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How to Write a Resume the Employer Wants to Read

Over the past few weeks I’ve reviewed hundreds of resumes—and to my dismay, they’ve all looked and sounded the same. I’m not sure who thought it was a good idea to give job seekers the advice that replicating an unoriginal career summary or objective statement on their resume was a sound job searching practice. But whoever did that should be blacklisted from providing career advice to job seekers.

I can assure you (and I’m speaking from experience here as a HR manager and recruiter) that no one wants to read the same resume over and over again. Not only do they not want to read the same objective statement and the same worn out phrases on resumes, but how in the world do you think they’re supposed to tell the difference between you and another candidate if both of your resumes look and sound the same?

I really wish I could help job seekers see the value in positioning themselves effectively—the value in exploring and then promoting their individuality and uniqueness on their resumes. Creating a resume that an employer will actually want to read is the backbone of a successful job search. So here’s hoping that you’re open to some advice on how to write a resume that employers will want to read. If I’ve convinced you that your old resume is busted and needs some serious help, here are five tips to help you communicate your individuality and personal brand on your resume:

Make the Connection

I’m not sure there is a better way to communicate your fit for the position than to address how your career experience and expertise meet the needs of the organization. Think about what their needs might be, and then make the connection between your experience and how you can meet their needs. This will build confidence with the employer that you’re a great candidate.

Relevance and Prominence

It’s important to be purposeful and strategic in how you write—and structure—your resume. Resume writers don’t just throw words onto a piece of paper in any random order and then just hope something sticks. No, there’s a reason why they place certain information on your resume—and maybe even more importantly is WHERE they place that information. The most relevant information should come first. It should be at the top of your resume, and should be the first bullet point under each section.

Save Time

Save the recruiter or hiring manager time by not making them go searching for what they need. They’ll be looking for job titles, dates of employment, and major accomplishments. They’ll also be looking for important keywords to ensure you have the required skills for the position. Put this information at the top of the resume, and make job titles and employment dates easy to find. This helps them to more quickly and easily go through their mental checklist during that initial six-second resume scan so they can then decide to read your resume further.

Expound on the Details

Once you’ve passed the initial six-second scan, the hiring manager will want to go back and give your resume a more thorough reading to ensure you have the necessary skills and experience for the position. This is where details are critical. Expound further on your experience, contributions, and accomplishments. Use facts and figures to sell the value you can offer the employer and to get their attention.

AVOID THE FAMILIAR

Avoid the familiar at all costs. If you’ve seen it on a resume sample site, so have thousands of other people. Don’t copy it and include it on your resume. Sure, you can use it as inspiration to write something unique pertaining to yourself, but a word-for-word reproduction of what you’ve seen on someone else’s resume is a poor advertisement of your unique talents and capabilities. Be true to who you are and what you bring to the table.

If inspiration is lacking and you’re not sure how to frame up your experience in a brand-driven and compelling way, that’s where we come in. It’s not always easy to write about yourself, but a third party’s perspective can be incredibly effective and stress relieving. Read more about our resume writing services and our 99.996% interview-winning success rate here.

 

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Jessica Holbrook Hernandez

A nationally recognized resume expert, Jessica Holbrook Hernandez is President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast and a former human resources manager and recruiter. Leveraging more than ten years’ experience directing hiring practices for Fortune 500 companies, Jessica's innovative and brand-driven resume development strategies have secured a 99.6% interview-winning success rate for her clients. As a global resume authority and trusted media source, Jessica has been featured and quoted numerous times throughout CNN.com, The Chicago Tribune, Monster.com, Local Job Network Radio, International Business Times, and more.
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  1. January 6th, 2014 at 14:57 | #1

    Your passion – and frustration – really comes through here. Reading hundreds of resumes in the course of just a few weeks clearly drives home the need for a unique document. I try to help recent graduates looking for entry level office positions, and find the vast majority of resumes to be completely interchangeable. Some of this advice is certainly applicable to anyone, but do you have any tips more specific to entry level resumes for digging a job candidate out of the depths of the resume pile?
    Keep writing! Your experience really comes through

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