hiring manager’s perspective. In opposition of saying what you want, it would be better to show that you’re what the company wants, selling yourself as the perfect candidate for the job.
    Jose Sanchez

  • ResumeOK February 15, 2013, 9:58 am

    Great tips Hannah,
    Even though most of the recruiters are only checking a resume for about 6 seconds, it is still one of the most important parts in the job seeking process. The study made by TheLatters is very interesting though.
    All the best,
    Felix Tarcomnicu