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5 Must-Haves for an Effective Resume


7/9/2013 3:16:09 PM

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5 Must-Haves for an Effective Resume By Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, Expert Resume Writer

When it comes right down to it—let’s be honest—the real purpose of your resume is to do what? Get you interviews. That’s the primary function of a resume—no more, no less. So how do you create a resume that’s effective at getting you interviews? Here are five tips that will get you started:

1. Relevance

The most effective resumes are the ones that are targeted to a specific position. Resumes that lack focus produce little in the way of results because the hiring manager fails to see the connection between your skills and qualifications and the job in question. Customize your resume for the position you want, and you’ll see better results.

2. Branding

In addition to relevance, branding is equally important. Effective branding leaves a distinguishable and memorable impression with the employer about the value and benefit you offer them as an employee. You’re essentially marketing your talents, skills, and abilities to the employer so they’ll value you over another candidate.

3. Keywords

These are short words or phrases that communicate BIG information. A simple keyword can tell an employer whether you possess the skills, abilities, and qualifications they consider necessary for you to adequately perform the job in question. It’s important to include the keywords specific to the position you want or you’ll be passed over for any interviews. Keywords are critical when you apply online because applicant tracking software (ATS) will use them to weed out your resume from the other candidates who are applying and will rank your resume in order of relevance. But they are also important to the human eye. When the ATS search deems your resume worthy and spits it out for review, the entry-level HR representative reading it will want to see those keywords—and he or she is not going to want to go looking for them.

4. Action-Driven

Long gone are the days of passive terms, phrases, and information on resumes. The job search game has become increasingly more competitive, and if you want to stay in the game you’re going to have to step up to the plate. Ditch the ‘responsible for …’, ‘duties included …’, ‘familiar with …’, ‘knowledgeable in …’, ‘worked with …’ junk. It’s a waste of space. Instead, replace them with action-driven phrases that communicate those things you’re capable of and have previously done. Let me give you some GREAT examples of aggressive, action verbs you can use right now on your own resume:

Accelerated
Achieved
Captured
Conceived
Designed
Created
Imagined
Reengineered
Revitalized
Spearheaded
Structured
Negotiated
Implemented
Automated
And the list goes on and on …

5. Results

The last “must-have” for an effective resume is results. Never forget to talk about your results. Employers will always want to know about your accomplishments and successes. I guess another way to say it is: you’re showcasing your past successes to secure a future opportunity. I can tell you—as a former recruiter and hiring manager—HR is looking at your resume and making this assumption: past performance predicts future performance. They assume if you’ve done it successfully for one employer, then you’re capable of repeating that success for them. There are two great ways I’m going to share with you how you can use your resume to communicate your results that, hopefully, will make it easier for you. The first is C.A.R. statements—and the second is S.A.R. statements. C.A.R. statements share a challenge you faced, the action you took to overcome the challenge, and the results produced by taking that action. S.A.R. statements are very similar in that they outline a situation you faced, the action you took to address the situation, and the results produced by taking that action. These are two simple ways to help you articulate your experience and communicate your results to an employer.

You can even invert the statements and start with the result first, and then explain the action and challenge. This is an even more high-impact way to grab the hiring manager’s attention. Remember to use numbers whenever possible. Numbers have a powerful impact.

Incorporate these five elements into your resume and you’ll be sure to have a document that is much more effective at securing interviews. Rather not tackle these five steps alone? Partner with one of my certified professional resume writers. My CPRWs know exactly what a resume MUST HAVE in order to be effective—and they are experts at creating resumes that win interviews. You can find more information here, or feel free to e-mail me or call me at 1.800.991.5187 with any questions about our resume writing service!

About the Author

Jessica Hernandez, is a resume authority for the Job Talk America radio program and multi-published expert author for resume, career, and job search publications. She boasts more than ten years in human resources management and hiring for Fortune 500 companies and utilizes her extensive experience to support job seekers in their quest to move onward and upward in their careers. Find out more at Great Resumes Fast.

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